This is a pretty standard Persian stew. Kind of like the "Twinkle Twinkle Little Star" of Persian recipes if you will. But this is my version. My mom would always make this during the holidays to give us a break from the copious amounts of leftover turkey, dressing, pie and other traditional holiday foods that were served at our very large family gatherings. Even though we did not eat this at our big family meals, it reminds me of the smaller intimate dinners we had with just my immediate family in between the 20 person feasts that are the hallmark of my family's holiday celebration. It's comforting and relatively easy to make for a Persian stew (some of them are super complicated and take up to 5 hours). It has all of the flavors of Persian food that I love, the sweetness from the caramelized onions and slow cooked tomatoes, the sour from the lime and the rich depth that can only come from food that is cooked over low heat for a couple hours. It is 100% a crowd pleaser too! It always blows everyone away when I make it and my friends often ask me when I'm going to make Persian stew again. —Scheherezade Daftary
- Serves 4-6
1 lb of lamb stew meat cut into cubes
2 onions peeled and thinly sliced
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
1 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon tumeric
1 pound fresh green beans
2 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
3 Tablespoons tomato paste
4 whole canned plum tomatoes chopped (San Marzano are the best)
- Heat a large dutch oven over high heat and add 3 tablespoons of oil. Add lamb cubes in batches and brown on all sides. Transfer batches of browned lamb to a plate or bowl.
- In the same dutch oven add more oil if necessary and then add the onions and cook until soft and lightly browned. When onions are just about done, add salt, pepper, cinnamon and tumeric. Stir for one minute until the onions are coated in the spices and it becomes fragrant, less than a minute.
- Add browned lamb and accumulated juices to onion mixture along with 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat and let simmer for an hour and a half.
- Meanwhile, wash, trim and cut the green beans into 2 inch pieces. You can cut them on the diagonal if you want to get fancy with it. Sautee green beans in a pan with olive oil and a pinch of salt for a couple minutes, just until they turn bright green and are warmed through.
- After the lamb has cooked for one and a half hours, toss in the sauteed green beans, tomato paste, lime juice and chopped canned tomatoes and cook for another 45 minutes or until the lamb is very tender. Sometimes I let it go for an hour. Just be sure to stir it every once in a while to make sure the bottom of the pot isn't burning.
- While the green beans and lamb are in the final stage of cooking, prepare rice. I like brown basmati for myself. Just follow package instructions.
- When stew is done, taste it and adjust seasoning with more salt and pepper to your liking. Serve stew over rice.