Ghormeh Sabzi with Saffron Rice

We used to get this at a Persian Restaurant in Chicago. It’s crave-ably delicious. This green (and healthy) spinach and kidney bean stew calls for almost a cup each of 3 fresh herbs, cilantro, dill and parsley, along with ground fenugreek, gram masala, and fresh lemon zest and lemon juice. It’s so fragrant and aromatic. I love Ghormeh Sabzi!  You can make this with meat too, browning it in the first step, but the kidney beans have plenty of protein for one meal, so I always make the vegetarian version.

This is my favorite vegetarian dish. If you decide to make this greens stew, and you don’t already have ground fenugreek or garam masala in your spice cabinet, you get to go exotic spice shopping! Yum, I love shopping for spices. It’s fun to take the tops off of new spice jars, inhale the beautiful aromas and get inspired to cook.

For the Ghormeh Sabzi: Wash and slice one large leek in half. Rinse the layers to remove any sandy grit.  Chop the leek and saute in a few tblsp olive oil in a large skillet over med/low heat. Add 1 small onion, chopped. Season with salt and pepper.  Let the leeks & onion soften and carmelize for a few minutes. Add 3 or 4 minced garlic cloves. Wash, stem and chop ¾ cup Italian parsley, ¾ cup fresh cilantro, ¾ cup fresh dill (or 2 tblsp dried dill), and a large bag of organic baby spinach to the stew  pan with about 1 cup of broth, water or stockand a can of rinsed and drained  kidney beans

Season with the zest and juice of 1 whole lemon. salt and pepper, ½ tsp turmeric, ½ tsp garam masala, and 2 tsp ground fenugreek.  Cook covered, over low heat.  Simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the greens are cooked, the liquid is absorbed and all the flavors come together. Serve over saffron  rice.

For the saffron rice, cook rinsed Basmati rice in vegetable broth or chicken stock, with salt and pepper. Add saffron strands at the very end when there’s still a little broth at the bottom of the pot. Cover and let steam. Fluff with a fork. Your rice will take on beautiful orange and golden yellow hues, and will become infused with a light lemony saffron taste. I usually always make my rice this way, it’s the best. 



Poor me. No rain, so we had to do a little swimming & napping. I’m with a friend who also seems to have an endless supply of Persian food, British tarts and cute animals to play with. Rough over here💙

The entire city of Houston feels silly for having cancelled their plans because of the “tropical storm” that was headed our way. I, for one, am enjoying our little rain day!

Ghormeh sabzi

This is a traditional and very popular dish in Iran, served when family members return home after being away. Some people consider it Iran’s national dish. It is also traditional on the Ramadan table, when everyone gathers for Eftar (the evening meal that breaks each daylong fast). This version, served with rice, is offered at Shiraz Cuisine in Watertown, the year-old Persian restaurant owned by Parisa and Moe Anbardar.

½ pound fresh spinach, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh dill, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh Italian parsley, stemmed and coarsely chopped
1 bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed and coarsely chopped
4 leeks, thinly sliced
1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced
4 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 pound beef or lamb stew meat, cut into cubes
Salt and black pepper, to taste
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Generous pinch crushed red pepper
4 dried lemons or 1 tablespoon dried lemon powder (available at Middle Eastern markets)
4 cups water
1 can (15 ounces) cannelloni beans
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice (optional)

1. In a large flameproof casserole, combine the spinach, dill, parsley, cilantro, leeks, and scallions. Cook, stirring constantly, over high heat until the excess water evaporates. (There is no oil added at this point.)

2. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil. Cook, stirring often, for 15 minutes or until the vegetables start to brown. Remove the pot from the heat. With a rubber spatula, remove the mixture from the pan and transfer to a bowl.

3. Wipe out the pan. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons oil and when it is hot, add the meat, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until it starts to brown. Add the onions, turmeric, and red pepper. Continue cooking, stirring often, for 8 minutes or until softened.

4. With a knife, poke a hole in each of the dried lemons and add them or the powdered lemon to the pot. Add 3 cups of the water and bring to a boil. Let the mixture bubble gently, partially covered, for 15 minutes.

6. Add the spinach mixture, turn the heat to medium-low, and cook, partially covered, for 1 hour. Add the remaining cup of water if the pan seems dry. Stir in the beans and continue cooking for 30 to 60 minutes or until the meat is tender when pierced with a skewer (total cooking time is 1 ½ to 2 hours). Remove the dried lemons from the pot.

7. Taste the mixture for seasoning. Add more salt, red pepper, or the lemon juice, if you like. Adapted from Shiraz Cuisine

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Serves 4.