Ash-e Aner, pommegrant soup with meatballs. Photo by Penny de Los Santos.
“This is my favorite soup,” says acclaimed Israeli cookbook author Rottem Lieberson. In her family, the Persian soup, which is made tart with pomegranate and heady with herbs, is served on Rosh Hashanah and on Friday afternoons before Shabbat settles in. The soup can be prepared in advance and stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To learn more about Rottem, her family, and their Rosh Hashanah table, read the full story on the Jewish Food Society’s archive.
1 cup fresh mint plus more for garnish, finely chopped
2 to 3 bunches scallions (about 20), finely chopped
1 cup pomegranate concentrate
¼ cup to ½ cup granulated sugar (optional)
For the meatballs:
1½ pounds ground beef
1 yellow onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 cup fresh cilantro, finely chopped
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
Add the oil and onions into a large pot over medium heat and cook for about 15 to 20 minutes until golden, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile make the meatballs: Place the beef, onion, garlic, cilantro, salt and pepper to taste into a large bowl. Mix well until combined. Take about 1 teaspoon of the mixture and roll it between your palms into a ball that is as small as a cherry tomato and transfer it to a plate. Continue shaping the remaining meatball mixture and set the meatballs aside.
Make the soup: Once the onions are cooked, add the garlic and fry until golden, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the rice, lentils, turmeric, salt, and pepper and mix well. Add the water and stir. Increase the heat to high, bringing the pot to a boil. Add the meatballs to the soup, raising the pot to a boiling again. Then, reduce the heat to medium low and cover with a lid. Simmer the soup for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Uncover the pot and add the cilantro, parsley, mint and scallions into the soup and stir. Increase the heat to high and bring the mixture back to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium low, place the lid back onto the pot and continue cooking the soup on a simmer for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in the pomegranate concentrate and. Taste the soup and adjust the seasoning if needed. Continue cooking for another 10 minutes, covered. Add the granulated sugar if using and stir.
To serve, place a few ladles of soup into individual bowls and garnish with fresh mint and pomegranate seeds. Serve hot.