Ghormeh Sabzi

Ghormeh Sabzi is a traditional Persian (Iranian) dish to eat with rice. It is a very popular dish  and there are lots of slightly different recipes. Some recipes use fresh herbs and others use dried ones. My version uses dried herbs because the Sweet Mart in Easton sells packs of dried ghormeh sabzi herbs. The blend is made up from fenugreek, parsley, chives and coriander and has a rather pungent aroma. The other main flavouring ingredient is dried whole limes. These can also be found in the Sweet Mart, which is a brilliant shop, as I have said before.

Some recipes use beef, others lamb. Some, like mine, include spinach, and it seems that you can use black-eyed peas as an alternative to red kidney beans. I think that in Iran people use a lot of herbs, probably more than I have used here.

Ingredients

1 piece of lamb neck fillet, cut into small cubes
olive oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 large clove of garlic, crushed and chopped
1 teaspoon turmeric powder
2 dried limes (puncture the skin so the flavour comes out in the cooking)
hot water
salt and pepper to taste
1 tin of red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
a bag of baby spinach
a small bunch of chopped parsley
3 or 4 heaped tablespoons of ghormeh sabzi herbs

Put the herb mixture in a bowl and pour some warm water over it. Mix well and let it stand until the water is absorbed. This releases the herb flavours.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole over a medium flame, add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté for 5-6 minutes. Don’t let them burn. Increase the heat a bit and add the lamb and sauté until lightly coloured on all sides.

Add the turmeric, salt and pepper and mix well. Add the washed spinach and cook covered so that it wilts. Reduce the heat, add some hot water and add the soaked dried herbs and the dried limes. Cover and simmer until the lamb is tender, which should takes about an hour or so, stirring occasionally. Add some more water during cooking if it looks like drying out. You want a slightly wet stew, not a dry thing. Finally, add the kidney beans and the chopped parsley. Stir, taste and adjust the seasoning, if required. Cover the pot and simmer for another 15 minutes. You want the parsley to wilt into the green sauce.

Serve with plain basmati rice to which you have added a large knob of butter while cooking. Hopefully you will have a nice crust on the bottom of the rice.

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