There is nothing less appealing when you are a new mum than spotting a head of celery lingering at the back of the fridge. I had bought it to dice up in a diet salad after being told I was obese at my six-week check – but now it was just there and would have been destined for the bin if my husband H hadn’t intervened.
Being Persian he has taught me over the years to love my greens and he suggested making a dish I had in the past only made from a tin – khoresh karafs. It sounds a lot more exotic than plain old celery stew.
A recipe is a bit like a code that’s really easy when you know, but looks complicated when you first see it. Once you know the code, a recipe becomes as easy as reading a story.
And this is what each recipe is – a story. Each has a beginning when you’re preparing everything, a middle when you have to go from preparing to cooking, and an end when you have the perfect stew for everyone to eat and enjoy.
Khoresh karafs combines celery, lamb, parsley, mint, lime juice and seasoning and is served with rice. The only downside is the length of time it takes to cook to bring out the flavours … roughly about three hours. If you make enough however, leftovers always taste better the next day. Here’s the recipe:
How to make khoresh karafs:
In a large pan, saute the chopped onions (including the salad onions) in vegetable/corn oil over a medium heat until they are translucent. Add the garlic and saute for another 2-3 minutes. Add the turmeric and the meat, stir and brown the meat on all sides. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Transfer to a larger pot and add three cups of water, bring to the boil, reduce the heat, cover and cook for about an hour. In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over a low heat, add the parsley, mint and dill to the pan and fry. Do not let the herbs turn black. Once cooked, set aside.
In a large frying pan, heat 3 tablespoons of oil over a medium heat, saute the celery until golden brown and soft. Add the parsley, mint and dill and celery to the pot with the lamb/beef in it, adjust the seasoning, add more water if necessary, cover and continue cooking for another two hours until the meat has fully cooked.
Add the lime juice towards the end of the cooking. Serve with Persian rice.