I would totally lie to you if I told you that I have always loved Khoresht Karafs. As a child I didn’t, it didn’t do much for me. Then one day during a two year stint as a pesco-vegetarian I decided that it was the easiest thing to convert to a vegetarian meal. I won’t get into the details of it all because you might be horrified if I told you what I substituted the meat for; suffice to say that the results were good and I would do it again need there be. Anyway, I remember calling one of my cousins to ask her for the recipe. She told me how to make it and she advised me to put plenty of onion and mint in it because, well celery doesn’t taste like much and I was not going to use any type of meat in it, so my stew would basically be tasteless. A good ten years later I have figured out a way to make this recipe and it tastes delicious.
There are three simple steps in making this recipe a masterpiece. 1) I have learned that cooking the meat first with water allows it to turn into the broth that the veggies are going to be cooked in later. Basically you are building your first layer of flavor. 2) I don’t like it when celery is overcooked and mushy like. 3) The celery itself should be the star, meaning that you are better off buying your celery at the farmer’s market instead of a grocery store. Simply put they just taste much better, consequently, your dish is going to be much better tasting! While my cousin’s advice to put plenty of onion and mint was good, I think what truly makes this dish is the celery itself.
1 lb of meat
1 head of celery cut in about 2 inches long
1 onion diced
4 cloves garlic minced
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 bunches of mint
1 bunch of parsley
3 dried Persian lemons
2 tsp advieh
1/2 tsp turmeric
5 tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper
Loot at the beauty above, they all came from our local Farmer’s Market in Torrance. Look at the celery, it still has its leaves and this is truly a blessing to anyone who wants to make Khoresht Karafs because the leaves add a whole other layer of delicious flavor.
In a Dutch oven sauté onion, green onions, and garlic in 4 tbsp of oil until translucent. Add meat, in this case I am using lamb, but you can use any type of meat you want, brown a bit and then add turmeric. Give it a few stirs in order for the spice to release its flavors.
Season with salt and pepper, punctuate the dried Persian lemons or give them a light crush, throw them in, add 3 cups of water. Cover and cook for 1 hour.
In the mean time rough chop your herbs
In a separate pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, add celery, and give it a quick sauté
Once your meat is ready add celery to it
Add chopped herbs, advieh, 2 cups of water, and adjust seasoning. Cover and cook on medium for 1 1/2 hours.
Once done your khoresht should look like this and your kitchen should smell heavenly! Place in a dish and serve over rice.
On a last note, this dish falls under gluten-free when served over gluten-free rice.