The inspiration for this post came last Tuesday while I was at the Farmers Market going from stand to stand shopping and brainstorming what to make for MPK. Then I saw the gorgeous and leafy head of celery below.
Initially I thought to myself, well I already have a regular Khoreshteh Karafs and a Vegetarian Khoreshteh Karafs, so I better keep on going. I couldn’t get the celery out of my head; it simply begged to be made into a delicious celery stew. Then all of a sudden I knew exactly what I was going to do with it.
We have to go back a few years here, I would say probably a good decade. I was invited over to a Persian friend’s house who when invited me announced that his mom was making Khoreshteh Karafs which was a must have. I got all excited because by then I already had fallen deeply in love with this stew. On my way there I hoped that his mother made her stew the way I like it, with plenty of mint. I just could not wait!
I walked in the door and the whole house smelled delicious and the smell of the stew flirted with our noses as we chatted while the food cooked. Dinner was finally ready to be served and we all sat around the table hungry, and eagerly waited for the stew to make it to the table. When the stew was finally placed on the table I nearly fainted…not only there was no mint in sight, but the stew’s juice was RED. WHAT??!!
Come to find out there are two versions of Khoreshteh Karafs and the second version and I had just come head to head. Admittedly, it was delicious, but not nearly as delicious as “my” version! Another different element in this stew was that chicken was used instead of beef, which makes it healthier.
Going back to the big and gorgeous head of celery. Mine was big enough to make khoresht that is perfect for 6 people. If you don’t come across one that is as big and leafy as the one pictured, then you may want to use about a head and half.
12 chicken drumsticks
1 large onion
5 cloves garlic
1 tsp turmeric
3 dried Persian limes
1 large head of celery including leaves
1 tbsp Advieh
3 tbsp tomato paste
salt & pepper
My personal rule of thumb is to use two pieces of chicken, drumstick or thigh, per person. Also, I prefer to remove the skin from the chicken. You can use any part of the chicken you wish. First saute onion and garlic until translucent. Add turmeric and give it a couple of stirs. Then season chicken with salt and pepper and drop in the pot. Saute lightly on all sides.
Add 1 1/2 cups of water and lightly crushed Persian limes. Cover and cook on medium low for 1/2 hour.
In the mean time chop the celery and leaves and lightly saute in some oil in a frying pan with a touch of salt.
Add advieh and tomato paste to the chicken and give it a stir to blend in flavors. Adjust seasoning if needed.
Add the celery to the pot, cover and cook for 1 hour on medium low. I like my celery to stay intact and not all mushy. You can cook the stew for half hour to an hour longer if you prefer for your celery to be completely soft.
Serve over Chelow, Persian rice.
This is pretty much it. Not very hard to make and very yummy!