Khoresh Ghormeh Sabzi & Bottom of the Pot Cookbook Giveaway!

Monday, December 31, 2018

I've written a few times that making Iranian recipes always makes me emotional (the first dish I tried my hand at, this summer's compromise for another year of not being able to go to Iran together), and that's one of the reasons I avoid it. The other (the main reason) is that they're almost always time consuming. If I'm going to devout hours to a recipe, I want it to be perfect and an exact replica of my mother and grandmothers, but because I'm so new to this (with not even an ounce of their talents) and they never followed recipes, it's destined to be a letdown. But thanks to Naz Deravian's new cookbook, Bottom of the Pot, recipes are more approachable and feel closer to home. I made Naz's ghormeh sabzi (fresh herb stew) and tahdig (crunchy rice), and was pleasantly surprised (and proud) of how it turned out. My mom said it's one of the more difficult everyday dishes, and I've had my fair share of bad ones over the years, but this one was so good and easy (once you get past chopping eight bunches of herbs...).

Ghormeh sabzi has a big spot in my heart. First, it's delicious (see memes). There's nothing better than coming home, asking your mom whats for dinner, and finding out it's ghormeh sabzi. It was always my dad's favorite growing up, so we had it often. Like most things from my childhood, I didn't appreciate it then but am over the moon when my mom drops it off for us now. It's also the first dish Brian had an Iranian restaurant. I remember going to Noon o Kabab in December 2010 to introduce B to Persian kababs, but he ordered ghormeh sabzi, and I was so nervous! What if he doesn't like it? Is that a dealbreaker? He loved it, of course (again, who doesn't).

My tahdig (crunchy rice at the bottom of the pot) needs some work, but I'm excited to work on it next year. I want to use my cookbooks more often, and Bottom of the Pot will be getting the most love. To get you cooking Iranian food, too, Naz is giving one reader Bottom of the Pot. You don't have to be familiar with Iranian food to enjoy it — the recipes are approachable and universally delicious. Even if you don't want to cook from it, the stories in it are beautiful and illustrate the beautiful, rich culture well.


For khoresh ghormeh sabzi (fresh herb stew, serves six): 
1/2 cup olive oil, divided (plus more for serving)
1 large yellow onion, diced
Kosher salt 
1.5 lbs stewing meat (beef, veal or lamb), fat trimmed, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 teaspoon ground turmeric 
Ground black pepper 
4 bunches parsley, tough stems trimmed, finely chopped 
2 bunches cilantro, tough stems trimmed, finely chopped 
2 bunches green onions, green parts only, finely chopped 
1/2 bunch fresh fenugreek, leaves only, finely chopped, or 2 tablespoons dried fenugreek 
1 cup dried black-eyed peas, rinsed 
6 limoo Omani, pierced (*I didn't include these)
1/4 teaspoon ground saffron, steeped in 3 tablespoons hot water
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (plus more as needed)

For tahdig (crunchy rice, individual serving): 
1 heaping cup cooked basmati rice 
1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
Tiny sprinkle of ground saffron 
1 tablespoon clarified butter, unsalted butter or olive oil 
Kosher salt 


For ghormeh sabzi:
In a large pot or Dutch oven, heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the onion, and cook, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Sprinkle with a little salt, and reduce the heat to medium. Add the meat, turmeric, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring often, until the meat takes on some color. Add 3 cups hot water and bring to a gentle boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and summer until the meat is tender, about 30 minutes. 

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the remaining 1/4 cup of olive oil over medium heat. Add the parsley, cilantro, green onions, and fenugreek. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant and reduced in volume, about 20 minutes. Add more oil if necessary and take care not to burn the herbs. Sprinkle with a little salt and set aside. 

While the meat summers and the herbs cook, prepare the black-eyed peas. Place the black-eyed peas in a small pot and cover with 2 1/4 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Partially cover and bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and summer for 10 to 15 minutes, until the beans have softened but not completely cooked through. They will finish cooking through in the stew. Set aside. 

Turn the heat under the meat to medium. Add the herb mixture, the beans and their cooking water, the saffron water, the limoo Omani and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and summer for 1 hour. Add the lemon juice and continue simmering until the meat is tender, the beans are cooked through but holding their shape, and al the flavors have fallen in love, 30 minutes to one hour. The longer the stew simmers, the more flavorful it will be. Just keep an eye on the beans, so they keep their shape and don't turn mushy. As the stew simmers, gently press down on the dried limes with the back of a spoon so they release their juices. Repeat this a couple times. Taste as you go. If the stew needs more of a picker, add more lemon juice accordingly.

For tahdig: 
In a small bowl, combine the cooked rice and yogurt. 

Sprinkle the tiniest pinch of saffron, if you like. 

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. As soon as the butter sizzles, sprinkle on a little salt. Spread the rice mixture evenly across the bottom of the pot, packing it down. 

Wrap the lid in a small kitchen towel or a couple of layers of paper towel to catch the condensation. Cover and cook for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium-low to low, and cook for 15-25 minutes. The longer you cook it, the more the tahdig will set. Check at 15 minutes. If it's not as crisp as you like, cook it longer, checking every five minutes. 

The giveaway will close at midnight CT on Friday, January 18. Open to all readers (not just U.S.!). One randomly selected winner will be notified by email. Good luck!!!
(This post was sponsored by Bottom of the Pot. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Make the Most.)

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