This flavorful Persian stew recipe is the best thing to make when rhubarb is in season, and all you want for dinner is a flavorful bowl of meat and veggies. "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's more elaborate, deliberate, and nuanced. You'll soon find out why after you make this delectable dish.
“Khoresh rivas,” or rhubarb stew, isn't just good, it's amazing. Pieces of succulent rhubarb and tender meat (you can use lamb, beef, veal, or any combination you'd like) in an aromatic herb-infused pool of tart and savory flavors. The turmeric, garlic, ginger, saffron, parsley, and mint all come together to result in a stew that's delicious, sophisticated, and inviting. You'll happily serve this to friends and family no matter what the occasion.
Keep in mind that khoresh is usually served with polo, which is a Persian-style steamed rice. There are so many versions of polo, depending on how you grew up and whom you ask, but feel free to use whatever kind of rice you have on hand, or go all out and make sabzi polo in anticipation and in celebration of springtime. Typically, each person gets two ladles of the stew to pour over and mix with their rice. Second helpings are inevitable and encouraged. You shouldn't be surprised if there aren't any leftovers. It's as beautiful as it is easy to make.
Noosheh jaan! —Fig and Quince
- Prep time 30 minutes
- Cook time 1 hour 45 minutes
- Serves 4 to 6
olive oil, divided
mint, finely chopped, or 1 tablespoon dried mint
stewing meat (lamb, beef, veal), cut into 2-inch cubes
finely grated peeled ginger
ground saffron, dissolved in hot water (optional)
stalks fresh rhubarb
1 to 2 tablespoons
- In a small skillet over medium heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Cook the parsley and fresh mint, stirring, for 2 to 3 minutes, until fragrant and slightly wilted. (If using dried mint, cook the parsley first, then add the dried mint at the final minute.) Transfer to a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large pot over medium heat, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil until sizzling. Add the onions, season with salt, and cook, stirring occasionally (avoid over-stirring), for 5 to 7 minutes, until golden and translucent. Add the turmeric and pepper and stir to combine.
- Add the meat to the onion mixture and cook, stirring in the garlic and ginger after 2 minutes, for about 5 minutes total, until browned on all sides.
- Add 2½ cups of water to the pot, season with salt, and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over low heat, stirring occasionally and adding the reserved parsley mixture and saffron, if using, halfway through, for about 1 hour, depending on the type of meat, until the meat is tenderly cooked.
- While the meat is cooking, wash the rhubarb. Peel off the thin outer skin and strings. Cut the stalks into 2-inch pieces.
- When the meat is cooked, add the rhubarb, gently stir to combine, and adjust the seasonings. Partially cover the pot and cook for another 15 minutes, until the rhubarb is tender and cooked through.
- Taste, and if you so desire, and only if you must, add the sugar, just enough to balance but not drown the tart flavor.