It would have been interesting and educational to try Afghanistan’s teapot soup, which according to Helen Saberi, is the most traditional and the most unusual. It is prepared in broken teapots that have been repaired by a patragar (person who mends). Our 8-year-old chose this one instead, I suppose because it looked like something familiar to him.


4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup chopped onions
1 lb. meat on the bone (I used meaty beef shanks)
1 cup chopped tomatoes
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2 cups cubed boiling potatoes
3/4 cup cubed carrots
a handful of cilantro, chopped


Heat oil over high heat in a large pan or casserole, and saute the onions until golden, 3-5 minutes. Add meat and stir to cook the surface of the meat. Add tomatoes, salt and pepper and 3-4 cups water, just to cover. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cook the meat gently about 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until just tender. Add potatoes and carrots and cook 20-30 minutes more, or until potatoes and carrots are just cooked through. Add cilantro and cook 5 minutes more, adding a bit more water if necessary.


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