Khoresh-e-Karafs: Roshanak’s Persian Celery Stew

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Fresh green herbs and celery dictate the flavor of this dish.  As Roshanak has shown me, the main focus of many Persian stews like Khoresh-e-Karaks and Ghormeh Sabzi are the herbs rather than the meat.  Here, find a head of celery with as many leafy greens as possible.  Use as many of the celery leaves as you can get your hands on.  The parsley gives the dish its earthy flavor and the mint some wildness and dimension.  It can however turn the dish bitter if used in excess so stick to the 3 to 1 ratio of parsley to mint and add celery leaves as needed.  Khoresh-e-Karafs is well worth the labor and gets even better the following day.


Serving Size: 4-6 People

Ingredients

2 lbs. beef, lamb or veal stew meat
1 head celery including leafy celery greens, cut into ½ inch pcs., (greens set aside)
3 large bunches parsley
1 small bunch mint
Canola oil, as needed
1 medium onion, chopped
½ tsp. turmeric
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper, to taste
Freshly squeezed lime juice, to taste

Serve with steamed white basmati rice*

Instructions

1. Remove the stems from celery leaves, parsley, and mint.  Wash and dry the herbs separately in a salad spinner.  You should have about 15 cups of parsley, 5 cups mint and however many celery leaves came off your bunch.

2. Using a 3 to 1 ratio, grab 3 parts parsley, 1 part mint and any celery leaves you’ve managed to find.  In batches, chop the herbs very, very finely in a food processor.

3. Transfer to a dry skillet and cook over low heat for about 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until all the moisture and liquid from the herbs evaporates.

4. Add a thin film of oil to the pan and sauté herbs for about 7-8 minutes.

5. Heat a separate heavy bottomed pot over medium heat.  Add the remaining oil and sauté the chopped onion for 7-8 min or until golden.  Next, add the turmeric, meat & black pepper and sauté for 10 minutes or until brown on all sides.

6. Add the celery stalks to the herbs and sauté for 5 minutes.

7. Add 4 cups of cold water to the herbs, bring to a boil, then add that to the meat and onion.  Season with salt. Turn the heat to low and let it cook for 1 ½ - 2 hours*, covered until fork tender.  Season to taste with freshly squeezed lime juice, salt and pepper.

8. Serve with steamed basmati rice.

Cook's Notes

*Quality basmati rice may be purchased in Indian, Asian, and Middle Eastern markets or purchased online at www.kalustyans.com
**You may also cook the stew in a 350 degree oven for the same period of time.