Serves 6 to 8
During an interview, Seddigheh Mozaffari said this version of a quintessential Persian herb dish. Slightly underripe grapes (the Mozaffaris grow their own) add a sourness similar to that of lemon juice or Persian limes. If fresh fenugreek is not available, you may substitute dried. Serve this stew with plain steamed rice to soak up the flavorful juices.
• 1/2 cup red or kidney beans, soaked overnight
• 1 onion, diced
• 4 tablespoons oil
• 1 pound well-trimmed beef or lamb stew meat, cut into small pieces
• 1/4 cup lemon juice, 3 to 4 dried Persian limes, or 1/2 cup sour grapes
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 3 cups water
• 4 large bunches flat-leaved parsley
• 1/2 pound Persian leek tops or scallions, including tops
• 3 bunches fresh fenugreek leaf, about 6 ounces, or 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek leaf
1. Drain and rinse the beans; set aside. In a large nonreactive pan over medium heat, sauté the onion in 2 tablespoons oil for 10 minutes or until golden. Add the meat, increase the heat, and brown the meat well all over.
2. Add the beans to the meat mixture along with the lemon juice or sour grapes. (If you are using limes, pierce each one with a knife in three or four places.) Season lightly with salt and pepper.
3. Add 3 cups water, cover the pan, and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 1 hour.
4. Meanwhile, wash, trim, and chop the parsley, the leek tops or scallions, and fresh fenugreek. Chop the herbs. (Soak dried fenugreek in warm water for 15 minutes, then drain and chop.)
5. Sauté the herbs in the remaining oil over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Stir them into the meat and beans and cook, uncovered, at a bare simmer for 30 minutes. Adjust the seasoning with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.
Longtime Herb Companion contributor Carolyn Dille gardens, cooks, and is the author of several cookbooks. She writes in San Jose, California.
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Cooking Persian Food: 6 Herbal Recipes