The genius of Persian cooking is that it is instinctive. Most of our recipes can be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt due to differing subtleties and flavours of spices and seasoning. Everything is done to taste and it takes practice and instinct to get it just right. The beauty of this dish specifically is that it is so versatile. For my vegetarian and vegan friends and followers you can omit the meat and switch the vegetables round to your liking. Just keep the core spicing and water content the same and you can’t go far wrong.
We Persian’s call a stew a Khoresht. Although a Khoresht for me is so much more than a bowl full of stew. It is a fusion of sweet and salty. It has the ability, when you lift off the lid for the first time, to transport you to a souk or bazaar in the Middle East. The smell of all the roasted spices, the beautiful colours and the wonderful delicate flavours of a Persian Khoresht really reflect the country itself & make these pots of heaven some of my favourite comfort foods.
The garnishing and decoration is equally as important as the core dish. The pistachios and pomegranate jewels used to garnish most dishes, not only add beauty but also texture, and contribute to the sweet and bitter contrasts that is renowned in Persian food. A marriage of opposites that when bought together creates something quite magical.
Are they a quick fix? No. Certainly not. The secret ingredient to good Persian food is time and lots of it! They take a lot of time and preparation but the end result is always worth it. They make you feel warm and cosy when eating them! And with all this chilly weather, we all need a little bowl of pick me up don’t we…..
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My Little Lamb & Apple Khorest
1 tbsp Olive oil
2 Large white sliced onions
500gm diced leg of lamb
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and sliced
400gm tomato pasatta
1tsp ground saffron with a pinch of sugar dissolved in 1 tsp hot water
1 tbsp pomegranet molasses
3 omani limes, pierced
1 apple , cored and sliced
1 white potatoes, peeled and sliced into rounds
2 carrots, peeled and sliced
1/2 butternut squash, peeled sliced and fried off
1 cup of dried apricots
2 heaped tsp advieh
1 tsp turmeric
2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground black pepper
Pre heat oven to 160′ (fan assisted)
Fry off the onions until clear, add the spices to the pan and fry off for 1 minute.
Add the lamb chunks and brown off. Add to the tagine pot along with the vegetables.
Pour the passatta, molasses and 1/2 cup of water into the pan with the spices and heat until it comes to a boil. Pour over the meat and vegetable. Add the saffron liquid to the top and place the tagine lid on top.
Cook for 3 hours. Serve in the middle of the table with forks, chunks of bread and good company! Noooooshe Jaan!