Tas Kabob is the ultimate one-pot comfort food. This dish is as effortless as layering all the ingredients in a pot, covering it, and cooking it until the vegetables have softened and the flavors come together.
There are many traditions behind this dish. Once upon a time this was truly a celebration of the Fall, when root vegetables would be layered in the pot along with either beef or lamb, and cooked until every ingredient had become soft and tender.
In our household, my mom would prepare this dish by layering the onions, potatoes, carrots and tomatoes along with beef or lamb into the pot. She would add no seasonings other than salt, pepper, turmeric, tomato paste and a touch of bitter orange juice. Tas Kabob is a true celebration of simplicity in food preparation that brings out the earthy flavors of the vegetables and the meat.
With that said, there are plenty other traditions and variations in preparing this dish that can integrate a wide range of spices, vegetables and even fruits such as quince.
I have prepared this dish with a medley of seasonably available root vegetables such as turnips, parsnips, rutabaga and celeriac. And for the record, none of these are traditional, but all of them are absolutely acceptable and tasty!
- 2 pounds lamb or beef stew meat, preferably on the bone
- 1 1/2 cups water, divided, adjust as needed
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1/2 cup Ab Narenj, Persian bitter orange juice, or lemon juice. Adjust to your taste
- 2 large onions, 1/2 inch slices
- 6 medium carrots, 1/2 inch rounds
- 3 medium Yukon gold potatoes, 1/2 inch slices
- 6 large tomatoes, 3/4 inch rounds
- 1 teaspoon salt, adjust to your taste
- 1 teaspoon turmeric, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper, ground
- Arrange the pieces of beef or lamb on the bottom of a large pot and add 1 cup of water. Cover and cook over low heat for 1 hour.
- Add another 1/2 cup of water along with the tomato paste and Ab Narenj and mix gently.
- On top of the meat, layer first the onions, then the carrots, then the potatoes and finally the tomatoes.
- Sprinkle the salt, turmeric and pepper evenly over the vegetables and tilt the pan around several times to make sure the added seasonings have been well integrated into the dish.
- Cover and cook on low flame for an additional 1 hour or until all the vegetables have softened.
- This dish is typically on the drier side and there should not be too much broth left behind.
- Gently remove the vegetables and lamb, arrange them in a serving dish, and pour the remaining broth over the vegetables and lamb.
- Tas Kabob can be served with steamed rice or pieces of Persian flat bread.