Another Lesson in Persian Cooking: Khoresht Karafs (Celery Stew)


A long, long time ago, I had my first lesson in Persian cooking when I learned to make Ghormeh Sabzi in a crock pot (IN A CROCK POT, you guys!).

Recently, I had my second lesson. This time I learned how to make Khoresht Karafs, which I affectionately call Celery Stew. It's one of my all-time favorites, and it's so easy to make! At first, I was going to make it in a crock pot, but it's so fast and easy that it made more sense to do it on the stove.

Like just about any Persian dish, this should be served with rice. I gave a rice overview in my Ghormeh Sabzi post, but I'm also hoping to to a dedicated post with a couple ways to make Persian rice. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, back to the celery stew...

  • 2 packs of celery (about 2lbs) -- I hear Costco's celery is great because it's already cut and cleaned. I vote you use that, if you can. 
  • 2/3 oz of fresh mint
  • Juice of 2-3 lemons
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 shallot (or onion would work)
  • A heaping spoonful of beef base - optional 
  • A few dried lemons (depending on your taste) - optional
  • 2lbs boneless beef 

I want to preface this by saying since my mom and I made this together, a lot of things were happening simultaneously. I tried to order things as best I could, so hopefully it makes sense!

  1. Remove parsley and mint stems and place in a colander. Set it aside for now. 
  2. Wash your celery (unless you got the fancy clean Costco kind) and cut off the ends if they're too dirty to save. Cut off the leafy bits at the top and add them to the colander of greens you set aside. 
  3. Rinse, then drain, the greens. Blend them in a food processor and set aside. 
  4. Cut the celery into 1-inch pieces and set them aside in a bowl for now. 
  5. Chop the shallot (or onion) and set aside. 
  6. Cut your meet into cubes (or buy pre-cubed meat). Brown it on both sides over medium heat in a pan with a little oil, salt and pepper. (Do it in batches so you don't overcrowd the pan.) Once you're done, set it aside for now. 
  7. Take your celery and put it in a large pot with water and cook it over medium heat (covered) until it comes to a boil. Take the celery out of the water and set it aside. 
  8. Add the browned meat to the pot of water (the same water you cooked the celery in). Add in the greens, the shallot, the dried lemons and the beef base, and let this cook over medium heat for about 45 minutes to 1 hour. 
  9. Add the celery back to the pot and add the lemon juice. Let this cook at medium for 15 more minutes. 
You may need to adjust the cook times based on the strength of your stove. Use your judgement. 

That's it! If you made too much, you can freeze some of it for another time, too.  

Enjoy! :) 

Want another Persian recipe? Learn how to make Ghormeh Sabzi in a Crock Pot! 

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