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Persian Herb Stew with Kale (Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi ba Kalam-e Peech)

Khoresteh gormeh sabzi is a classic Persian stew made with fresh green herbs like parsley, cilantro, fenugreek and scallions. This version adds some healthy green kale to the mix.

Persian Herb Stew with Kale (Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi ba Kalam-e Peech) by FamilySpice.com

There are certain foods and aromas that evoke strong childhood memories for me. Being Persian, even half Persian, meant food was a big part of our family. We ate dinner together every night. When it came to extended family, those gatherings involved tables overflowing with food.

Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is a staple stew in most Persian households. And it’s one of those dishes that I adored from an early age. I still remember walking up the stairs to my grandmother’s apartment in Iran, smelling the fragrant herbs all along the way. And when I make Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi for my family, the smell takes me back to my grandmother’s weekly dinners.

Traditionally, Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is made with parsley, cilantro, fenugreek and green onions. It’s the combination and quantities of each of these herbs that makes every version unique the cook preparing it. Although not a terribly complicated meal, Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is a bit labor intensive.

Most of the work is spent washing and cleaning the herbs. For the parsley, I trim off the excess stems. For the cilantro, I’m not as picky about the stems, but I definitely remove the fat woody ones. Everything gets chopped up nicely in the food processor. Although it is very possible to chop the herbs by hand, I have done it, it will take MUCH longer than whirling it through the handy food processor.

Now you may ask, “Can I use dried herbs for this dish?” Well, to be honest I do know many people who make this dish using only dried herbs. It certainly is easier using dried herbs, but the flavor is different compared to using fresh herbs. My personal preference? Fresh herbs are best.

Persian Herb Stew with Kale (Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi ba Kalam-e Peech) by FamilySpice.com

The only dried herb I use in this dish is fenugreek, because it is very difficult finding fresh fenugreek. The strong pungent smell of Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is from the fenugreek. The amount, again, is dependent on the preferences of the person cooking the meal.

My mother tells me she uses very little fenugreek because it smells up the house. But for me, it’s all about that beautiful smell. And remembering my grandmother. So I never skimp on the fenugreek.

I started adding other green vegetables to my Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi after I had kids. Wanting to get them to eat more greens, I began adding spinach to the stew. No one noticed the difference. Since I always had frozen spinach in the freezer, it was easy to add and it became a staple ingredient. I have recently switched to adding kale to my Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi and again, no one noticed a difference.

There are two other key ingredients in Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi besides fenugreek: dried Persian limes (those shriveled up brown balls pictured above) and the beans. Again, there are some differences of opinions here. My mom likes to use pinto beans, I prefer red kidney beans. Both are totally fine to use. For the meat in the dish, you will typically find beef, but lamb can also be used. For a vegetarian version, a dear friend of mine uses baby portobello mushrooms.

Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is served over a bed of fluffy basmati rice (see video below on how to prepare the rice). You can also add Shirazi salad or some mast-o khiar to go with it. I personally prefer my Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi with a little bit of rice and some radishes on the side. OMG I’m drooling just thinking about it.

Got an Instant Pot? You can also make Gormeh Sabzi in the Instant Pot! I’ve got the full directions here and in this video:


My husband keeps asking me to make a giant pot and freeze half of it. What he doesn’t understand is that I do make a giant pot, but we all love it so much and can’t help ourselves. There aren’t too many substitutes for my kids’ thermos of chicken noodle soup.

Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is one pre-approved substitute. Persian stews taste even better the next day. I never serve Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi the same day that I prepare it. So don’t be intimidated by this dish. It might take a bit of work to prepare, so do it over the weekend so you can enjoy it later during the week.

What food takes you back to your childhood?

Persian Herb Stew with Kale (Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi ba Kalam-e Peech)

Author:

Laura Bashar | Family Spice

Khoresteh Gormeh Sabzi is a classic Persian stew made with fresh green herbs like parsley, cilantro, fenugreek and scallions. This version adds some healthy green kale to the mix.

Ingredients:

  • 3 lb stew meat, 1-inch cubes
  • 3 tsp turmeric, divided
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • 2 TBS all purpose flour (optional)
  • 9 TBS extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 3 cups diced onions
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 6 small dried Persian limes
  • 26 oz fresh parsley (approximately 6 big bunches)
  • 10 oz fresh cilantro (approximately 4 bunches)
  • 9 oz fresh kale (7 oz kale without stems)
  • 1/2 cup dried fenugreek, divided
  • 8 oz fresh green onions (approximately 2 bunches)
  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 20-ounces canned red kidney beans

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl mix together until meat is coated evenly and set aside:
    • 3 lb stew meat, 1-inch cubes
    • 2 tsp turmeric, divided
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/8 tsp black pepper
    • 2 TBS all purpose flour (optional)
  2. In a large Dutch oven over medium high heat add:
    • 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
    • 3 cups diced onions
  3. Cook until onions start to soften, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook until translucent, just before caramelizing.
  4. Stir in with the onions:
    • 1 tsp turmeric
    • 1/4 tsp salt
  5. Raise heat back to high and when onions and oil are crackling, brown seasoned stew meat on all sides.
  6. Once browned, stir in:
    • 2 cups beef broth
  7. Scrape bits that have browned on the bottom of the pot and bring broth to boil, then reduce to low heat.
  8. Cut slits into:
    • 6 small dried Persian limes
  9. Add dried limes to the pot, cover and cook on low heat for 1 hour. Once limes have softened, you can press them flat with your wooden spoon to remove the air inside.
  10. While meat is cooking, remove stems, especially the thick woody ones, from:
    • 26 oz fresh parsley (approximately 6 big bunches)
    • 10 oz fresh cilantro (approximately 4 bunches)
    • 9 oz fresh kale (7 oz kale without stems)
  11. Wash, drain and spin green vegetables dry. A salad spinner works great with this step.
  12. Once dried, chop vegetables in batches using a food processor with a metal blade.
  13. Using a large non-stick frying pan, over medium-high heat add:
    • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  14. Sauté half of the green vegetables in the hot oil, stirring in:
    • 1/4 cup dried fenugreek
  15. Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking until vegetables are dark green. Transfer to the pot with the stew meat.
  16. Add to the hot frying pan:
    • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  17. Sauté the second half of green vegetables in the hot oil, stirring in:
    • 1/4 cup dried fenugreek
  18. Again, cook until vegetables are dark green. Transfer to the pot with the stew meat.
  19. Clean and dice, both green and white parts:
    • 8 oz fresh green onions (approximately 2 bunches)
  20. Add to the hot frying pan:
    • 2 TBS extra virgin olive oil
  21. Sauté the green onions in the hot oil until onions are lightly browned and greens are dark. Transfer to the pot with the stew meat.
  22. Stir in the stew:
    • 4 cups water
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  23. Cover pot, reduce heat of stew to low and cook for at least an hour or two. The longer the stew cooks, the more fragrant and flavorful your stew will be. Ideally, you can serve the stew the next day.
  24. Drain liquid from:
    • 20-ounces canned red kidney beans
  25. Soak canned beans in a bowl of water for 2 hours. This step is optional. By soaking the canned beans in water, you reduce the gassy side effects of eating beans.
  26. Drain beans, stir in with the stew and cook for one more hour.
  27. Serve with white basmati rice. Click here for recipe.

Prep Time:

Yield: serves 8-10

Cook Time:

Total Time:

Rating: 5