Persian Celery Stew with Mint and Rhubarb (Khoreshteh Karafs ba Revas)

Mint and parsley are used as the base for this classic Persian stew. And with the addition of rhubarb, this Persian Celery Stew (Khoreshteh Karafs ba Revas) has even more flavor and tang.

Persian Celery Stew with Mint and Rhubarb (Khoreshteh Karafs ba Revas) by FamilySpice.com

Stews are the staple of Persian cuisine. Everyone loves ground beef kabob (koobideh) and chicken kabob (joojeh kabob), but those meals are not served everyday. Stews, rice and soups are part of the daily family meal. And one my family’s favorites is Persian Celery Stew (Khoreshteh Karafs).

Like most stews, your meat base can be beef stew meat, lamb shanks or even chicken. This recipe uses beef. The key is to have juicy, tender meat but NOT mushy vegetables. And with Khoreshteh Karafs, you add the celery towards the latter end of the cooking process.

The primary herb in this dish is mint – a lot of mint – as well as some parsley. But you can sneak in some kale and spinach in there, for extra nutrition.

Rhubarb by FamilySpice.com

Another great addition to Khoreshteh Karafs is rhubarb. Persians have a love affair with lemons and limes. Most stews use dried limes for tang and flavor, and this dish is no different. Rhubarb is equally tart, so when it’s in season, I like to add a few stalks to my Khoreshteh Karafs for extra zing. Rhubarb melts quickly as it cooks. So when you add it to the cooking process depends on your preference of texture. My husband likes to bite into the individual pieces of sour rhubarb, so I add them in the last 20 minutes of cooking. Sometimes less. Just enough to get hot and soften.

Persian Celery Stew with Mint and Rhubarb (Khoreshteh Karafs ba Revas)

This may not seem like a kid-friendly dish to average person, two of my kids go ga-ga over Khoreshteh Karafs.

Because Persian stews are typically made with herbs and vegetables and they taste even better the next day, and the day after that, etc… Many people make their stews at least a day before you serve it, for better flavor. But, in our house, if Middle-Child smells it, he can’t wait a day for it. But he will eat it for the next week, every day, if he could. So, I usually make a lot.

A whole lot.

Persian Celery Stew (Khoreshteh Karafs) by FamilySpice.com

When we go to someone else’s house and he sees this stew on the table, he is usually disappointed.

“Mommy, yours is better.”

What a sweetie. Of course, this is the same child who proclaimed my sweet & sour chicken was the worst thing he ever tasted.

Aaaahhh…. children.

Gotta love them.

You just gotta.

Persian Celery Stew (Khoreshteh Karafs) by FamilySpice.com

Persian Celery Stew (Khoreshteh Karafs)

Mint and parsley are used as the base for this classic Persian stew. And with the addition of rhubarb, this Persian Celery Stew (Khoreshteh Karafs ba Revas) has even more flavor and tang.

Ingredients:

  • 2 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper, ground
  • 3/4 tsp turmeric, dried
  • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped (approx. 1 cup)
  • 2 cup beef broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 dried limes, quartered
  • 3 cup parsley, packed
  • 3/4 cup fresh mint, packed
  • 2 bunches celery, chopped into 1/4-inch slices (about 11 cups)
  • 2 stalks of rhubarb, chopped into 1/4-inch slices (optional)
  • 1/2 tsp saffron, ground

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix together:
    • 2 lb beef stew meat , cut into 1-inch cubes
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
    • 1/4 tsp turmeric, dried
    • 2 tsp all-purpose flour
  2. Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add:
    • 1 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  3. When oil is hot, add:
    • 1 onion , chopped (approx. 1 cup)
  4. Cook until onions start to soften, approximately 7 minutes and add:
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper, ground
    • 1/2 tsp turmeric, dried
  5. Cook for a 2 minutes, then raise the heat to medium-high, add stew meat and brown all sides, approximately 7 minutes.
  6. Stir in:
    • 2 cup beef broth
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  7. Using a wooden spoon, scrape up browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pot.
  8. Add to the stew:
    • 2 limes, dried , quartered
  9. Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring the stew every 30 minutes.
  10. Using a food processor (or chop finely with a knife) chop:
    • 3 cup parsley, packed
    • 3/4 cup fresh mint, packed
  11. Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add:
    • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  12. Add to the hot oil
    • 2 bunches celery , chopped into 1/4-inch slices (about 11 cups)
    • 1/2 tsp salt
  13. Stir in the chopped parsley and mint and sauté for 7 minutes.
  14. Add celery mixture to the stew and stir in:
    • 1/2 tsp saffron, ground
  15. Cook stew covered over low heat for another 45 minutes.
  16. Serve hot.
  17. If using rhubarb, during the last 20 minutes of cooking stir in:
    • 2 stalks of rhubarb, chopped into 1/4-inch slices (optional)

