Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew)
Don’t let the stew’s unflattering appearance turn you off. It is the most intensely fragrant, wholesome and decadent stew of Persian cuisine. I first saw this a few years ago on my foodie friend Maria’s blog at Foodaholic biz. I think I tried it within a day or two and It has since become a well-established favorite in my house. Maria has all sorts of delicious recipes on her site, and this one is a prime example!
Ghormeh sabzi is a slow-cooked green stew consisting of lamb, kidney beans, spinach and herbs such as parsley, cilantro and fenugreek to name a few. There are just a couple of key steps to take note of, but so far as the ingredients are concerned, you can easily swap or substitute. The result will be comforting and nutritious.
Whenever you plan on making this stew be sure to read that the beans need to be soaked overnight and a large amount of fresh greens/herbs should be stripped, cleaned and chopped. If you are not in a mood for all this, you can use canned beans and many Persian supermarkets carry pre-chopped herbs for Ghormeh Sabzi in their freezer section. The key step in preparing Ghormeh sabzi is the perfect roasting of herbs and meat, which will contribute to a wintry richness and a yummy aroma.
Apart from the fresh and yummy flavor of cooked herbs, meat, and beans, the dish owes its distinct sour flavor to dried lemons. Dried Lemons, often called Black Lemons or Black Limes are dusky brown in color on the outside. They are used as a spice or added whole to Mediterranean stews and soups for flavor and taste. You simply pierce them a couple of times with a knife or fork and drop them into the pot. The flavor is bright and citrusy while also being earthy. They are available in middle eastern markets or online. In the absence of dried limes you can substitute fresh lemon juice for the recipe although the taste will not be quite the same.
As with so many stews, ghormeh sabzi tastes best the next day. I highly advise making a double batch and freeze the rest for later. This stew makes a substantial meal, especially when served with chelow,(Persian steamed rice) or over tahdig, yet still perfect eating with plain basmati rice alongside a plate of salad. If you’re avoiding grains, it’s also great as a stand-alone stew. To make this dish vegetarian, you can omit the meat and add additional beans or (gluten free) tempeh instead.
Ghormeh Sabzi is a slow simmered stew of braised meat, fragrant herbs, tender beans and tangy dried Persian limes.
- 1 kg boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2x2" cubes
- 1 cup dried kidney beans, soaked overnight
- 1 large onion, finely chopped
- 2 cups, cilantro chopped
- 2 cups, parsley chopped
- 1 cup, fenugreek leaves chopped
- 3 cups spinach, chopped
- 2 cups chives, chopped
- 7 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 5 dried lemons
- 1 tsp turmeric
- Sea salt and black pepper to taste
- 4 tbsp. Olive oil
- 1/2 cup tomato paste (optional)
- Gluten free Tempeh or additional beans
- Wash the meat and let it drain.
- If making it vegan pan fry tempeh over medium heat in little oil until golden brown and crispy.Set aside
- Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a pot on medium heat. Add onions and stir fry till they are soft.
- Add the meat, turmeric, salt and pepper and fry with the onions for few minutes.
- Drain beans and add beans to the meat.
- Next poke a few holes in each of the dried lemons and add them to the mixture.
- Pour in enough water to cover the mixture by about 2", and bring it to a boil.
- Reduce heat, cover and let it simmer for 40 minutes or till the meat and beans seems done.
- Meanwhile, place all the chopped greens and remaining 2 tbsp. oil in a large skillet. Sauté on medium high, stirring occasionally for 20 minutes or until all the excess water has evaporated.
- Add the greens to the meat and beans mixture. Stir to combine. Add a little more water if needed. Increase the heat to return to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer, covered for another 20-30 minutes (The longer ghormeh sabzi simmers the better it tastes).
- In the last 10 minutes, stir in tomato paste and tempeh(if using).
- Taste and adjust the seasoning before serving.
- Serve hot with steamed basmati rice or Pulao.
This post is linked to CookBlogShare.