This recipe was inspired by a hearty lamb and chickpea soup from Turkey. Finishing it with a dollop of pistachio-mint pesto adds another layer of flavor.

Patsy Jamieson
Source: EatingWell Magazine, Soup Cookbook


Recipe Summary

2 hrs


Pistachio-Mint Pesto


Instructions Checklist
  • To prepare soup: Place chickpeas in a large bowl. Add enough cold water to cover by 3 inches and let soak for 8 to 24 hours. (Alternatively, place chickpeas in a large saucepan and cover with 3 inches cold water. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat. Let stand for 1 hour.) Drain.

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in 4-quart or larger pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add onion and carrots; cook, stirring, until softened, 3 to 5 minutes. Add garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne; cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 20 seconds. Remove from the heat.

  • Sprinkle lamb shank with salt and pepper. Heat the remaining 1 teaspoon oil in a medium skillet, preferably cast-iron, over medium heat. Add the lamb shank and cook, turning from time to time, until browned all over, 3 to 7 minutes. Transfer to the pressure cooker. Add broth, tomatoes, bay leaves and the chickpeas.

  • Secure the pressure cooker lid. Bring to high pressure over high heat following manufacturer's directions. Reduce the heat to the lowest setting that maintains high pressure. Cook for 35 minutes.

  • Meanwhile, place bulgur in a medium bowl. Cover with boiling water and let stand for 15 minutes. Drain in a sieve, pressing out excess water.

  • Let the pressure release naturally. This will take 5 to 20 minutes.

  • To prepare pesto: Meanwhile, process mint, pistachios and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped. With the motor running, gradually add oil, lemon juice and yogurt through the feed tube. Process until the mixture forms a paste. If using unsalted pistachios, add salt, if desired.

  • When the pressure has released, discard bay leaves. Skim fat from the surface of the soup. Using tongs, transfer the lamb shank to a clean cutting board. When cool enough to handle, coarsely shred the lamb meat and return it to the soup. Add the drained bulgur. Heat through. Stir in lemon juice. Dollop some pesto onto each serving.


To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Thin with additional chicken broth or water, if necessary, when reheating.

Equipment: 4-quart or larger pressure cooker

Ingredient Note: Bulgur is made by parboiling, drying and coarsely grinding or cracking wheat berries. Don't confuse bulgur with cracked wheat, which is just that--cracked wheat. Since the parboiling step is skipped, cracked wheat must be cooked for up to an hour whereas bulgur simply needs a quick soak in hot water for most uses. Look for it in the natural-foods section of large supermarkets, near other grains.

Variation: Conventional-Stove Instructions: In Step 2, replace the pressure cooker with a 4- to 6-quart Dutch oven. After sauteing onion, carrots, garlic, cumin, coriander and cayenne, transfer to a plate. Brown the lamb shank (Step 3) in the same pot. Add onion and carrot mixture back to the pot along with the chickpeas. In Step 4, simmer gently, covered, over low heat, until the lamb shank and chickpeas are very tender, 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours.

High-Altitude Tip: For every 1,000 feet above 2,000 feet elevation, increase the cooking time by 5%.

Nutrition Facts

344 calories; protein 19.5g 39% DV; carbohydrates 37.8g 12% DV; dietary fiber 9.7g 39% DV; sugars 8g; fat 14.3g 22% DV; saturated fat 2.3g 11% DV; cholesterol 22.4mg 8% DV; vitamin a iu 4633IU 93% DV; vitamin c 23mg 38% DV; folate 46mcg 12% DV; calcium 131.3mg 13% DV; iron 6.2mg 34% DV; magnesium 54.8mg 20% DV; potassium 747.3mg 21% DV; sodium 439.6mg 18% DV; thiamin 0.3mg 25% DV.

Reviews (2)

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2 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 2
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Rating: 5 stars
all time favorite with exquisite flavors This is a fabulous soup and easy to make. I used ground lamb and fried and drained it then added to the soup. I also used canned garbonzo beans rather than dried chickpeas. The pistachio-mint pesto really sets this soup apart. I substitued toasted almonds for pistachios as they were less expensive and already shelled. Pros: delicious and unique good for entertaining Read More