I could have not possibly written about Iranian winters spent under a Korsi and not mentioned one of the most beloved winter dishes Ab-goosht, which literally translated means meat water. I have very fond memories of sitting under the Korsi and eating Ab-goosht while outside it snowed. There are a few different ways in which this dish is spelled: Ab-goosht, Abgoosht, or Abgousht. Some also refer to this dish as Dizi after the traditional dish in which it is made. There are two components to this dish one being a soup or broth and the other a paste made with the ingredients that the meat is cooked with. This is a delicious meal even though appearance wise it might not be too pleasing to the eye. But once you have taken a sip of the soup and a bite of the pureed meat, you will see why every Iranian loves ab-goosht.
This dish by all means is not meant to be fancy, in fact, it is what people refer to as peasant food. But to me is nothing short of spectacular and delicious. I stopped by one of my local Persian grocery stores, Shayan International Market, last week to see if they had a Goosht Koob, a meat masher. I was fortunate to pick up the very last one left! Mr. Vafakhah rang me up and looked at the masher and then looked at me and asked:
“Who are you planning on beating up with this?”
The smarty pants that I am I could not contain myself, especially after seeing the twinkle in his eye as he asked, I promptly replied:
We had ourselves a good laugh and got talking about Ab-goosht and since I had been asking around what type of meat people use for their abgoosht he ended up walking me to butcher section of the store and personally helped me pick the perfect cut of meat for this recipe. As I was standing waiting for my meat a lovely lady, Mrs. Borj, joined in our conversation after I inquired what type of meat she uses. The nature of my concern was frankly the smell of lamb. She gave me a very good advice as far as cooking lamb goes. She said to make sure to skim the foam created by the lamb as it cooks.
Now onto the recipe! There are a few variations to this dish and today’s recipe is the first and most simplistic form of it.
2 lamb shanks
4 lamb necks
2 medium onions
1/2 cup chickpeas, soaked over night
1/2 cup white beans, soaked over night
1 tsp turmeric
2 Persian limes
2 tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp cinnamon
salt & pepper
Wash and pat dry meat. Season with salt and pepper.
Rough chop onions and place in a heavy pot.
Add meat on top.
Make a hole in the Persian Limes and add to the pot along with the beans. Add turmeric, cinnamon, and 9 cups of water. Cover and cook on medium for 2 hours. If you forgot to soak your beans overnight see this tutorial on How to Quick Soak Beans.
During this time period make sure to check the pot and remove any foam that might surface. I was fortunate there was no foam on mine.
Add tomato paste and mix well. Then add fresh tomatoes.
Add potatoes and adjust seasoning. You will need a good amount of salt due to the beans and potatoes. Cover and cook everything for another hour.
Once done, place a colander over a bowl. Remove meat and place in colander. Separate meat from the bones and discard bones. Some like to remove the morrow from the bones and add it to the soup or meat. Up to you if you want to do that or not!
Empty the content of the pot in the colander.
Return the broth to the pot and adjust seasoning if needed. With the meat masher mash meat, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes.
This is how your end product should look like once the solids have been mashed. Taste for seasoning and add more if needed.
The mashed meat and soup are served separately.
The soup is eaten first. To kick up the soup a notch many put a few pieces of Persian bread in it. It’s simply divine!
The mashed meat is enjoyed with Sabzi, Persian herbs, fresh lime, and bread.
I have to confess that the Sous Chef didn’t particularly care for this dish. I secretly rejoiced because this meant that I was going to have the leftovers all to myself! I enjoyed every bite of it!!!