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.
Celery and beef stew
- 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 fresh parsley, finely chopped (most of the stems removed)
- 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon dry mint
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
- 3 whole Limu Omani, poked with a knife, (Persian dried limes)
- 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).