Make Ahead

Khoresh 'eh Rivas -- Persian Rhubarb Stew

February 19, 2013
Author Notes

Khoresh is a genre of Persian food that is not merely a staple but also a quintessential pillar of Persian cooking.  Widely translated as “stew”, Khoresh is certainly stew-like or stew-ish, but it is more elaborate, deliberate, and nuanced.

“Khoresh rivas” or rhubarb stew is not good - it is amazing. Pieces of succulent rhubarb and tender meat in an aromatic herb-infused pool of tart and savory flavors.  Delicious, sophisticated, inviting.

SERVING: Pour khoresh into a serving bowl and serve hot. (Khoresh is always served with polo - Persian style fluffy steamed rice.)
Typically, each person gets 2 ladles to pour over and mix with their rice. Second helpings are inevitable and encouraged.

Noosheh jaan! —Fig and Quince

  • Prep time 30 minutes
  • Cook time 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Serves 4-6
  • 1 pound stewing meat (lamb, beef, veal) cut into 2" cubes
  • 4 stalks of fresh rhubarb (cut in 2" pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley (chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint (or 3 sprigs of fresh mint, finely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon grated garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in hot water (optional)
  • 1 medium-large onion (sliced)
In This Recipe
  1. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet and saute parsley and fresh mint over medium heat for 2-3 minutes.  (If using dried mint, saute parsley first, and add the dried mint at the final minute.)  Set your parsley and mint mixture aside for now
  2. Wash rhubarb stalks.  Peel off the thin-film-outer-skin and strings. Cut stalks into 2" pieces. (1" cut is traditional but we prefer this for aesthetic reasons and also because the larger size is a safety measure preventing rhubarb, which is a rather delicate vegetable when cooked, from falling apart.) Set aside for now.
  3. In a big pot, heat oil till it sizzles.  Add onions, sprinkle with salt (prevents onion from emitting liquid and getting soggy)  and saute (avoid over-stirring) over medium heat until nicely golden and translucent.  Add turmeric and pepper.  Stir to mix.
  4. Add meat to the onions, saute over medium heat until each piece of meat is browned on all sides (usually 5 minutes or so.) If you are using the optional grated ginger and garlic add those half-way through this step of browning the meat.
  5. Add 2 1/2 cups of water to the pot, add salt to taste, and bring to a boil.  Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tenderly cooked.  (Usually takes one hour, give or take, depending on the type of meat used.) Halfway through cooking the meat, add the sauteed parsley and mint mixture prepared earlier.  Now is also the time to add the dissolved saffron – if you are availing yourself of this festive option.   Stir gently to mix with the meat, cover, and continue to cook until the meat is done.
  6. Once the meat is cooked, add rhubarb, gently mix, and adjust seasoning. Partially cover pot with the lid ajar, and cook for another 15 minutes or until the rhubarb is done. (Rhubarb is delicate, as mentioned above, which is why it’s added at the last, stage of the game. Avoid over-cooking it so that it won’t fall apart.)
  7. Taste and adjust seasoning to taste. If you so desire, and only if you must, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of sugar, just enough to balance but not drown the tart flavor.

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