To say ghormeh sabzi is a popular dish in Iran would be an understatement. The recipe is so old it is said that it was served to Alexander the Great by the ancient Persians and he fell in love with it. I really can’t say enough about this stew; even young children love it (after they get past the green color). A Persian friend of mine once told me that ghormeh sabzi is the equivalent of mac and cheese in North America: it’s Persian comfort food.
Fortunately, this is the perfect time of year for this dish since fresh herbs are the key ingredient. But it’s also great in fall when you have lots of extra kale from your garden. You will be chopping a lot of greens because once sauteed, they reduce significantly in size. However, don`t count on all the green leafy vegetables in this stew to provide you with loads of calcium and iron and stuff. Most of the nutrients will be destroyed in the long cooking process. The delicious flavors it develops are well worth the trade-off, though. I have slightly altered the traditional recipe to make it more real-food-friendly. Soaking the beans overnight is an important part of the preparation. That said, this recipe could easily be made paleo by omitting the beans and serving it over cauliflower rice.
Oh, and it’s fantastic as leftovers.
Persian Ghormeh Sabzi
- 1 bunch spinach or kale
- 1 bunch green onion (or garlic scapes, or leeks, or 2 bunches chives)
- 1 bunch parsely
- 1 bunch cilantro
- 1/2 bunch mint
- 1 onion
- 5-6 cloves garlic
- 1 1/2 lb stewing meat (I like bone-in)
- 1 cup dried red kidney beans
- 5 dried limes
- 2 cups beef bone broth (optional)
- 2 cups water
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1/2 tsp cumin
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
1. Finely chop the onion and garlic. Heat olive oil in a heavy pan, add onions and garlic and cook until slightly soft. Increase the heat, add the meat and sear on all sides. Add the spices, and salt and pepper to taste. Pour in the water and bone broth (or 4 cups of water), the dried beans and the dried limes. Stew on medium for about 1 hour, or in a slow cooker on high for about 2 hours.
2. Finely chop the fresh greens and saute in butter until dark green and about one fourth the volume. Add to the stew and cook for another 3 hours or until the meat is tender, the beans are cooked and the greens turn very dark. In a slow cooker, it will be about 6 hours on low (or longer-it only gets better).
3. Serve over white basmati rice that has been pre-soaked for at least an hour.