Aash-e Sholeh Ghalamkar – Hearty beans and rice stew with beef and herbs

آش شله قلمکار

What looks like a soup or a stew, but is neither? It is Aash!

Aash is a slow-cooked Persian dish that combines a variety of beans, grains, sometimes noodles, herbs, spices and meat. Its texture most resembles a thick soup.

Aash is quite versatile and has many variations. It can be a comfort food, but it can also be served “majlesie style” – meaning the kind of meal you’d serve at a fancy dinner party. It can be the main course, or be served in small quantities as part of a family-style spread. Aash has its roots in traditional Iranian holidays such as Nowruz, the Persian New Year.

This version of Aash is quite hearty, and a favorite amongst Iranians. As with most such dishes, it is garnished with caramelized onions and topped with a flavor-packed mint and garlic sauce. Aash is often served with a piece of Persian flatbread, which makes it both satisfying and complete.

While the recipe that follows uses an immersion blender, it is traditional in Iran to use a “Gusht Koob”, which is a wooden implement something like a cross between a potato masher and a meat tenderizer.

To make matters even more interesting, it is also quite common to have a hot bowl of Aash for breakfast!

Aash-e Sholeh Ghalamkar

Hearty beans and rice stew with beef and herbs, topped with caramelized onions and mint sauce
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time2 hrs 15 mins
Soaking time12 hrs
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Persian
Keyword: beans, beef, herbs, stew
Servings: 4
Author: Omid Roustaei, The Caspian Chef

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup mung beans
  • 1/4 cup lentils
  • 1/4 cup chickpeas, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup pinto beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup red kidney beans, soaked overnight
  • 1/4 cup black eyed peas, soaked overnight
  • 1 onion, quartered
  • 1 1/2 pounds beef ribs
  • 1-2 teaspoons salt, divided. Adjust to your taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric, ground
  • 1/2 cup rice
  • 4 pieces green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 cups fresh dill, finely chopped
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh summer savory, finely chopped. Or 2 tablespoons dried savory

Toppings

  • 6 tablespoons olive oil or ghee, divided
  • 2 onions, thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons dried mint, or 4 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves

Instructions

  • Place all the beans in a large pot and add enough water to leave about 3 inches of water over the top of the beans.
  • Bring to a gentle boil and remove any foam that may form on top. Reduce heat, cover and cook for 45 minutes.
  • Add the rice and 1 teaspoon of salt to the beans mixture, and stir.
  • Continue to cook until the beans are soft (about 30 minutes).
  • As soon as the beans have started cooking, place the quartered onion and beef ribs in a separate large pot. Add 1/2 teaspoon of salt, pepper, turmeric and 4 cups of water.
  • Bring to a gentle boil, reduce heat, cover and cook for 60-90 minutes. The meat should be completely tender and falling off the bones.
  • While the beans and the meat are cooking, prepare the topping.
  • In a large frying pan, using 4 tablespoons of olive oil, saute the onions over medium heat for 15-20 minutes until they have turned golden brown. Set aside.
  • To the same pan, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and saute the garlic over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.
  • Add the dried mint and saute for 1 additional minute. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  • One the meat is properly cooked, remove it from the pan, reserving the broth in the pan. Using two forks, shred the meat, roughly chop it, and set aside.
  • Add the green onions and herbs to the pan with the leftover meat broth. Cover and simmer over low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Using an immersion blender, coarsely blend the bean and rice mixture, making sure to retain some of the beans' texture.
  • Add the shredded meat and the herb broth to the beans and stir.
  • Continue to cook the blended Aash over medium-low heat for 10 minutes. Take extra care and stir frequently to prevent the thick Aash from burning and crusting on the bottom.
  • Serve the Aash in a deep serving bowl, garnished with the caramelized onions and the garlic mint sauce.
  • Aash is best served with a slice of Persian flatbread.

Notes

Aash can be made vegan by eliminating the meat altogether.  You can substitute dried mushrooms and vegetable broth for the beef or completely eliminate this step.  Adjust the broth accordingly to create the appropriate texture to resemble a thick soup. 

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