Gormeh Sabzi is a Persian Stew that my husband and I love to make. It’s great comfort food and really nice for parties/large gatherings along with some rice. We made a double serving for hubby’s birthday since we had many, many friends over for a game night, but the recipe I’ll explain here is for 6 servings. It will take about 30 minutes in prep time and 2+ hours of cooking. I say 2+ because the stew always gets better as you stew it for a longer period of time.Here’s what you need (remember the picture above is a double portion):
- 2 onions
- 2 pounds lamb, tofu or beef (I buy beef stew meat)
- 1 can kidney beans
- 1/3 cup oil
- 1-1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon tumeric
- 2 cups chopped parsley
- 1 cup chopped cilantro
- 1 cup chopped chives or scallions
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 3 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaves
- 3 cups of water
- 4 whole limou-omani (dried limes, can be found in the international aisle or Persian markets), 4 tablespoons lemon juice may be substituted
The instructions say to finely slice the onions and to chop all the greens. Instead, I usually roughly chop the onions and then throw them into the food processor (on a more choppy setting – you don’t want to turn the vegetables into soup). Keeping the onions separate from the greens, I then remove the stems of the greens (roughly, don’t need to be too exact here) and throw them into the food processor. When finished, I have a bowl full of finely chopped onions and one large bowl of finely chopped spinach, parsley, cilantro and scallions. At this point, I put oil on all the pans and get them heated to med-high. Usually you’ll only need two fry pans and a big stew pot, but I made a vegetarian version for our party as well, so had to have an extra for the tofu Gormeh Sabzi. I threw the onions in one pan with some of the salt, pepper and tumeric and began to carmelize them. In another, I began to brown the meat, also throwing spices on top of it. You want to get the meat nice and brown and pretty well cooked. As the pieces of meat get a nice dark brown look to them, throw them into your stew pot which should have a little oil and be on a low heat setting – just to keep the meat warm.
Once the meat is done cooking and in the stew pot, add the onions and add in 3 cups of water. Put in the rest of the salt, pepper and tumeric at this point as well. Turn up the heat, bringing the stew to a boil, cover and simmer for about an hour. Be sure to stir occasionally. Check the water level and pour in a half cup of water at a time as needed. You want the water level to be equal to the top of all the stuff in the stew (ie, equal with the height of the meats, onions, greens, etc); you don’t want the meat and greens to be floating in a soup of water, but you want the meat to be in the water and not sitting out of the water).
(Note: If you are making vegetarian stew, I would take the tofu out of the pan after you’ve browned them nicely and then stew everything else. Throw in the tofu about an hour before you want to serve the stew.)
While stewing saute the chopped greens and dried fenugreek leaves in the remaining oil till they turn a darker green/wilt a little. Once finished, throw this into the stew as well with the limou-omani or the lemon juice. If you have the whole limou-omani: Break it on a cutting board with your palm or a nutcracker and throw the whole thing into the stew. It’ll soften up and the lime flavor will steep in the stew. Continue to let it simmer for at least another hour, stirring occasionally. If you have time, let it simmer another hour or two because the flavors get better with time. An hour before you want to serve the meal, add the kidney beans (if you are short on time, add this at the same time as the chopped greens). Open the can and pour all the kidney beans into the stew, without draining the liquid. Stir and let simmer for an hour before serving.
Lastly, you’ll want to taste it before serving. Make sure that it’s salty enough to have flavor and you can taste the lime or lemon in it. Adjust the spicing as needed. And that’s it! It’s ready to eat.
This is what Gormeh Sabzi looks like! Here’s the short version:
1. Chop the onions and the greens separately.
2. Brown the onions and meat in a fry-pan with salt, pepper tumeric.
3. Add the onions and meat to the stew pot with 3 cups of water. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for an hour, occasionally stirring.
4. Saute the greens and dried fenugreek leaves in the remaining oil; then add to the stew along with the crunched limou-omani or the lemon juice. Simmer for at least another hour, but more if desired.
5. One hour before serving, add in the can of kidney beans to the stew. Continue to simmer and occasionally stir.
6. Taste and add seasoning as needed.
A couple of bonuses: This is a Persian Smothered Rice that goes along with any Persian Stew. It deserves its own blog post because it can be difficult to make without burning it. In fact, my husband makes the rice because I screw it up every time! Lastly, I know I’m not the only one… onions make me tear up like no other. The only thing I’ve found that works to keep the tears away are science goggles! They work like a charm.