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Lamb Shank Soup with Yellow Split Peas and Meat Paste (Abgusht-e Lapeh-o Gusht Kubided)


  • 2 pounds lamb shanks and 1 pound breast of lamb
  • 2 large onions, peeled and quartered
  • 8 cups water
  • 1 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into halves
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled and sliced
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 4 whole dried limu-omani (dried Persian limes), pierce, or 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron dissolved in 2 tablespoons hot water (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon advieh
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 large, white onion, peeled and sliced


  • 1. Place the meat, onions, and water in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil, skimming the froth as it forms. Add in split peas. turmeric, salt, and pepper. Cover and let simmer for 1 1/2 hours over low heat.
  • 2. Add potatoes, tomatoes, tomato paste, cinnamon, pierced limes, saffron water, advieh. Cover and continue to simmer 45 minutes over low heat. Test with a knife tip to see if the meat and potatoes are tender. Adjust seasoning.
  • 3. Using a slotted spoon, remove all the ingredients. Debone the meat and reserve the bones. Mash the meat and vegetables together to make the paste called gusht kubideh. It should have the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes. Iranian cooks would use a mortar and pestle to pound the gusht kubideh to just the right consistency. A food processor may be used instead, by pulsing, but take care not to let the paste get too smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper and arrange on a serving platter. Pour 3 tablespoons hot soup over the paste. Sprinkle with cinnamon and garnish with fresh slices of raw onion.
  • 4. Reheat the broth and scoop out the marrow from the bones. Mix the marrow with the broth and serve in a bow as soup. Serve the gusht kubideh separately with Persian pickles, a platter of spring onions, radishes, fresh tarragon, basil, mint, and sangak, and lavash.
  • Variations: This soup may be made with beef, veal, or turkey. Also, 1/2 cup chickpeas and 1/2 cup red kidney beans (soaked in water for at least 4 hours or overnight and drained) may be substituted for the split peas.
  • Other Variations: Lamb Shank Soup with Eggplant and Meat Paste (Abgusht-e bademjan) In step 2, with the potatoes, add 4 Chinese eggplants, peeled and sliced in 4-inch lengths, saute on all sides in 3 tablespoons oil until golden brown.
  • Lamb Shank Soup with Quince and meat paste (Abgusht-e bah) Substitute the eggplant with 2 peeled, diced and sautéed quince and 2 cups pitted prunes.
  • **This recipe is taken from renown Persian chef, Najmieh Batmanglij's "New Food of Life". Available for sale on our site**