Persian Lamb and Herb Stew (Ghormeh Sabzi)
Early into our relationship, I found out this classic stew was Alex’s favorite dish. So naturally, it was my first venture into the world of Persian cooking. Packed with whole bunches of chopped parsley, cilantro and scallions, ghormeh sabzi simmers red kidney beans and meat in a flavorful broth of dried Persian limes for the perfect combination of richness and brightness. While you can use beef, veal, lamb or chicken, I had some extra lamb shoulder on hand, so I wanted to surprise Alex with an impromptu Persian feast, perfect for the cold weather. Just make sure to have plenty of Shirazi salad, mast-o-khiar, and tahdig on hand and you’re ready to party.
My favorite part of this dish is how you can adjust the work load based on your time. If you’re strapped to have dinner on the table, use chicken thighs and canned red kidney beans to have this flavorful stew ready in a fraction of the time. In addition, Alex’s family introduced me to the magic of the Persian grocery store, where you can find pre-chopped herbs packed up in the freezer section ready to go straight into the pot. However, I still stand by chopping them fresh, even if it takes a little longer.
Lamb Ghormeh Sabzi
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours and 25 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours and 55 minutes
3 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil
3 pounds lamb leg or shoulder cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1 yellow onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek
1 tablespoon dried turmeric
1 bunch (10 each) scallions, minced
1 bunch (2 cups) parsley, minced
1 bunch (2 cups) cilantro, minced
6 cups chicken stock
2 cups red kidney beans, soaked overnight
6 dried Omani lines
- In a large Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Working in 2 batches, sear the lamb, turning as needed, until golden brown, 8 to 10 minutes per batch. Transfer the lamb to a bowl.
- To the pot, add the onions and cook until softened and slightly golden, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the dried fenugreek and turmeric, and cook until fragrant, 1 minute.
- Add the scallions, parsley and cilantro to the pot and cook, stirring to scrape up any fond on the bottom of the pot, until the herbs are dark green in color, 4 to 5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and bring to a light simmer. Using a paring knife, pierce a hole in each lime to release its flavor into the stew. Cook, covered, until both the lamb and beans are tender, about 2 hours. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, then serve.