Lamb stew with dried limes, vegetables, and borlotti beans (Khoresht-e Gormeh Sabzi)

I can’t believe I haven’t shared this recipe before. It uses the vegetables that are making a come-back after the winter, and is also a good way to use some of the Allium triquetrum leaves as they start to grow. It is a very unusual flavour for western palates, the dried limes and turmeric give the stew a rich flavour. I used the recipe in ‘Nightingales and Roses’ and added the vegetables growing in the garden. I wonder what it would be like with a bit of lovage?

INGREDIENTS

  • 3-4 dried limes (from Persepolis or other online shops)
  • 100g parsley
  • 100g coriander
  • 100g spinach or chard
  • 1 handful of kale tops
  • 1 handful of Allium triquetrum or inner leaves from small leeks
  • olive oil
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 500g lamb (from shoulder or best end of neck) in large pieces. 
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 1 can borlotti beans, drained 

METHOD:

  • Cover the limes in hot water, and weigh them down with a small plate so that they soften over the next couple of hours. 
  • Strip the leaves from the parsley and coriander, and rinse all of the green vegetables, and leave to dry. 
  • Heat 2 tbsp oil in a casserole dish and cook the onions until they are golden.
  • Add the lamb and turmeric and fry until the meat is browned. Add enough stock or water to cover the meat and bring to a slow simmer. Continue to cook on a low heat for an hour. 
  • Use a food processor to chop the green vegetables finely. You’ll need to do this in batches. 
  • Heat 2-3 tbsp oil in a pan and add the chopped vegetables, and cook until they begin to darken. Add the fried vegetables to the stew. 
  • Add the limes to the stew. To enhance the flavour, stab them a few times before putting them in. Braise for another 30 minutes
  • Add the borlotti beans and simmer for another 30 minutes. Check the flavour and add salt to taste. 

We had this with plain rice, and it was phenomenal. The main part of the stew is the beans and vegetables, with lovely tender lamb morsels. 

Red cabbage and cannellini bean stew

I have been experimenting with this stew, and have come up with variations that are vegan, vegetarian or just general. I’ll leave it for you to decide how to go about it.

INGREDIENTS:

  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
  • 25g pancetta, (optional)
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 1 small or half a large red cabbage
  • 2 cans tinned tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chopped rosemary leaves
  • 1/2 tsp chopped sage leaves (optional)
  • 1 can borlotti beans or cannellini beans
  • 1.75 litres of stock (vegetable or beef)

METHOD:

  • In a large pan, heat the olive oil and add the pancetta, onions, garlic, carrots and celery, and fry gently until the vegetables start to brown slightly.
  • Add the cabbage, tomatoes and thyme, stir and cook until the cabbage is tender.
  • Add the stock, the can of beans including liquid, 1 tsp salt and a good amount of black pepper, as well as the other herbs. Cook over a very low heat for two hours, keeping a check to make sure it is not sticking.
  • Once the stew is cooked, check for seasoning, and add extra stock if it seems to need it.

This recipe is based on several others, some of which use Italian black kale, luganega pork sausage, omit the sage, etcetera. Please experiment.