Ghormeh Sabzi (Persian Herb Stew) & Basmati Rice #glutenfree #caseinfree
My mother was Persian and growing up it was a huge treat when she would cook a traditional Iranian dish because she was pretty westernized and preferred not spending too much time in the kitchen. Oh but when my grandmother would visit, we would feast the entire time – she loved to cook all day. We had several favorites and it was amazing how much work she would do to make us happy. The soups and stews and rice. Oh my!
One of my absolute favorite things to eat are stuffed grape leaves, in almost every form. So naturally that was always my request. And she spent days preparing it. She would lay out newspaper on the kitchen floor, sit down and wash and prep all the grape leaves – then several days later we would have those precious Dolmeh. What wonderful people my mother and grandmother were and I miss them dearly. Although when I cook something with fenugreek, that distinct smell makes me feel like they are here with me and brings back wonderful, happy memories.
So another one of my favorite Persian dishes is Ghormeh sabzi, a Persian herb stew. It’s a labor of love because it takes a lot of prep work and time. I didn’t get a chance to learn it from my mom or grandma but I’m pretty pleased with how my version turned out.
You start with a bunch of herbs and spinach, kidney beans, stew meat, Persian dried limes and fenugreek. Of course, this is naturally gluten-free and casein-free, too! This can also be made without the meat as a delicious vegan dish (just add the turmeric, salt and pepper to the onions and proceed from there).
Remember to soak the dry kidney beans overnight in filtered water in the fridge (I don’t like to use canned beans because of the BPA and added sodium but you can if you need to). Wash, rinse and dry all the greens. This is the part that takes a lot of time. Cut off stems and pick off the leaves then chop coarsely.
Serving Size: 3
- 3/4 cup dry kidney beans (or small red beans)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb beef stew meat
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 large yellow onion, chopped
- 2 bunches flat leaf parsley
- 1 bunch cilantro
- Handful of chives
- 3 bundles green onions, dark and light green parts
- 1 bunch spinach
- 4-5 dried Persian limes
- 1 tbsp dried fenugreek
- 5 cups filtered water
- Soak the dry kidney beans overnight in filtered water in the fridge. Drain and rinse before using.
- Wash, rinse and dry all the greens. Cut off stems and pick off the leaves. Chop coarsely.
- Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add the stew meat, turmeric, salt and pepper. Brown the meat on all sides, about 5-7 minutes. Remove to a heat safe bowl and set aside.
- Reduce the heat to medium low and add the chopped onions. Cook down until the onion is tender and browned, about 8-10 minutes. Transfer the onions to the dish with the meat.
- Add the chopped parsley, cilantro, chives, onions and spinach. Raise the heat to medium high and fry the greens for a few minutes, stirring continuously, until wilted down.
- Poke a hole in the Persian limes (a meat thermometer works well). Add the kidney beans, meat, onions, limes, fenugreek and water. Bring to a boil then lower the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 1/2-2 hours. The beans should be very tender and the liquid should be mostly gone. Discard the limes and adjust the salt before serving.
- Serve with cooked Basmati rice.
1 cup basmati rice
3 cups filtered water
1/2 tbsp kosher salt
1 tbsp olive oil
Tip: This is a cheat on making Persian steamed rice with tahdig – I don’t use enough rice or cook it long enough to form the crust at the bottom of the pan but some of the rice crisps up and adds a nice texture alongside the stew.
Rinse the rice under cold water. Bring the water, salt and olive oil to a boil in a small saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Add the rice and boil for 3-5 minutes. Drain the rice in a fine mesh strainer and return the saucepan to the stove. Add a very thin layer of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of water. Put the rice back into the saucepan and poke a few holes in it. Cover and cook on medium heat for about 5 minutes. The rice should start to steam. Remove the lid and cover the saucepan with a clean folded kitchen towel. Put the lid back on top of the towel making sure that the edges slightly overhang (don’t catch on fire if using a gas stove). Steam at low heat for 30 minutes undisturbed. Scoop out the cooked rice and use a fork to scrape up the crispy rice at the bottom.