Notes:

Serving Suggestions: This is one of those dishes that tastes even better the next day. Serve with basmati rice.

Cooking Tips: This dish can also be made vegetarian by omitting the meat and substituting whole mushrooms. Also use vegetable broth instead of beef.

Prep Time:

Yield: Serves 6

Cook Time:

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8 Responses to Persian Celery Stew with Mint and Rhubarb (Khoreshteh Karafs ba Revas)

  1. Alisa at #

    Hi Laura. Thank you so much for sharing your tantalizing recipes. I would like to know about these dried limes. I am not Persian and do not live in a Persian neighborhood, so I suspect I will have to make my own or special order them. I have done a bit of searching on the internet for instructions, but have come up with contradictory results, so thought better to ask you directly.
    Best wishes,
    Alisa

    • Hi Alisa!
      Thank you for your sweet words! My mother-in-law dries her own limes, so that’s one option. You can use those small Mexican limes. But you can also order them on amazon here. Sadaf is a brand that I like and use all the time. They have their own website, too, where you can order from. Let me know what you think after you make this!

  2. Alisa at #

    Thanks, Laura. This is exactly the kind of practical information I was looking for! I recently discovered that they don’t even carry saffron in the supermarket here. I plan to make an order from Sadaf which will include saffron, the omani limes, and pomegranate concentrate or paste. Are there any other specialty items you would recommend for the pantry? Thank you so much and happy creating,
    Alisa

    • For a Persian pantry? Also add sumac, turmeric, dried fenugreek, dried shallots (if you like maast-o mooseer).You can get dried herbs anywhere, but add that to list, too!

  3. John at #

    Hi Laura,
    I subscribe and read to your blog, intrigued by the content. Thank-you for the “new to me” ideas of sprucing up my mundane North American heritage generated menu with a Persian flair (actually Canadian but still N. America). Just one thing got me thinking in this recipe,in step “15. Cook stew covered over low heat for another 45 minutes.” wouldn’t the celery be all mushy and gross? When I’m making a stew I generally stew with celery,onions and carrots in and add more vegetables near the end so their is a saucy stew with a firm veggie body. But since the main ingredient here is celery I’m curious as to go about this. Also this time of year rhubarb appears on the grocers shelves and I’m always looking for a way to use it as I don’t eat sweets.(I’m sweet enough…Har har.)

    • Hi John! I love mundane North American heritage generated foods! ha ha! The celery does not turn to mush if you have sliced it about 1-cm thick, which is my preference in size. I also stir the pot up a couple times during this process so all of the celery can evenly cook. I’ll add that to the recipe directions, too. We do prefer a crisper celery, but not a raw celery, so you can cook it for less time. The key is for all the flavors to meld together. Rhubarb, though, definitely melts when cooked. Do let me know how you like it, if you do make this stew. I love to hear feedback from non-Iranians feel about Persian food. And thanks for your “sweet” comment!

  4. Nancy at #

    Hi and thank you!

    I just ran across your site when looking up “dehydrating chard”. I am intrigued by many recipes; so many that I am now “following” you on pinterest. I can’t wait to try the blueberry cream cheese brownies!

    Can this stew be made in a crockpot?

    I am a preschool teacher and an Avon Lady (https://nhoyt.avonrepresentative.com/) and am not home to “stir the pot” in step 9… but could do the rest when home. Do you think this would work?

    • Hi Nancy,
      Thanks for stopping by! Yes, you can definitely cook the meat and herbs in the crockpot. But I would not put the celery or rhubarb in to cook all day as it would turn to mush. The celery needs about an hour of cooking (for cooked celery but with a crunch) and the rhubarb (again depending on texture preference) about 20 minutes.
      Do let me know how you like it!
      Laura

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