This post is a little bit late, but may I wish you all a happy welcome to Spring and a happy Nowruz. The first day of Spring is also the first day of the new year according to Iranian tradition, hence “Nowruz.” Dear Iranian friends first introduced me to the holiday in southern California, and since then we always celebrate it at home. I also celebrate this holiday in my anthropology of food classes where we make our own version of the traditional Haft Seen table, or table of seven S’s that symbolize best wishes for the upcoming new year. It’s a great excuse to get people thinking good thoughts for everyone around them, as well as focusing on the upcoming greenery that is (hopefully) starting to peek out of the dirty snow banks and brown, crinkle grass yards and fields.
If I could pull it off, I would have a massive Persian feast on Nowruz, and in the past I’ve done that using it as an excuse to have friends over to celebrate over good food and new friends. However, as with many things in life with kids (or kid), I’ve scaled things down a bit. At least for this year. If there is ONE dish that I simply must have when this time of year comes around, it is Ghormeh Sabzi or Green Persian Stew. “Ghormeh” in Persian means stew and “Sabzi” is the word for green or in this case green, leafy vegetables. Ghormeh Sabzi is a rich, beef and bean stew with a sauce brimming with slowly simmered, finely chopped Springtime greenery. The slight citrus acidic kick cuts through the richness of the stew itself and ties everything together. Just writing about it makes me want to simmer up another batch, and in fact I might just do that this weekend. Hmmm… We are having guests…
But back to Ghormeh Sabzi… I know that the name is likely rather foreign to many of you, but as we make this transition from frozen, cold whiteness into the chilly freshness of Spring, this is the perfect stew whether the name sounds familiar or not. It bridges both the desire for comforting warmth and the desperate need for all things green and full of life. And frankly, what better time to try something new than a new year, whether or not you start the new year in January or March? I hope that you all have a fantastic Nowruz (new year) and a gorgeous Springtime.
Ghormeh Sabzi (Green Persian Stew)
1 onion, peeled and roughly chopped
2 leeks, split in half lengthwise and well washed
1 bunch cilantro, well washed
2 bunches parsley, well washed
1 lb. beef stew meat
1 tsp. tumeric
3 tsp. salt
1 15 oz. can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
2 c. water
¼ c. lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
- Put the rough chopped onion in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Put the onion in a small bowl and set aside.
- Roughly chop the cleaned leeks and add them to the food processor. Pulse them until chopped finely, then put them in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Add the cilantro and parsley to the food processor and chop finely. Add them to the leek bowl and set aside.
- Pour 1 tbsp. of olive oil into a Dutch oven and heat the pan over medium high. When the oil is hot add the onions and sauté until browned on the edges.
- Add the stew meat to the pan and brown the pieces on all sides.
- Add the turmeric and salt, and stir to combine.
- Add the leeks, cilantro and parsley to the pan, along with the kidney beans, water, and lemon juice. Bring the stew to a simmer and let it bubble away gently for 1 ½ hours. Taste to adjust seasonings.
- Serve over steamed basmati rice. Enjoy!
Click here for a printable version of the Ghormeh Sabzi (Green Persian Stew) recipe.