This quince and beef stew is the most popular Persian recipe on my blog for good reason and will please everyone at the dinner table.
You will find this dish in any Persian home, all Persian restaurants, and even at Persian weddings. Every time I make Khoresh e Beh, my kitchen smells incredible and reminds me of home.
Quince & Freezing
A fruit in the apple family, quince can be eaten raw or cooked, but I really don't enjoy eating it raw. It tastes best in stews, in jellies, in quince jam, and in pies.
Quince is harder than apples and pears, so make sure you use a sharp knife to cut into it.
You can core and freeze quince to be able to use it all year round.
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Why this Recipe Works
The flavors in Khoresh e Beh are magic! While the quince and plums add a tart and sweet taste, the pomegranate molasses is what gives the stew a delicious sweet and sour flavor profile.
Simmering the stew over a long period of time produces a tender, juicy texture in the beef and softens the quince while it absorbs all the great flavor.
The stew is usually served with a heaping mound of Persian rice, which serves as the perfect start to accompany the stew.
Ingredients & substitutions
Quince - you can find Quince when it's in season in the fall from September to December.
Onion - Use yellow or white onion.
Beef - I use beef shoulder, neck or chuck roast, with the shoulder and neck as the preference. It becomes tender over the long cook time.
Turmeric - Use powdered turmeric.
Saffron - an optional addition, but adds incredible depth of flavor and aroma... try not to skip this one, if you can!
Pomegranate molasses - If you can't find it, you can buy pomegranate juice, and reduce it down until it is syrupy, ~75%. Pomegranate molasses is not known to be sweet but has an awesome tanginess that is tasty in stews, marinades, with lamb, and even salad dressings.
How to Make This Recipe
Saute the onion in the canola oil over medium-high heat. Add the beef, turmeric, salt, and pepper and saute until just brown on all sides.
Note: Do not over-brown the meat or it will fully cook through at this stage and be dry in the final stew.
Next, add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses, and 3-4 cups water to make sure everything is covered, and bring to a boil. Then, lower the stew to simmer, and add the prunes and quince. Cook the stew for 90 minutes.
To add the saffron just before serving, grind and steep a pinch of saffron in 2 tablespoons of hot water, then add the saffron and water to the stew and stir to mix.
Serve with Persian basmati rice. Noush-ie-jan!
Want to learn more about Persian cuisine and cooking? Here are some great resources I've created to help you!
- Persian Pantry Staples
- Farsi Cooking Terms
- Garm or Sard? Balancing Warm and Cool Foods in Persian Cuisine
- 31+ Traditional Persian Recipes
Quince is only easy to find in the Fall, when it's in season. As this quince stew is a dish I crave often, freezing the quince is a great way to always have them on hand.
Simply quarter, remove the core and freeze in an airtight container. Remove as much air as possible. They keep in the freezer for up to 18 months.
This will be in stock at your local Middle Eastern market or you buy it online. If you can't find it, buy pomegranate juice, and reduce it down until it is syrupy, ~75%, which will work great.
You can find it in certain grocery stores or your local Middle Eastern market. This saffron you can buy online is not the best quality but is unbeatable for the price.
Khoresh e Beh is just one of the amazing Persian recipes you will discover on the blog!
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Khoresh Beh - Persian Quince & Plum Beef Stew
- 2 lbs. stew meat shoulder, chuck, or cow neck, cut into 1 ½ inch cubes
- 1 medium onion chopped or sliced in half moons
- 16 oz tomato sauce
- 3 oz tomato paste
- 1 tablespoon pomegranate molasses
- 3 quinces each cut in 8 wedges (If you can't find quince, you can substitute with granny smith apples. However, do not add the apples until the last 15-20 minutes.)
- ¾ cup prunes
- 2 tablespoon canola oil
- ¼ teaspoon ground turmeric
- 1 pinch saffron ground and steeped in 2 tablespoon hot water
- Salt and pepper
- Sautee the onion in the canola oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the beef, turmeric, salt, and pepper and sautee until brown on all sides.
- Add the tomato sauce, tomato paste, pomegranate molasses and 4 cups water. Bring to boil. Lower to simmer. Add the prunes and quince. Simmer for 90 minutes.
- Optional: Before serving, add the saffron and mix.
- Serve with basmati rice. Noush-ie-jan!
This post was originally published in January of 2017 but was republished with new photos, step-by-step instructions, and tips October of 2019. It was updated in February 2023 with a new 'Why This Recipe Works' section, FAQs, and additional details throughout.