I decided at the beginning of #svnseas a couple of weeks ago, that I was going to cook at least four dishes a week from the region I was in. However, we have been enjoying Iranian food so much that I have upped the amount of meals to five a week with two nights of leftovers from the previous week. So it's basically all Iranian food all the time right now in our house. My house smells really incredible when you walk in the door...just sayin'.
OK switching topics a little...
Something really wonderful and unexpected happened when I mentioned on Twitter that I was going to be cooking Persian food. Suzanne aka @bklynpuggle, a friend of mine on Twitter said she knew how to cook some Persian dishes because a family member had taught her at one point in her life. I asked her if she had any recipes she would care to share with me and Suzanne started shooting me e-mails for several different dishes. Then she offered to send me some of the specialty ingredients that I was having trouble tracking down. By the end of the week I had received some Persian limes which are used in a lot of the stews as well as some zereshk berries (bayberries), which are a small, tart, red berry used in some of the rice dishes.
So here I was, armed with a slew of recipes and a bunch of specialty ingredients when a thought occurred to me...How cool would it be to have Suzanne do a guest post on my blog? She has a wealth of knowledge on this topic and is more than willing to share her information. I asked her, and am excited to announce that Suzanne will be doing a guest post next week on Persian cooking. If you can't wait to see what she is all about you can check out her blog apuginthekitchen.wordpress.com. In the meantime I thought I'd share the recipes of hers that we've been enjoying this week.
The first thing I made was Khoresh Baadenjaan, which is a Lamb and Eggplant Stew. You can get the recipe for this dish here at Food52 I decided to serve it with Suzanne's recipe for Zereshk Pullow, which is a basmati Rice with Bayberries (those are the zureshk berries she sent me that I mentioned above). This dish is not as strongly spiced as some of the other dishes I made last week, but it is really good. It's a comforting dish and is perfect for this time of year.
The Zereshk Pullow is another variation of the chelow rice dish I did last week. This variation calls for saffron, yogurt, and the zureshk berries. After you make the tah-dig (which ends up being the crusty part) by mixing some saffron infused yogurt, you layer the remaing rice which the berries are mixed into with the remaining yogurt and steam the whole thing for 45 minutes. What you end up with is a creamy, tangy rice with a crusty top. We really enjoyed this rice dish. My husband said he liked it better then the chelow. If you would like to give this recipe a try Suzanne already has it up on her blog and you can get it here. Oh, and before I forget to mention it, I made the smart decision of picking up a non-stick pot to make the rice in, and lookie lookie, the crusty top didn't stick this time!
I also made her recipe for Ghoremeh Sabzi. This is very similar to a khoresh except that it includes a lot of vegetables and herbs it it. The vegetables and the herbs are cooked separately while the meat and beans are being braised and then added with some additional flavorings and allowed to stew together for an additional half hour. This another comforting dish that my family enjoyed a great deal. So much so that I *ahem* forgot to take a picture. I served it with the remaining zereshk pullow from the previous night. With Suzanne's permission I have included the recipe for the sabzi below.
By Suzanne from apuginthekitchen.wordpress.com
- 1 large onion; chopped
- 1 1/2- 2 pounds of lamb stew meat
- 1 teaspoon of turmeric
- 3/4 cup of dried black eyed peas (soak overnight) or use canned
- 4-5 cups of water
- 2 bunches of parsley; chopped
- 2 bunches of spinach; chopped
- 1 tablespoon of dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 dried Persian limes, or the juice of 2 lemons
- salt and pepper to taste
- In a dutch oven heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Saute the onion until it is translucent. Add the lamb and the turmeric. Cook the lamb until it is browned. Once the lamb is browned add the black-eyed peas that have soaked overnight and 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then reduce the heat to low and simmer until the meat and beans are tender 1 1/2-2 hours.
- Meanwhile, heat up a skillet with some more oil (about 1/4 inch). Add in the parsley, spinach, and fenugreek, saute until wilted.
- Once the meat and beans are tender add the sauteed vegetables to the lamb and peas along with the dried limes or lemon juice. Simmer for another 30 minutes. Adjust seasoning. Serve with rice.
*Suzanne's notes: Start out with 4 cups of water. If you notice the liquid getting low add a little more water, you don't want the dish too watery. The beans will absorb some of the water which is why I included the 5 cups, just in case. Also some people put coriander in the stew. I didn't, but if you want to I would add a couple of tablespoons of fresh or a few teaspoons of dried.
*My notes: I did add in the coriander (about 2 teaspoons) and my family enjoyed it that way. I also only needed 4 cups of water and I have a hunch that I could have squeezed by with just 3 1/2. This may vary for you depending on how your range works. The last 30 minutes of cooking I cooked without a lid to allow some of the water to evaporate and the sauce to thicken up.