Photograph by Gentl and Hyers Food Styling by Maggie Ruggiero Prop Styling by Kim Ficaro


Ghormeh Sabzi “Black Hole” Stew

Mains from Issue 8 – Winter 2016 – Origin

Black holes are invisible to our eyes because their gravitational pull is so forceful that no light is able to escape from their clutches. Our similarly blackened stew, an herby Iranian Ghormeh Sabzi by New York-based chef and senior food editor Andy Baraghani, is dark in appearance, with a profound depth of heady flavor.

serves 6

  • 6 Tbsp canola oil, divided
  • 2 medium yellow onions, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ lb boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch pieces, patted dry
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 1 ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ cup dried kidney beans, soaked in cold water overnight, drained or 1 15-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed and drained*
  • 6 whole limu-omani (dried Persian limes), pierced (available at Middle Eastern markets)
  • 4 cups finely chopped flat-leaf parsley (from about 5 large bunches)
  • 1 cup finely chopped garlic chives or ¼ cup finely chopped chives
  • ¼ cup finely chopped cilantro
  • 2 Tbsp dried fenugreek leaves (available at Middle Eastern markets)
  • basmati rice or lavash for serving

  • 1

    In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed pot, heat 3 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until golden, 6 to 8 minutes. Increase heat to medium-high, add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat begins to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Add turmeric and season with 1 tsp salt and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in the beans, 5 cups water, and the limes, then bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

  • 2

    Meanwhile, in a large wide skillet, heat the remaining 3 Tbsp oil over medium heat. Add herbs, fresh and dried, and cook, stirring frequently, until herbs have wilted and released their liquid, 10 minutes. Season with remaining ½ tsp salt and continue to stir, making sure not to burn herbs, until mixture is aromatic and pan is almost dry, another 10 to 15 minutes.

  • 3

    Add herbs to stew and simmer, leaving lid slightly ajar, for 2¼ to 3 hours, stirring occasionally and pressing on the dried limes to release the liquid they have absorbed, until the meat and beans are tender. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt. Discard limes before serving.

    *If using canned beans, stir in the beans in the last 10 minutes.