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My new favorite book, "Olive Trees and Honey" by Gil Marks, is the source of this delicious soup. If Kefir is not available to you, substitute plain yogurt. This soup is best served freshly warm just as it is done, and is traditionally served after the main course. The long total time for preparation includes 4 hours of soaking the split peas before making the soup, which I included as "cooking" time.
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 6 cups vegetable stock or 6 cups water
- 1⁄2 cup yellow split peas, soaked for 4 hours and drained
- 1⁄3 cup long-grain rice
- 2 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3 cups plain kefir or 3 cups yogurt
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 8 ounces spinach, stemmed, washed and chopped (about 5 cups)
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 pinch sugar
- 4 -5 scallions, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
- 3 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
- 2 tablespoons fresh mint, chopped or 1 tablespoon dried mint
- ground sumac, for garnish
- In a large pot, heat the oil over medium heat and saute the onion until soft and translucent.
- Add the stock and bring to a boil. Add the split peas, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 30 minutes.
- Add the rice, partially cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Stir the flour into the kefir (or yogurt). Add the egg. Gradually whisk 2 cups of the hot soup into the kefir, then stir the kefir back into the soup pot.
- Add the spinach, salt and sugar and simmer over low heat until the rice is tender, about 10 more minutes. Do not boil or the kefir will curdle.
- Add the scallions, cilantro, dill and mint and simmer, stirring constantly, or 1 minute.
- Remove from heat. Sprinkle a little bit of ground sumac on each serving.