Green soup with green wheat: Freekeh hamousta

It’s easy being green if you taste this good: Bright-green hamousta meets green wheat in a gentle twist on a local favorite. Hamousta is a Jewish-Kurdish soup generally served with kubbeh, which are stuffed dumplings. While kubbeh are fabulous, they’re also quite time-consuming to make, and in any case, I wanted to let this greens-rich soup shine in its own right.

So to make the soup a little more filling, I added a handful of freekeh, or smoked green wheat. Grown in the Galilee, green wheat can be prepared any number of ways, and one of them is simply cooked like rice in a soup, generally a chicken soup.

Fortunately, the hamousta and the freekeh turned out to be the perfect marriage of flavors, with the light smokiness adding an extra layer of subtle flavor. Plus, with lots of fresh spinach and lots of fresh lemon juice, it feels like you’re practically drinking a vitamin.

My hamousta is adapted from Sarah’s kubbeh hamousta recipe. A traditionalist, Sarah uses Swiss chard; I used Turkish spinach, since one of the vendors at the shook sold me 2 kilos. (“But this bunch is only 10 shekels!”) Spinach being the lightweight vegetable that it is, 2 kilos is a LOT. I also added leek and subtracted turnip.

For 6 large servings:

2 celery stalks
1 cup celery leaves (from 3 stalks)
1/2 leek (about 100 grams)
6 garlic cloves
4 green onions
450 grams fresh spinach
2 medium zucchinis
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cups green wheat
3/4 cup lemon juice (I used 2 lemons)

Blend the celery, celery leaves, leek, garlic and green onions in a food processor to make a pulp. Blend half the spinach as well. Dice the zucchini.

Put the blended vegetables, the remaining spinach, the zucchini, the green wheat and the salt in a pot with 2 liters of water, bring to a boil, and let simmer for 10-15 minutes, until the zucchini and wheat are soft.

Add the lemon juice; the soup should have a bright sour taste.

Yes, it’s that easy.

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