Ghorme sabzi; Persian herb stew
"Ghorme-Sabzi" literally means herb stew in Farsi (i.e. the Persian language). The word “Ghorme” shares the same linguistic roots with the word “Korma” in Hindi; both the word mean stew. Korma dishes are believed to have Persian origin and to have been introduced to the Indian cuisine by Mongol kings who conquered and ruled both the countries for centuries. Without a doubt, Ghorme-Sabzi is Iran’s most beloved dish of all time. the stew showcases some of the most unique features and ingredients of Persian cooking. The dominating flavor theme of Persian cuisine is sour and salty and Ghorme-Sabzi well resents that feature. It also contains dried Persian limes, the most uniquely Persian ingredient.
Being Persian, Ghorme-Sabzi represents more than just food to me. It is a full package of childhood memories, offered in form of a humble stew. As John Irving says:
“Your memory is a monster; you forget—it doesn't. It simply files things away. It keeps things for you, or hides things from you—and summons them to your recall with will of its own. You think you have a memory; but it has you!”
And Ghorme-Sabzi exactly does that....
450 gr (~1 pound) beef ribs or bone-in lamb stewing meat (preferably shoulder or neck)
Flour, salt and pepper for dredging
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1 teaspoon of coriander powder
Pinch of Saffron
3 cups brown beef stock (preferably) or water
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup kidney beans(in some regions black eyed peas are used)
1 recipe Ghorme sabzi herb mixture(recipe follows)
3 dried Persian limes (see note)
Ghorme sabzi herb mixture:
200 gr (~7.05 Oz ) Chinese chives
300 gr (~10.58 Oz) Italian parsley
50 gr (~1.75 ) fenugreek leaves
1 teaspoon dried fenugreek
In some Iranian regions other herbs such as cilantro, spinach, Swiss chard and even tarragon (North western Turkish region) are used. I personally like the above simple mixture from the capital (Tehran)
Use 3 dried Persian limes to stick to the traditional versions. These could be found in Persian or Middle eastern stores or more conveniently online!.
Other alternatives could be:1 whole preserved lemon or
1 cup of verjuice or
1 cup sour orange juice.
Put the herb mixture in a pan, set over medium heat. Cook the herb mixture until the moisture in herbs is evaporated. At this point, add enough oil to fry the herbs. Cook until the herbs are dark green and start to smell nutty.
Assuming that your herb mixture is ready, we now can proceed to the next stage: cooking the stew!
Brown the meat in a hot skillet. Remove and set a side.
The best way to cook Ghorme-Sabzi is low and slow! And what would be better for that than the slow cooker?
Layer the surface with parchment and cook on low over-night. This could be done on stove top over very low heat well. Do to so, decrease the heat, put the lid and cook for two hours or till the meat is tender.
This is what you are supposed to see the morning after! Skim the excess fat with a spoon.
Serve with Persian style rice.