Make Ahead

Khoresht Karafs—Persian Beef and Celery Stew

December 14, 2015
3 Ratings
Photo by Merav
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

Growing up in southern California, food was always a multi-cultural experience. My best friend in elementary school was Persian, in fact, many of our family friends were, and I fell instantly in love with the fresh, vibrant flavors of their cuisine. This Persian beef and celery stew—khoresht karafs—is one of my favorites—fragrant, fresh and slightly tart from the addition of lemon juice. And while it may veer slightly from the traditional ingredients I've seen in many recipes, it brings me right back to my friend's kitchen all those years ago. —Merav

What You'll Need
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 pound beef stew meat, cubed in 1-inch pieces
  • 4 cups celery, diced
  • 1 bunch parsley, washed and finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon dried mint
  1. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat in a large saucepan or dutch oven, and add the onion. Sweat the onion until is translucent, and then raise the heat to medium high. Add the beef, and sear on all sides until evenly browned. Next, add the spices and salt, and stir to evenly coat all the beef. Cook for one minute, until fragrant, and then add the water. Stir the mixture well, and bring to a boil. Partially cover and lower the heat to a simmer. Allow the beef to simmer for an hour.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the remaining 4 tablespoons of butter over medium heat. Add the celery and parsley, and cook stirring often, until slightly softened and translucent, about 10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.
  3. After simmering the beef for one hour, add the celery and parsley mixture to the pot, along with the lemon juice and dried mint. Allow the mixture to simmer for 30 minutes, or more, until the beef is fully tender. Check for seasoning, adding more salt and pepper if necessary. Serve with traditional Persian basmati rice, with its golden brown tadig for added texture and tradition.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Satorman
  • Donald

2 Reviews

Satorman August 9, 2019
I’ve made this a couple of times for my mom. Each time my mom can’t stop complimenting me nor can she stop eating, mind you she is a petite lady lol and afterwords she thanks me for a delishlous food and blames me for her overeating. She says “it’s the best khoresteh karafs she’s ever had”. One time, my brother had some left overs at my mom’s, he actually called me and said “ how delishlous it was and What special ingredient I used because it’s the best he has ever had too” . I always have to remind my family that i only followed this wonderful recipe .
Thank you for sharing :)
Donald January 29, 2018
But in Southern California it's very easy to find dried limes, instead of the lemon juice. The limes give it that authentic "musty" sort of taste. It's also missing the fenugreek leaves, but those are more difficult to obtain outside this area so I understand the need for simplification.
Also, I've never seen or eaten this stew with the celery diced. I've only seen it cut into 2 inch lengths. It tastes the same I suppose but the look and the mouth feel is much different.