Khoresh Karafs – Celery and beef stew with fresh herbs

Khoresh Karafs, a popular stew in Persian cuisine is remarkably flavorful with very few ingredients. Celery is sauteed on its own to enhance its flavor, then combined with herbs, beef, and Limu Omani which brings magic to this dish!

Celery, oh celery! Let’s face it, celery probably isn’t the kind of vegetable that makes you jump up and down with excitement. So bear with me as I try to convince you that this dish is not your average celery stick dipped in ranch sauce, like an edible spoon. Celery has a unique flavor that seems like it’s always best paired with something else: ranch dressing, nut butter, hummus, or various dips.

To make matters worse, celery seems to be an obligatory ingredient in those ever-so-popular smoothies, perhaps to compensate for the sugar content in your “healthy” smoothie!

Not only did I not like celery growing up, I never really enjoyed it much as an adult – until I went to cooking school! There we learned how to treat this vegetable properly and make it shine on its own or be a complementary ingredient in a dish. Add it to salads for a beautiful crunch, or cook it and transform it into a cream soup.

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Celery and beef stew

Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef
This tangy celery and beef stew is slowly simmered in an herbal sauce to create a unique and flavorful dish.
4.92 from 60 votes
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs 15 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 35 mins
Course khoresh, Main Course
Cuisine Iranian, Persian
Servings 4

Ingredients
  

  • 8 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
  • 1 pound beef, cut into 1.5 inch pieces
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1 bunch celery, about 8-10 celery sticks, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 3 cups finely chopped fresh parsley, about 5 bunches, most of the stems removed
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1 tablespoon dry mint
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 3 whole Limu Omani, Persian dried limes, poked with a knife

Instructions
 

  • Heat 4 tablespoons of olive oil in a large pot and saute the onions on medium heat for about 10 minutes.
  • Add the turmeric and toss it around for a couple of minutes before adding the beef pieces. Continue to stir over medium heat for about 5 minutes until the meat has picked up some color and no longer looks raw.
  • Add water, bring to a gentle simmer, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  • While the beef is simmering, in a large frying pan add the remaining 4 tablespoons of the olive oil and saute the celery pieces over medium heat for 15 minutes.
  • Once celery has slightly softened and picked up some color, add the chopped fresh parsley and mint and saute for an additional 10 minutes to remove some of the moisture and enhance the flavor of the herbs. Add the dried mint, stir it into the mixture and remove from the heat.
  • After the beef has cooked for 30 minutes, add the salt, pepper, Limu Omani, sauteed herbs, and celery. Cover and continue to cook for 60-75 minutes over low heat.
  • The stew should be fragrant with the herbs and dried lime, and the meat and celery tender.
  • Serve with Persian saffron basmati rice and a side of plain yogurt or Maast-khiar (yogurt, cucumber, mint and rose petals).

Notes

Limu Omani is a dried Persian lime that offers an incredibly unique tang, flavor and aroma to this dish.  It can be purchased from Persian or Middle Eastern markets, or online. 
Can also substitute 1/2 cup of fresh lime juice for the dried limes. 
 
 
Keyword beef, Celery, herbs, karafs, khoresh karafs, stew, whole30
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5 Comments Add yours

  1. JooJoo says:

    Hi Chef Omid,
    How much liquid is supposed to be left at the finish of this recipe for : Celery and Beef Stew/Khoresht Karafs to make it an ideal consistency?
    I know some advise to add some ‘flour’ or ‘corn starch’ to thicken and prevent the separation of contents from juices and have better presentation. Do you advise this? If so, how much?
    thanks,
    JooJoo

    1. Hi Joojoo, I personally don’t add any flour or starches to my Persian stews, but you can if you would like to. The stew should be reasonably dense and not watery and the herbs well integrated into the sauce. If you find your stew to be watery, you might want to increase the flame a touch, remove the lid and cook it for a few minutes longer to reduce the excess liquid. You can reference the pictures on the blog post to get some idea of how much liquid should be left in the stew.

  2. JooJoo says:

    How many cups of sauce would you say you have at the finish of this stew? Please quantify your response for better reference.

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