Mint and parsley are used as the base for this classic Persian stew. And with the addition of rhubarb, this Persian Celery Stew (Khoresh Karafs ba Revas) has even more flavor and tang.
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 (Khoresh Karafs).
About Khoresh Karafs
Persian stews are really something special. Almost all of them feature a vegetable like eggplant, herbs, okra, squash and of course, celery. They almost always include a meat, but you can also omit it to keep it vegetarian.
Like most Persian stews, your meat base can be beef stew meat, lamb shanks or even chicken. This recipe uses beef stew meat (I cut up London broil and use that). The key is to have juicy, tender meat but NOT mushy vegetables.
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.
Adding rhubarb to khoresh karafs
Another great addition to Khoresh Karafs is rhubarb. Persians have a love affair with lemons and limes and all things sour. 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 Khoresh 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 slightly.
This may not seem like a kid-friendly dish to average person, two of my kids go ga-ga over Khoresh 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.
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 teriyaki chicken was the worst thing he ever tasted.
Gotta love them.
You just gotta.
- 2 lb beef stew meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 3/4 tsp turmeric
- 2 tsp all-purpose flour (optional)
- 3 TBS extra virgin olive oil
- 1 onion, chopped (approximately 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 ground saffron
- In a large bowl mix together stew meat 1/2 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/4 tsp turmeric and 2 tsp flour until meat is coated evenly.
- Heat a large dutch oven over medium heat and add 1 TBS olive oil.
- When oil is hot, add chopped onions.
- Cook until onions start to soften, approximately 7 minutes and add 1/2 tsp salt 1/4 tsp pepper, 1/2 tsp turmeric.
- Cook for a 2 minutes, then raise the heat to medium-high, add stew meat and brown all sides, approximately 7 minutes.
- Stir in beef broth and lemon juice.
- Using a wooden spoon, scrape up browned bits of meat from the bottom of the pot.
- Add dried limes to the stew, reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer for 2 hours, stirring the stew every 30 minutes.
- Using a food processor (or chop finely with a knife) chop parsley, mint and spinach.
- Heat a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 TBS olive oil.
- Sauté chopped greens for 5 minutes then add to the meat mixture
- Add another 1 TBS olive oil to the hot skillet and sauté the chopped celery.
- Season celery with 1/2 tsp salt then add to the stew, along with ground saffron.
- Cook stew covered over low heat for another 45 minutes.
- If using rhubarb, stir in chopped rhubarb during the last 20 minutes of cooking.
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.
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Serving Size:2 cups
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 392 Total Fat: 18g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 1g Unsaturated Fat: 12g Cholesterol: 150mg Sodium: 1014mg Carbohydrates: 9g Fiber: 3g Sugar: 2g Protein: 52g