Persian Wedding Soup

    This is NOT the soup that many Persian people serve at their wedding. It\’s actually a riff on Italian wedding soup, but instead with Persian flavors.


    • 1 Cup Walnuts
    • 1 Cup Breadcrumbs
    • 1/4 Cup Chopped Parsley
    • 1 Small Onion
    • 2 Cloves Garlic
    • 2 Pounds Ground Chicken
    • 2 Cups Rice
    • 2 Pinches Saffron
    • Butter
    • 1 Onion
    • 3 Cloves Garlic
    • 8 Ounces Pomegranate Juice
    • 1.5 Quarts Chicken Stock
    • Spinach


    1. Place all ingredients except for the chicken into the food processor. Grind to a paste. Mix in the chicken. Make small meatballs on a baking sheet, and broil until lightly browned. Flip and brown the other side.
    2. Boil 2 cups of long grain rice until almost tender. Strain. Mix a pinch of saffron in a tablespoon of warm water. In a wide frying pan, melt some butter. Mix half the rice with the butter right in the pan. Top with the rest of the rice. Pour the saffron water over the rice and cover. Cook on med-high for 15 minutes or so, being vigilant to smell for any burning. You want a light burning smell, but when it gets too strong, take it off the heat. Scoop out the tender rice from the inside of the pan to use in the soup. Use the crispy rice on the edges as garnish.
    3. Brown onion and garlic in a sauce pot. Pour in 8 oz of pomegranate juice. Simmer about 15 minutes to reduce slightly. Add a box and a half of chicken stock (about 1.5 qt). Bring to a simmer and toss in your meatballs. We only used about 3/4 of the meatballs because it seemed like a good soup-to-meatball ratio. Finally, add some spinach to wilt. Remove from heat and stir in the rice and the seeds from one pomegranate. Top with the crispy rice.


    This is NOT the soup that many Persian people serve at their wedding. What this actually is, is a riff on Italian wedding soup, but instead with Persian flavors. I am planning on  making a “wedding soup” for as many countries as I can, because this version came out so good! To me, a wedding soup requires 3 things: Mini meatballs, a green, and a starch. I chose the Persian dish Fesenjoon as a starting point for this soup, a tasty meal with chicken, walnuts, and pomegranate. I did the chicken and walnut in the meatballs, and left the pomegranate for the broth. To me, no Persian dish is complete without the crispy rice known as tah-dig, and it was the perfect garnish on top of this soup.

    My friend Fiona was glad to help get the seeds out of the pomegranate, for a small tax of course.

    The filling for the meatballs was walnut, breadcrumbs, parsley, onion, and garlic.  Just add chicken!

    Make sure to make them mini.

    Mix pomegranate juice with chicken stock to form the base of this broth.

    After the meatballs and spinach go in, kill the heat and toss in the pomegranate seeds.  Don’t cook the pom seeds or they will lose their color.

    This soup easily lives up to the wedding name. The flavors went together perfectly and it tasted just enough like fesenjoon.

    The pomegranate adds a nice sour flavor and is not overly sweet as you might think.