Thursday, January 24, 2008
Khoresht Karafs: Iranian Celery Lamb Stew
So my mother has been pretty disappointed that in all my excitement about food and different cuisines I have yet to master classic Iranian dishes (I'm 100% Iranian after all...). Because I'm on winter break with no class or work, its the perfect time to work on learning to actually make the foods I've eaten over and over again with delight throughout my life.
If you wanted to be simplistic and divide classic Iranian dishes into two categories they would be Khoresht and Khorak. Khoresht is a stew-like creation that is always served with rice. Khorak simply means any food that is served on its own, without rice. Khoresht tends to be slow-cooked a little more labor intensive. This particular khoresht, karafs, includes tons of celery and parsley, a little mint, and lamb. The recipe is rather easy, and I find it quite delicious.
1 bunch/head celery, sliced (without leaves and ends) in 3/4" pieces
2 bunches parsley, stems removed, rinsed and very finely chopped
1 onion, chopped
1/2-1 lb lamb (depending on how much meat you like), cut into 1" cubes
1 tbsp dried mint
water (or stock, if you prefer)
salt & pepper
Add the celery to a pan on medium-high heat and let them sweat (without oil) until any/all juices released is evaporated. Once it has been sufficiently cooked and browned and is tender, put it aside. To the warm pan on medium heat, add the chopped onion and sauté. Add 2 tbsp oil to the onions and when the onions are somewhat browned, add the lamb, up the heat to high, and cover.
In a different pan on medium heat, sauté the chopped parsley and dried mint. After about 10 minutes, the parsley should have wilted somewhat, add 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp dried onions, 1 tbsp dried mint. Mix and let cook for another 2 minutes.
When the lamb is browned add the celery and wilted parsley mixture to the lamb, add enough water to almost cover the ingredients, 3 tbsp lemon juice and let sit on low heat for 2 hours.
After two hours, add salt and pepper and taste (add more lemon juice if you like). The consistency should be something like this: