Total Time
1hr 15mins
Prep 45 mins
Cook 30 mins

Using pureed nuts as a thickener is common in the Middle East, but the flavor that Najmieh Batmanglij coaxes from pistachios in this creamy soup is a revelation. Sprinkled on top before serving, a mix of sour barberries, tamed slightly with grape molasses, and toasted whole pistachios adds a tart crunch. Courtesy Gourmet Magazine.

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Cook shelled pistachios in a small saucepan of boiling water 1 minute, then drain and rub off skins.
  2. Transfer ½ cup skinned pistachios to a blander (reserve remainder), then add broth and blend until smooth, 1 to 2 minutes.
  3. Chop leek and wash in a bowl of cold water, agitating it, then lift out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a bowl along with onion, garlic, ginger and cayenne.
  4. Heat 2 T oil in a 3-4 quart heavy saucepan over moderately high heat until just beginning to smoke, then cook cumin and coriander seeds, stirring, until fragrant and a shade or two darker, 10 to 30 seconds. Stir in leek mixture, then reduce heat to moderately low and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are softened, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add pistachio puree, water, salt, pepper, and turmeric, then whisk in rice flour and bring to a boil, whisking constantly. Reduce heat to low and gently simmer, covered, whisking occasionally, 30 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, heat remaining ½ T oil in a 7-8” heavy skillet over moderate heat until hot but not smoking, then cook barberries, grape molasses, and remaining ¼ c skinned pistachios, stirring, until combined and heated through, 30 seconds to 1 minute. (be careful not to burn barberries) Transfer to a small bowl.
  7. Puree soup in 2 or 3 small batches in blender (use caution when blending hot liquids) until smooth, transferring to a large bowl.
  8. Return soup to pot, then stir in juice and bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Serve soup topped with pistachio mixture.
  9. Cooks’ note: Soup, without citrus juice, can be made 1 day ahead and cooled, uncovered, then chilled, covered. Reheat, stirring in juice.
  10. Pistachio topping can be made 1 day ahead and kept covered at room temperature.