Ab-goosht

by Marjan

No other food screams true traditional Persian, winter, comfort food better than ab-goosht! Hearty, warm, and rich in flavor, ab-goosht is the perfect stew to enjoy during cold winter days. At my house, this is our favorite winter Sunday lunch. Beans, vegetables, and lamb are the main components of this classic Persian stew.On a beautiful cold, rainy Southern California day, my mother surprised my dad and I with one of our favorite Persian stews.



Ab-goosht is customarily enjoyed with a variety of condiments such as raw onions, pickled vegetables, aged pickled garlic, and fresh herbs such as dill, tarragon, watercress, and green onions. Most Iranians eat this stew with sangak bread; however, pita or lavash bread will do.

My mother, who was raised in the northern section of Iran, enjoys her ab-goosht with rice. Either way, this stew will warm your soul, give you nourishment to endure cold days, and lift your spirits to make the most of your weekend- even if it is to lounge around and have a lazy day!

I hope you are left as satisfied as I feel after having my mother’s ab-goosht. This stew is sure to ‘nourish the soul’ (noushe jan).


Ingredients (serves 4-6)

3 cups garbanzo beans
1 cup cannellini beans
1 cup pinto beans
3 dried limes (limoo amannee-found in Mediterranean markets)
4 lamb shanks
3-4 tablespoons tomato paste
3-4 chopped tomatoes
3 potatoes-medium sized, peeled and halved
1 medium onion-peeled and quartered
½ teaspoon each of salt, cracked black pepper and turmeric
Optional- dash of cinnamon
Optional- 2 garlic cloves minced
6-7 cups of water
Sangak bread- pita or lavash bread if available

One day before cooking, soak all the beans in cold water. Early the morning of enjoying ab-goosht for lunch (or the night before if using a crock-pot) drain and rinse beans and place in a large pot. Add water, dried limes, lamb shank, tomato and paste, potatoes, onion, salt, pepper, and turmeric. If you like, place a dash of cinnamon and bring stew to boil. Bring the heat to medium low, cover and allow stew to simmer for 3-4 hours; occasionally stirring to prevent from settling.

Once the lamb shank is cooked, using a strainer, strain all the liquid from the stew into a separate pot and place over low heat and simmer. If you like a strong garlic flavor, you can add mince garlic to the liquid (this is traditionally prepared in the northern sections of Iran). Otherwise, omit the garlic.

Remove dried lime and shank bone from the dry ingredients and discard or place in liquid portion of stew. Place all remaining dry ingredients (beans, tomatoes, potatoes, onion, and lamb) in a separate pot and mash until all ingredients are well crushed together forming a soft, smooth paste (add some liquid if the consistency is too dry, as it should be velvety).

The liquid portion of this stew is tangy and light; the dry portion of this stew is creamy and hearty. I enjoy having both the dry and liquid portion of the stew in one bowl as I spoon the dry ingredients unto my bread and drizzle the liquid on top to create a smooth tasty blend.

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