Filled with fresh herbs and dried limes, this Persian Beef Stew known as Ghormeh Sabzi is something I grew up eating almost every week. The aroma this stewed, herbaceous dish brings to the house is incredible and nourishing in itself, and instantly presences me to family Shabbat dinners.
The beef and beans bring a heartiness, and the herbs and lime bring a unique, unforgettable flavor. Noush-ie-jan!
The word "sabzi" means greens, and we use large quantities of fresh herbs to make this Persian recipe earn it's name: parsley, scallions, fenugreek, and cilantro. Gourmeh sabzi means "fried greens" because we cook the herbs in oil until wilted, similar to how you sautee spinach.
🌟Why you'll love this recipe
🧾Ingredients in this recipe
See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
Dried limes are small limes that get boiled in a salt brine and left to dry until they are hard, and are about the size of a golf ball.
The taste dried limes bring is not comparable to other ingredients, and I would not recommend substituting anything in place of the dried limes.
They are often used in Persian cooking to add a sour flavor to soups and stews. You crack the dried lime to release the aroma and flavor and pop them into whatever you are cooking that needs something a little sour.
I don't actually eat the limes after the dish is cooked. They are there to add flavor during the cooking process.
👩🍳How to Make This Recipe
Serve with steamed basmati rice.
You can find pre-made frozen fried greens aka "ghormeh sabzi" at a Middle-Eastern market in the freezer section. Most people I talk to swear by this shortcut because it takes so much time to prep the herbs in this recipe and most Persian homes eat this dish often. The frozen shortcut also makes it easy to make this dish all year round.
Gourmeh Sabzi freezes very, very well. You can freeze it in a freezer bag, or use a silicone tray. These are the trays I use to freeze my Persian stews, stocks, and more.
Ghormeh sabzi literally translates to "fried greens" and is the name of a popular Iranian stew that uses a large amount of fresh herbs that are sauteed in oil.
Here are my favorite stews other than this ghormeh sabzi, and don't forget to check out all my Persian recipes on the blog.
Ghormeh Sabzi - Persian Herb & Beef Stew with Dried Limes
- 5 bunches Italian parsley large stems removed
- 20 scallions
- 2 bunches cilantro including stems
- 1 bunch fenugreek or 1 tablespoon dried fenugreek leaves
- 2 lb. stew meat cow shoulder, neck, or chuck, 1-1 ½ inch cubes
- 16 oz. can red kidney beans washed and drained
- 5 dried limes cracked open
- 1 onion diced
- 1 lemon juiced
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 4 tablespoon flavorless oil like canola, split into 2+2
- 1 pinch saffron optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Clean and dry the herbs and scallions ingredients. Chop them very small and sautee in 2 tablespoon canola oil for 5-10 minutes on medium-high heat until wilted like sauteed greens. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add the other 2 tablespoons of oil to the pan and cook the onion until translucent over medium-high heat.
- Add the meat. Season with turmeric, salt, and pepper. Cook until just browned on all sides.
- Add 4 cups hot water, the cooked herbs, washed and drained kidney beans, dried limes, and lemon juice. Bring to boil. Simmer for 90 minutes.
- Optional: Before serving, grind and steep the saffron in 1 tablespoon of hot water, add to the stew, and mix.
- Serve with basmati rice.