Pistachio Soup By Najmieh Batmanglij

4 servings.

1 tablespoon oil
⅓ cup barberries, picked over and rinsed thoroughly with cold water
1 teaspoon grape molasses or sugar
2 tablespoons pistachios kernels, picked over and any shell bits removed

1 cup raw pistachios kernels
2 tablespoons oil or butter
1 shallot, peeled and thinly chopped
1 leek (white and green parts), washed thoroughly and finely chopped
1 clove garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
1/2-inch fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 tablespoon rice flour
8 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon grape molasses or sugar
1/2 cup bitter orange juice or
mixture of 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice and 1/4 cup orange juice


To make the garnish: Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a medium-sized skillet over low heat. Add the barberries, grape molasses, and 2 tablespoons water, and sauté for 1 minute (be careful, barberries burn easily). Add the pistachios and sauté for 20 seconds. Remove from heat and set aside.

To make the soup: Pick over the pistachios to be sure there are no broken shells or other particles in them. Grind the pistachios in a food processor or grinder until very smooth. Set aside. In a heavy, medium-sized pot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the shallots, leeks, garlic, ginger, cumin, coriander, and cayenne. Sauté for 3 minutes. Add the rice flour and sauté for 1 minute. Add the broth, stirring constantly until it comes to a boil.

Reduce heat. Add pistachios, salt, pepper, and grape molasses. Stir well. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 55 minutes. Add bitter orange juice. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Pour the soup into a tureen and garnish. Serve with hot flat bread.