Although many people declare not liking celery at all, I have not met anyone who has tried this stew and not liked it. It might be the magic of Persian cuisine that very simply transforms a potentially unlikable ingredient into something deliciously appealing.
Iranians mostly make and prefer a green version of this celery stew. Personally, I find the red version easier, more appetizing and more delicious.
So here is the recipe to the celery stew a la Sanam, which is very simple to make and quite satisfying to eat.
- 1 big onion
- 400 g of beef, cut in big pieces
- 800 g of celery (stalks and leaves), chopped in big chunks
- 1 big bunch of fresh parsley, very roughly chopped
- 2 tablespoons of tomato concentrate
- 2 teaspoons of turmeric powder
- salt and pepper
- 2-3 tablespoons of oil
Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a pan. Add celery and parsley together with a little bit of salt and fry for 5 minutes. Take off and set aside for later.
Fry onions in the rest of the oil on medium heat until they are golden brown.
Add meat, a bit of salt and turmeric powder. fry for 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste and continue frying for a couple of minutes while mixing.
Add the previously fried celery/parsley and salt, mix and fry for a minute together.
cover with water (preferably just off the boil) and bring to boil. Lower the heat and simmer for at least an hour and a half or until the meat is cooked well and tender.
I cooked 3 portions of rice with 2 whole cardamom pods, salt, a bit of oil and a pinch of powdered saffron.
You can use chicken instead of beef, if you wish so.
All Iranian stews become better after cooking for longer. So 1 hour and 1/2 is pretty much the minimum cooking time. Cooking the stews on low heat for longer is the best way of making the sauce thicken nicely and the dish becoming more delicious.
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