Cooking with herbs and other leafy greens is a delicious and very nutritious way to go. With organic farming making huge waves we are provided an ever-growing selection of fresh, healthy options to for us to cook with. Nutrient rich dishes are growing more and more popular in part due to this increase of awareness and availability. These healthy meals have always been popular in kitchens all over the world, you just have to know where to look. Although you can easily grab all of those great ingredients and throw them into your juicer for a supercharged glass of go-juice, once in a while it’s nice to site down and savour your health food.
Ghormeh Sabzi is a traditional Iranian stew that embodies health on many levels. If there ever was a super food, this has got to be one of them. It has been around for well over five hundred years and it’s a real favorite of mine. I always feel great after eating it. This dish is usually served with polow which is a specifically prepared long grain rice. This Persian-style rice takes a lot more work but is most definitely worth the effort. When making polow there is a crust of golden brown rice that forms at the bottom of the pot called tahdig. This highly-prized, crispy treat is usually dished up for special guests since it is in short supply and considered very special. This succulent stew also can easily be made as a vegan dish by simply leaving out the meat, adding potatoes, or adding anything you like.
Make the recipe your own and enjoy the slow methodical preparation because that’s healthy too. Be well!
1 1/2 pound of stew beef, lamb, goat or potatoes, cut into 2 inch cubes
1 whole leek washed and sliced very thinly (you can trim the brown part from outer leaves)
1 large Spanish onion, diced 1/4 inch
1 tablespoon ground tumeric
2 bunches green onions sliced thinly
2 cups spinach, kale, collards or mustard greens, sliced thinly (darker the green the better)
3/4 cups chopped flat leaf parsley
1 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1/4 cup fenugreek leaves, finely chopped (these are available in many international markets, can be substituted with a sache filled with 1 TBL fenugreek seed)
4 dried persian limes (found in most international markets, although you can add a little extra lemon juice to taste if you can’t find them)
1 lemon, juiced
5 tablespoons olive oil
2 cups pre-soaked/cooked kidney beans (canned is okay but add them toward the end)
Water to cover
Kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
If you are starting with dry beans, soak them the night before in a large container with plenty of cool water and follow the recipe included or use your own, just be sure to strain and rinse them. You will also want to drain and rinse canned beans if using them.
In a large soup pot over medium-high heat cook the onions and tumeric in about two tablespoons of olive oil stirring frequently until the onions are softened and translucent, 3-5 minutes. Add your meat to the pan and brown briefly on all sides, you are not trying to cook them all the way through. Remove from heat while you prepare the herbs for the pot.
In a large deep skillet, once again over medium high heat, cook your spinach, green onions, parsley, leeks, fenugreek leaves and cilantro in 3 tablespoons of olive oil until they are dark brown, stirring constantly as to not burn or scorch them.
Add your herb/green, leafy vegetable mixture into your soup pot with the onions and beef mixture and stir until combined. Add water to barely cover, kosher salt, and black pepper and bring to a simmer. Cooked covered for 1 hour or until all the greens and beef are tender. Add in your Persian limes/lemon juice (be sure to stir them in well and force them down into the pot) and kidney beans.
Cook for another 30-45 minutes or until all of your ingredient are tender. Remove Persian limes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve with polow.
Polow (Persian style rice)
3 cups basmati or long-grain rice
2-3 tablespoons cooking oil
Wash rice twice and soak in salted warm water for 3-4 hours, then drain the water. Fill a large non-stick pot half-full of water and bring it to a boil. Add rice and a teaspoon of salt and continue boiling until rice slightly softens. Pour rice into a mesh strainer and wash it with slightly warm water.
Add one tablespoon of cooking oil into the pan and roll it around to coat the bottom, add rice. Pour the second tablespoon of oil over rice. Cover the pan and cook over low heat for about half an hour. If cooking time is increased, a delicious crispy layer of rice (called ta-dig) will form at the bottom of the pan.
2 cups pinto or red beans (soaked overnight, rinsed and sorted)
1 bay leaf
5 cups water (vegetable stock if desired)
In a Dutch oven, add beans, 5 cups of water, a pinch of Kosher salt and bring to a boil over high heat then reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook covered for about an hour stirring occasionally until the beans are tender. If the liquid level gets low you should add about a cup of hot water and bring back up to a simmer, making sure there is about a 1/4 inch of liquid above the level of the beans at all times. Once the beans are tender you can strain and rinse them with cold water and set aside until you are ready to add them to your stew.
Stay healthy with some great events currently listed on Brown Paper Tickets!
Saturday, January 25th | Yummy: Zel Allen – Nut Gormet – Pasadena, California Zel is the author of two cookbooks, Vegan for the Holidays, featuring recipes for holiday celebrations from Thanksgiving through New Year’s Day and The Nut Gourmet, a vegan cookbook featuring 150 unique, totally nutty recipes. She’s also the co-publisher of Vegetarians in Paradise, an online monthly vegan magazine, operating for 14-plus years.
Thursday, February 27th | Button up with the incredible power of CANCER prevention with Lisa Wilson – Fairfield, Connecticut Lisa Wilson, the founder of The Raw Food Institute, certified health, nutrition and wellness counselor and certified fitness trainer: “As a national speaker, writer, consultant, business owner, health, nutrition and wellness counselor, fitness trainer, and mom to three kids, I love my job because on a daily basis I guide people to a state of abundant health… with food! I can help you learn the art and science of living well.”
Monday, January 27th | Fermentation for Winter with Nishanga Bliss – San Francisco, California The art of fermentation preserves and enhances foods and flavors of the season. Learn to create ferments for winter, with deep flavors that support health in cooler weather, like root and radish kimchi, miso pickles and warming chutney.
Wednesday, January 29th | Navigating the Affordable Care Act – Irvine, California The passing of the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act will bring drastic and widespread changes to healthcare as we know it. Judy Heald, Vice President of Employee Benefits and Certified Healthcare Reform Specialist will navigate you through the several changes that employers will be facing once the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented.
Image courtesy of Boston.com.