Abgoosht is the original Persian rustic “one pot meal” that dates back to centuries ago when simple ingredients were gathered and thrown in a pot to accompany tougher cuts of meat that needed to cook for a long time.
Nowadays, with easy access to a wide range of ingredients, this once modest dish has become quite elevated! More vegetables have found their way into this one pot meal, alongside traditional Persian spices. Consequently, each family has developed their own version of Abgoosht.
The core ingredients continue to remain simple and humble. Lamb or beef short ribs or shank are cooked with garbanzo beans and white beans along with onions, potatoes and tomatoes, and infused with garlic and turmeric. Of course, you simply can’t have a Persian stew without a sour element, so many cook their Abgoosht with a few Limu Omani floating around in the pot!
Abgoosht can also be called Dizi, named after the ceramic or stone dish in which it was cooked. It is a true one pot meal that can be consumed in a variety of different ways, the simplest being straight out of the pot just like other stews. It is often served alongside Sabzi Khordan (fresh herbs).
However, after cooking, many Iranians separate the broth from the rest of the ingredients. Sangak bread is then added to the broth, and the broth-soaked bread combination, called Tileet, is eaten on its own as a first course.
The remaining ingredients – the meat, vegetables and beans – are then mashed using a tool called a Goosht Koob, which translates to “meat masher”. Once mashed, the transformed dish is called Kubideh.
Simple: a one pot meal dish with 4 different names! Welcome to the complexity and richness of Persian culture and cuisine!
- 2 lbs beef short ribs or shank
- 1 large onion, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 6-8 cups water, adjust as necessary
- 1 cup garbanzo beans, soaked overnight
- 1 cup great northern or navy beans, soaked overnight
- 1/2 cup wheat berries
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, ground
- 3 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters
- 4 medium tomatoes, quartered
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 whole dried Limu-Omani (Persian dried limes), pierced with a paring knife
- 2 teaspoons salt, adjust as needed
- Place the meat, onions, garlic, water, beans and wheat and turmeric in a large, heavy pot. Bring to a boil, skimming the froth as it forms.
- Cover and gently simmer for 90 minutes over low heat.
- Add the remaining ingredients. Keep covered and continue to simmer for another 45 to 60 minutes over low heat. Check to make sure that the meat, beans and potatoes are fully cooked and tender. Adjust the seasoning as needed.
- Using a colander or slotted spoon remove all the meat, beans and vegetables from the broth, place them in a mixing bowl and set aside.
- Pour the broth into a soup bowl and serve it with pieces of Sangak bread floating in the bowl.
- Debone the meat and mash the meat mixture with a potato masher or a Persian Goosht Koob. This mixture should have the consistency of lumpy mashed potatoes.
- Place the Goosht Kubideh (mashed meat) on a serving platter and serve with a platter of fresh herbs and Sangak bread.