The first Persian dish I fell in love with was Qormeh Sabzi – a vibrant green stew of herbs with kidney beans and served with or without meat. I have posted both beef and chicken versions before. But now that I am in Portland, we have access to local fresh greens all winter. The kale has been particularly sweet, so I decided to amp up the nutrient value of the stew with kale.
Hands down, it was a great addition. My husband is always very skeptical with any change I make to traditional dishes, but he is learning that some change is good. He could not discern a difference in flavor, nor texture. When good kale is available, it will now be a regular addition to our stew.
I have to admit that I was also going to try adding a very PNW (Pacific Northwest) item – stinging nettles – to the stew. It is also high in nutrients and has a flavor similar to spinach. But one has to be very careful handling it before it is cooked, it has nasty stingers on the stems and underside of the leaves. With all the care I was taking, it still stung my hand THROUGH the bag. The swelling and pain lasted two days! My husband and son protested that they would not eat anything with stinging nettles in it. So the bag still sits in my fridge, I do think it would work fine and blend right in, but at least for now, we will not find out.
Qormeh Sabzi – with Kale
Green Vegetables (makes double what is needed, freeze the extra)
3 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 bunches leeks, chopped
4 bunches scallions, chopped (green and some of the white part)
2 – 3 bunches of parsley, chopped (from the garden)
1 large bunch kale
4 Tbsp dried fenugreek
1 cup dried kidney beans
1Tbsp vegetable oil
2 chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 -3 cloves garlic, chunks or minced
1 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp turmeric
1/2 cup water
Prepared saffron (1/4 tsp saffron ground with salt, 1 Tbsp hot water added)
3 dried limes
Prepare the green vegetables
Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the vegetables and saute until well wilted, about 10 minutes.
Set aside. Half can be frozen for later use.
Prepare the Stew
Soak the dried kidney beans in 2 – 3 cups hot water for 1 hour, changing water every now and then.
Make the prepared saffron.
In a pot over medium heat, add the oil, chicken, onion, garlic, cinnamon, turmeric, pepper and water. Cook, covered, for 20 minutes.
Add the vegetables and cook about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. The greens should get dark.
Add the prepared saffron, the beans and their water, and about 1 quart more water. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook several hours (t least 2, but more is better).
Meanwhile, poke holes in 2 – 3 dried limes, soak in water (not hot water). Add limes with about 1 hour to go.
Add salt & lemon juice to taste. Serve with rice. Enjoy!!
Serves 4 – 6.