Ghormeh Sabzi served over Saffron Rice (Chelo) and Tahdig

By • August 8, 2015 2 Comments

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Author Notes: Ghormeh (stewed) sabzi (greens) is a Persian stew often considered the Iranian national dish and a "must" at any important Persian event.

It consists of a concert of flavors from sautéed herbs, fenugreek leaves (shambalileh in Persian), beans, onions, and most importantly sun dried Persian limes (lime-omani). My husband's family recipe includes lamb which makes this stew nice and hearty.

This recipe holds many fond memories for my husband as the distinctive and intoxicating scent of Ghormeh Sabzi cooking on the stovetop reminds him of his previous life in Iran before the revolution forced him and his family to flee their beloved home.

This was the first dish my husband ever cooked for me. Some may even say it was the dish that ultimately helped him win my heart.

While this stew can be a labor of love to make, rest assured it is worth every bit of it as I have never met a soul who didn't fall in love with Ghormeh Sabzi at the first bite.
Lynn Mahony

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Serves 8

For the Stew:

  • 1/2 cup Dried Kidney Beans
  • 3 teaspoons Salt
  • 3 pounds Lamb Shank (cut in half through the bone)
  • 1 Medium Onion
  • 1 dash Pepper
  • 3 Dried Persian Limes
  • 2 Leeks
  • 4 bunches Flat Leaf Parsley
  • 3 tablespoons Dried Fenugreek
  • 1 teaspoon Turmeric
  • 2 Limes (juice)
  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil
  1. Soak the kidney beans in cold water and 1 teaspoon of salt for 8-10 hours.
  2. Trim the fat off the lamb shanks and add them to a pressure cooker.
  3. Cut the onion into 8 pieces and add to the pressure cooker.
  4. Add salt and pepper and mix contents of pressure cooker well.
  5. Place a loose lid on the pressure cooker and cook on low for 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes to insure the lamb and onion don't burn.
  6. After the 20 minutes, add just enough water to cover the lamb and onion.
  7. Place the pressure cooker lid on and turn the heat to high. Continue to cook until the contents of the pressure cooker start to boil.
  8. Reduce the heat to medium and cook for 20 additional minutes.
  9. While the lamb is cooking, use a fork to poke a few holes into the dried limes. Note: These can be purchased at Middle Eastern stores or online.
  10. Chop the parsley and leeks very finely. Set aside.
  11. Soak the fenugreek in 1 cup of water. Set aside.
  12. Drain the kidney beans.
  13. Turn the heat off the pressure cooker and slowly release the steam.
  14. Add the dried limes and kidney beans.
  15. Place the lid back on the pressure cooker and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 10 additional minutes.
  16. Add 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil to a large skillet. Fry the parsley, leeks and drained fenugreek for 10 minutes or until their volume has reduced in half.
  17. Add the herbs and turmeric to the contents of the pressure cooker. Replace the lid and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and continue to cook for an additional 10 minutes.
  18. Serve in individual bowls, topping each with 1 tablespoon of lime juice. Spoon the stew over Saffron rice with Tahdig (recipe follows).

For the Saffron Rice with Tahdig (crispy rice)

  • 4 cups Indian or Pakistani Basmati Rice
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • 2 tablespoons Butter
  • 1 teaspoon Saffron
  1. Rinse the rice with cold water repeatedly until the water coming off the rice is clear. Note: This can take up to 10 rinses.
  2. Place the rice in a large bowl and add 1 tablespoon of salt and enough water to completely submerge the rice. Be sure your water level is 1-2 inches above the rice. Let the rice sit covered for 8-10 hours.
  3. Drain the rice and place it into a large pot. Add 2 teaspoons salt and enough water to cover the rice.
  4. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and continue to cook until the water on the top boils off. Remove the rice from the heat and rinse under cold water to stop the cooking. Note: The rice will not be totally cooked at this point.
  5. Heat a separate pot over low heat for a few minutes. Add olive oil. Be sure the oil covers the entire bottom of the pot.
  6. Spread half of the partially cooked rice evenly over the bottom of the pot, packing it down tightly. Loosely add the rest of the rice to the pot.
  7. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil.
  8. Grind the saffron with a mortar and pestle. Add 1/2 cup of boiling water to the saffron and stir well.
  9. Pour the saffron water over the rice.
  10. Using the handle of a spatula, poke 4 holes into the rice. Be sure that these holes go all the way down to the bottom of the pot as this will allow steam to escape.
  11. Use the remaining 1/2 cup of boiling water to rinse any remaining saffron from the bowl and pour it over the rice.
  12. Divide the 2 tablespoons of butter into 4 pieces and place over top of the rice.
  13. Place paper towels over the top of the pot to catch the condensate. Place the cover tightly over the top of the pot. Simmer for 30 minutes.
  14. After 30 minutes, increase the heat to low and cook for 20 additional minutes. This will create the crunchy rice on the bottom of the pot (Tahdig).
  15. Gently scoop the loose rice out of the pot.
  16. Loosen the sides of the crunchy rice with a butter knife. Place a plate on top of the pot and flip the tahdig onto the plate.
  17. Serve the tahdig immediately with the Basmati rice and Ghormeh Sabzi.

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