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Author Notes: Legumes, Grains, Greens, Meat, Pasta! This dish was long-in-production; over the week, I just kept adding and adding new elements. It began with a very large take-out order of Persian food that I was less than happy with. I looked at all this food dominating our refrigerator and felt compelled to DO something with it, rather than throw it away. So I literally resolved then and there to start dumping everything into a big pot and then see what I had. Fortunately, all the components were in the Mediterranean vein; none of it was Asian; so it all went together pretty well. Pasta fagiole, tomato eggplant spread, arancini, potato, lamb and beef kabob, rice, lentils. It was predetermined that it would be a stew or soup, so chopped canned tomatoes and plenty of chicken stock were added. It had a definite Persian flavor to it, so I built on that, after having spent recent months happily exploring Persian cuisine, thanks in large part to 52. I added dried limes, " a ton of" parsley, dill and cilantro, a can of pinto beans, leftover Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice,bits of corn and chopped canned green chiles,a julienned pound of swiss chard, bay leaf, thyme, pimenton, and, finally, leftover frozen bags of pearl onions and okra (maybe at this point , some of you are thinking of that great Woody Allen line in the pizza parlor, "What, no pineapple?" My best approximation is this 'recipe' but remember that there are no hard fast rules here (aside from leaving out Asian ingredients for another time!) If you do try it, use your intuition, and simmer it for hours or days, adding to it as you go! ( a 'flame tamer' is a great thing for long simmering.) Taste it frequently, adjust your seasoning accordingly, and pause when you are tempted to add just one more thing! Before serving, a healthy dose of fresh lime juice will brighten and pull together the soup's many elements and flavors. —LE BEC FIN
- 2-3 cups any cooked pasta of the shaped variety
- 4-6 cups variety of cooked dry beans and lentils
- 6 cups or more chicken stock
- 4-6 cups canned plum tomatoes, roughly chopped, plus juices
- 1 bag frozen pearl onions
- 1 pound frozen okra, cut across into 1" pieces(after it has defrosted on the counter a few minutes)
- 1-2 pounds cooked lamb and/or beef kabobs or meat balls
- leftover cooked vegetables (not broccoli, cauliflower, or peppers)
- 1 pound swiss chard, sliced across thinly
- 4 Persian dried limes*
- 2 cups each chopped dill, flat parsley, cilantro ( having been soaked and drained to remove dirt)
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 chopped garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon @ pimenton dulce or red Aleppo pepper,, ground allspice, dry thyme
- ~6 ounces tomato paste
- partial or whole box of cooked Zatarain's Red Beans and Rice
- kosher salt
- freshly ground black pepper
- fresh lime juice
- Add all to pot, stirring well and adding more stock and/or tomato if more liquid is needed. Bring to boil and leave on low simmer for 2-4 days. Many of the starches (notably the pasta) may break down over such a long cooking period, adding to the thickness and layered flavors of the soup.
- * Persian Dried Limes can also be labelled Dried Lemons; they are a key Persian ingredient and I find them in local Armenian groceries.
- This recipe was entered in the contest for Your Best Recipe that Cleans Out the Fridge