My Favorite Persian Stew, Ghormeh Sabzi

by Marjan
Celebration of Persian cuisine, healthy eating, and herbs continue! Last week I shared with you my recipe for Khoreshte Karafs, which is a delicious blend of celery, mixed herbs and meat stew. This week, I am excited to share with you another stew of herbs loved by almost every Persian; which includes me! Ghormeh Sabzi is the epidemy of all Persian stews when it comes to robust taste, color, scent, and popularity. Literal translation is stew of herbs, ghormeh sabzi is a classic Persian stew. Parsley, cilantro, scallions and fenugreek boiling within a stew of either lamb or beef shank for hours and topped with dried lime renders the perfect balance of tang, earthiness, and deep robust taste! Red kidney beans adds a brilliant finishing attraction to this dark green stew with seductive velvety bright red color to lure your palate back for a second, third, or fourth serving...Yes, it is delicious!
I will be the first to admit, as much as I love food, I can be a 'food snub'. If i'm going to consume calories, each bite has to be worth it. Especially when it comes to ghormeh sabzi, I can be quit a snob. This popular stew is a staple at most Persian dinner parties. When served, I cannot resist the pungent smell of fenugreek and lime drawing me to a large plate portion. I humbly even consider myself an expert of this sea of herb stew. So who makes the best ghormeh sabzi? Only two people I know, my mother and my dearest friend who I love beyond words, Mahnaz. 
Ask any child from any culture and they will most likely state their mother is the best cook.  With me, this is no exception. I would never dare make ghormeh sabzi for my mother and Mahnaz, since both of them pour their motherly love into this stew which makes it taste fantastic each time. I am so blessed to have two women who make this stew with a mother's passion and care for me. 
Persian cooking is not a measured precise process; experience to make this stew just right is by measuring with eyes and sense of smell. Therefore, it is almost impossible to share most Persian recipes and have them come out exactly the same each time. Hence, it is ironic that both Mahnaz and my mother's ghormeh sabzi tastes exactly the same. How lucky am I? Both these beautiful loving mothers make this stew for me from their heart. They truly spoil me! Since ghormeh sabzi tastes better the following day, they always make enough to last me three to four days. I shamelessly confess I do enjoy my ghormeh sabzi day after day and lick the pot clean! Shocked? Don't be! Of course I do!
Served along fragrant basmati Persian rice topped with saffron, the complexity of this tangy herbaceous stew will make ghormeh sabzi one of your regular cravings, as it is mine. Because once you taste this stew, you will be hooked!
Happy Mother's Day to all Mothers who selflessly cook from their heart to nourish the spirit of all those they love. 
On a personal note, thank you Mahnaz joon and my mother for lavishing me with all the love in the world! Mahnaz joon, thank you for finding a place in your great big heart to love me like your own. You are an inspiring, loving, beautiful women, both inside and out! Dear Mommy, no words from my mouth can express to you my gratitude and love; except to tell you from Rumi "May the dust beneath your feet fall on my lashes!"
I am blessed and lucky to have both of you in my life and to be carried with love within your most beautiful hearts!


Persian stews are a labor of love. It is not meant to be rushed or made in haste. Therefore, patience and time is required to render a stew to please all senses! Set aside 3-4 hours to prepare this delicious stew. Key is using quality, organic produce; washing herbs thoroughly and mincing herbs well. A food processor may be used to mince herbs. However, make sure to not over process as herbs will turn into a paste vs. minced.

Noushe Jan!

Serves 6-8


Ingredients: 2 lbs. lamb or beef shank; ask butcher to cut into 1" cuts with bone (similar to osso bucco)

1 cup red kidney beans, soaked overnight (or use quality organic canned kidney beans; two cups)
1 large yellow onion; finely chopped
4 bunches flat-leafed parsley; rinsed well, air dry and minced fine
2 bunches cilantro; rinsed well, air dry and minced fine
4 scallions (green stems only) or Tare (similar to scallions found in Persian grocery stores); rinsed well, air dry and minced fine
1 tablespoon dried fenugreek 
4-5 dried limes (limoo amani); found in Persian grocery stores 
Lime juice to taste; freshly squeezed
1 teaspoon turmeric
Sea salt and black pepper
Vegetable oil
Boiling Hot Water

Serve with Persian style rice Using a large pot, over medium heat, add 3-4 tablespoons of vegetable oil and sauté onions until golden.  Stir frequently to prevent burned edges to render perfect caramelized onion.  Add turmeric and stir; followed by lamb or beef shank. Slightly 
brown meat on all sides for 5-8 minutes and season with 1 tablespoon both sea salt and pepper. Add 3 cups of hot water, increase heat to high and boil for 5-10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium low and prepare herbs. In a large skillet over medium low heat with 304 tablespoons of vegetable oil, sauté parsley, cilantro and scallions. Stir constantly to not burn delicate herbs until a dark green color is rendered (30-40 minutes). Add herbs to meat stew along with dried limes and place lid to cover and gently boil for

1 1/2 to 2 hours. Add 1 cup of hot water if needed. Water should cover entire meat and stew. Do not add too much water, yet enough to cook meat and herbs. Occasionally, gently stir stew from the bottom as to prevent herbs from settling and burning. If more hot water is needed add 1/4 cup at a time to prevent a watered down stew.

If serving Persian style rice, start preparation before going to the next step.


Meanwhile, rinse kidney beans and bring to boil in a pot of salted (1 teaspoon) hot water until beans are soft but not over cooked; they should be cooked al-dente with bright red color. Add cooked beans to stew 30 minutes prior to serving and continue to simmer. If using canned beans, simply rinse beans and add to stew 30 minutes prior to serving.

Taste stew for more salt and lime juice. Add per taste. Remove and discard shank bones; transfer stew to a deep serving bowl. Serve with Persian rice.
Enjoy your labor of love!

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