What to CookStew

An Heirloom Recipe for Zingy, Herby Iranian Chicken

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Every so often, we scour the site for cool recipes from our community that we then test, photograph, and feature. This one comes from Farideh (cookingProf), who learned how to make this celery and chicken stew from her grandmother. Here, she shares few key notes about how to modify the recipe to suit your preferences.

Unlike the cold-weather seasonal stew fesenjoon, which is rich and calorie-dense, khoresht-e-karafse (herbed celery chicken) is a delicate summertime favorite on most Iranian dinner tables.

The dish is best enjoyed with potato-crusted rice!
The dish is best enjoyed with potato-crusted rice! Photo by Julia Gartland

Iranian food, especially stews that are served over rice, owes its innate zingy-ness to something called chosheni, an acidic ingredient added during the last stage of cooking. Lemon or lime juice, sour grape juice, pomegranate juice, and wine vinegar are all great examples of chosheni.

In my recipe, I used lemon juice as chosheni. However, another way to give this stew its tangy taste is to add half a cup of thinly sliced fresh or frozen rhubarb during the last 15-20 minutes of cooking. Sour grape juice also works very well.

What Iran Taught Yasmin Khan About "Authenticity" in Food
What Iran Taught Yasmin Khan About "Authenticity" in Food

Khoresht-e-karafse can also be made using slow-simmered lamb shank or stew-sized chunks of lamb or beef. When using lamb or beef, fried onions are essential. Thinly slice and fry a large onion, sprinkle them with a teaspoon of turmeric, and add the yellowed onions to the meat before cooking. Partially cooked lamb or beef can be finished off in a crock pot along with the celery and herb mixture for three or four hours. As delicate as celery might seem, it actually holds up very well.

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Iranian / Persian Herbed Celery Chicken with Crispy Potato-Crusted Rice

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Serves 4 people

For the stew:

  • 1 medium onion
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 7 to 8 young center stalks of celery
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice

For the rice:

  • 1 cup basmati rice
  • Salt
  • 1 medium potato
  • 3-4 tablespoons olive oil
Go to Recipe
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!
Automagic Spring Menu Maker!

Tags: Spring, Heirloom Recipes, Herb, Celery, Stew