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Karafs khoresh

So, since I posted my favourite things to cook I’ve had a few requests for the recipe for my dad’s version of Karafs Khoresh. This is one of my favourite meals – definitely make the “Jewishified” version by adding the prunes, they make the dish! (p.s. the notes are not mine, I’ve pasted this directly from my dad’s email)

Karafs Khoresh

1/4 cup olive oil

3 onions, peeled and thinly sliced

1.5 kg. lamb, with bone

3 cups water

11/2 tsp. turmeric and black pepper

1 tsp. salt

8 large, leafy stalks of celery

1 cup of fresh lime (or 1/4 cup lemon juice with 2 tbsps lime pickle or 2 t limoo amoni)

2 tbsps sugar

1/4 cup  chopped fresh mint leaves or 1 tbsp dried mint leaves (I added about a cup of fresh basil, sage, rosemary and thyme to the last one I made… highly recommended)

2 tbsp tomato paste (I prefer to use about a cup and a half of the salad farm matboucha which is a tomato, pepper and chilli salad)

1/2 teaspoon salt

Optional Jewish addition 12 prunes, covered with water for an hour (also highly recommended)

I prefer to slow cook and increase the cooking times substantially.

Method: Trim excess fat off lamb then, within the constraints imposed by the bones, cut lamb into bite-sized cubes. Brown onions and then lamb and bones in olive oil, add 1/2 turmeric and black pepper to the meat. When brown, transfer them to the casserole. Pour the water into the skillet and bring to a boil, scraping in any brown particles clinging to the bottom or sides of the pan. Stir in half of the salt and remaining turmeric and pepper. Set skillet aside. Bring casserole to a boil, reduce heat to low and simmer, tightly covered, for 1 ½ to 2 hours.

Wash celery, trim off root ends and scrape heavy strings from the back of each stalk. Chop leaves finely (1 cup of chopped leaves, or supplement with parsley/spinach). Cut the stalks crosswise into 3-inch pieces, then lengthwise into strips about 1/4 inch wide.

Brown strips of celery and 1/2 remaining salt. Stirring frequently, cook until they begin to turn delicate brown, about 10 minutes. Set aside.

In same skillet,add remaining oil, heat, & add celery leaves, parsley, mint, & remaining salt. Stir-fry over moderate heat for 3 mins. Add, with the celery, to the casserole. Stir in lemon/lime juice and sugar, tomato paste and prunes, cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. Taste for seasoning.

Best served with Chelo. (prepare 4 servings of white rice. Melt 2 Tbsps. of butter in oven, in a pan with a lid. Add 1 Tbs. of water to the butter, and heap the rice into the pan, mounding it into a roughly conical shape, but not so high that you can’t put the lid on the pan. Drizzle 2 Tbsps. melted butter over the mound, then cover the pan. Cook for 15 minutes over medium heat, then reduce heat and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes). This gives you buttery rice with a crispy, golden crust–an Iranian specialty.


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