Khoresht Ghormeh Sabzi, Persian Fresh Herb Stew Recipe

Written by Tamar Weir

Illustrated by Tamar and Irit Weir

Khoresht is a winning dish in my home and has been passed from generation to generation with delight.  Both of my grandmothers were amazing chefs. What we call today gourmet cuisine was her daily ritualistic endeavor. This is one of her many signature dishes with some slight modification. The smell from the slow cooking, especially the cooked dried lime, will perfume the house and becomes a much anticipated and welcomed dish for any season and mood. Even I let go of my vegetarianism to eat this dish!  Side note, it can be made vegetarian too! It is a very nurturing type of dish because the slow cooking allows for the nutritious elements to stay within the juicing of the stew. The raw herbs and vegetables; radishes, cucumber, mint, and the white top of the scallion, (which are served and accompany the stew) have a cooling yin effect to balance the warmth of the yang from the stew. Persian cuisine is strong on balancing those two elements, the hot and cold. The dish will be served on top of saffron white rice which has its own aroma. Basmati in Arabic means perfume. Saffron in Arabic translates to Yellow-Gold and is the most expensive spice in the world! Saffron has been used medically to reduce fevers, cramps and enlarged livers and calm the nervous system as well as healing wounds.

Some ingredients are specific and can be purchased at a Middle Eastern market

Ingredients

1 large white onion

1 cup red kidney beans

1 cup white cannellini beans

1 cup pinto beans  

(you can choose any kind of beans you like or mix)

In the winter use red beans which warm the body more, in the summer use white beans, and in other seasons, use a mixture!

3 bunches of organic parsley

3 bunches of organic coriander

3 bunches of organic cilantro

1 bunch of green onions

1 handful of organic spinach leaves  (optional)

2-3 lbs grass fed stewing beef, cubed

3 tsp turmeric powder

6 medium dried Persian limes (for cooking, but not to be eaten)

Salt or soy sauce (to taste)

Freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

1/4 cup olive oil

 

Instructions for Stew:

Slowly cooked in a Dutch oven or big stainless steel pot  

Serves 10-12

  1.  In a Dutch oven, brown the meat in olive oil just long enough to sear all sides of the cubes. About 20 minutes, add turmeric toward the end of the searing
  2.  Meanwhile, cook beans in boiling water for 30 minutes, rinse beans in cold water
  3.  Saute onion with meat until onion becomes translucent, add salt and pepper to taste
  4.  Soak greens to clean all dust, drain, discard all stems and finely chop, respecting every leaf, that is to say, in olden days the chopping took much longer than the second generation method of coarse chopping.

No food processor allowed.  The chopping is essential to the release of the herb aroma.  (Well, perhaps the third generation will successfully use the food processor.)

  1.  Add whole dried Persian limes. These will be discarded after cooking.
  2.  Cut onion greens and discard the lower white area. Add onion greens to the other herbs
  3.  Add the half cooked beans to the seared meat
  4.  Add 10-12 cups boiling water, then add the mixture of greens, add more boiling water as needed to cover the greens
  5.  Add 1/4 cup soy sauce.  (This ingredient is not part of Persian cooking but instead of using chicken consomme or chicken broth I find the soy to add a healthy and tasty balance.)
  6.  Cover the pot and cook the mixture on the stove for 30 minutes on medium heat
  7.  Preheat the oven to 350°F and then transfer the pot to the oven for 3 hours
  8. Serve with chelow, which means saffron steamed plain basmati rice

 

Instructions for Rice:

2-3 cups Basmati rice in a large volume of salted, boiling water

  1.  Cook the rice in the boiling water with a pinch of salt and tablespoon of olive oil for 10 minutes or until the rice is slightly soft but not fully cooked
  2.  Drain the rice
  3. Add a small amount of olive oil to the same pot with a little water and saffron powder, when hot, empty and fry a thin layer of rice to create a crust for 2 minutes (do not burn), then add the balance of the partially cooked rice, add 1/4-1/2 cup of water, lower the heat to simmer and cover the rice with a clean kitchen towel to allow for the steam to escape for 20 minutes
  4. When ready take a big flat plate cover the pot and turn the pot over the plate. (Strong steady hands and trust in your ability)  

This Khoresht is served on Shabbat, on holidays and is considered comfort food.  Best with Pinot Noir or Syrah.

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