Every week, we’re spotlighting a different food blogger who’s shaking up the blogosphere with tempting recipes and knockout photography. Below, Azita Mehran of Turmeric & Saffron shares a slow-cooked stew of beef and celery that gets an aromatic boost from turmeric and fresh mint.
Beef and Celery Stew (Khoresh Karafs)
Serves 4 to 6
Beef and celery stew (khoresh karafs) is a healthy, delicious Iranian dish. It’s a combination of meat, sliced celery, finely chopped parsley, a little bit of mint (preferably fresh), fresh squeezed lime juice, and the right amount of seasoning.
In my opinion, what makes Iranian food tasty—especially for most of the casseroles and stews (khoreshes)—is the slow cooking process that lets the food simmer. It brings out the flavors, or as we say in Iran, ja bioft. These dishes will be fully cooked in 1 1/2 to 2 hours, but it is better to cook them on the lowest heat setting for an additional hour, at least. Most of us Iranians agree that the next day, khoresh leftovers usually taste better. So, you may want to plan ahead for your next meal and cook in advance.
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
6 Tbsp. vegetable oil, divided
2 large cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1 lb. boneless stew meat (beef or lamb), washed, cut into cubes, and patted dry
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 head of celery, washed, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 bunches fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh mint, finely chopped or 2-3 tablespoons dried mint
2-3 tablespoons lime/lemon juice (can be adjusted to your liking)
Cooked rice, for serving
In a large pot, sauté chopped onions in 3 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until they are light golden-brown, 10 to 15 minutes. Add garlic and sauté for an additional 2-3 minutes.
Add turmeric and meat, stir, and brown the meat on all sides. Season with salt and pepper.
Add 2-3 cups of water to cover meat by 2 inches, bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, cover pot, and simmer.
In a large frying pan, heat 2-3 tablespoons of oil over medium-high heat, sauté celery until soft, add parsley and mint, stir well, and sauté for another 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add sautéed vegetables to the pot, adjust seasoning, add more water if necessary to cover by an inch, cover pot, and continue cooking for another hour and a half, or until the meat is fully cooked and fork-tender. Season with citrus juice, salt, and pepper, to taste.
Serve with rice and salad.
More stories about Iranian blogger Azita Mehran:
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