Iraqi Pomegranate Soup
(Shorbat Rumman)



  • 8 cups water
  • 1 pound lamb shanks or other lesser cuts of lamb and bone
  • 1/2 cup yellow split peas
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 3 beets with green tops
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 1 bunch of scallions, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
  • 3 tablespoons lime juice
  • 1/2 cup parsley
  • 2 tablespoons pomegranate concentrate or1 cup pomegranate juice*
  • 1/4 cup cilantro, finely chopped
  • 2 cups spinach, chopped fine


  • 1 tablespoon dried mint, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

* Pomegranate concentrate is called "molasses" or "paste." Make pomegranate juice by rolling an uncut fresh pomegranate hard underfoot on the floor, then making an incision and "squeezing" it over a juicer.


  1. Bring the water to a boil in a large pot, then stir in the lamb, split peas and onion. Skim where necessary, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, wash the beet tops and spinach, slice finely and chop, wrap in paper towels, and crisp until needed. Also peel the beets and chop into a small dice. Also prepare the mint/cinnamon/pepper garnish in a separate bowl.
  3. When the lamb broth is ready, add the beets and rice and cook another 30 minutes.
  4. Remove the lamb from the pot. Cut away the bones and fat, shred the meat, and return to the pot. Add the scallions, sugar, 2 tablespoons of the lime juice, parsley, and either the pomegranate concentrate or the pomegranate juice. Simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. When ready to serve, bring the soup to a boil and stir in the beet greens and spinach. Let wilt, while stirring for a minute or two, then stir in cilantro, more lime juice, as needed, and seasonings.
  6. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with the Garnish.
  7. Garnish: Mix together.