Recipe Corner: Vanetzi Ashkile (Spinach Soup)

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Ingredients:

2 lbs. stew meat (beef or lamb)

2 large cloves garlic, chopped

1 large onion, sliced

1 small can tomato sauce

3-4 cups chicken or vegetable broth or water

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1/2 cup zezads (also known as wheat berries or whole wheat kernels)

2 large carrots, diced

1 medium bunch green onions, chopped

1 medium bunch parsley, chopped

1 small bunch cilantro, chopped (optional)

Salt, pepper, to taste

2 medium bunches fresh spinach, washed, chopped

Juice of 1 large lemon or 1/2 pound rhubarb, chopped

4 medium eggs, optional

1/2 cube butter or 1/4 cup olive oil, to taste

Preparation:

Brown stew meat in a large pot in butter or olive oil, tossing. Add the onions and garlic, and sauté until onions are translucent; braise for about one hour, tossing occasionally.

Add the tomato sauce, broth or water, zezads, carrots, green onions, parsley, cilantro, and seasonings, and bring to a full boil. Stir, reduce heat, and simmer for 25-35 minutes until zezads is tender.

Add the spinach and lemon juice or rhubarb. Add more broth or water, if desired, to make a stew-like consistency. Simmer for 10 minutes or until spinach is cooked. (Optional, break in the eggs and steam for a few minutes.)

Serves 4.

*This is one of the treasured recipes published in the Armenian and Selected Favorite Recipes Cookbook by the Holy Trinity Armenian Apostolic Church Trinity Guild (now Ladies’ Guild) in 1970. The church is located in downtown Fresno, and is registered as a U.S. National Register of Historic Places. The cost is $20.00 each to purchase the cookbook.

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