As we continue to explore international foods that are good for diabetic eating, I am happy to share one of my family’s favorite foods. Persian Fresh Herb Stew, called Gormeh Sabzi (pronounced gor-mae sab-zee), is one of the standout dishes of Persian food culture. When my family comes in the house and smells the aroma of this delicious stew bubbling on the stove, I get a lot of hugs of thanks!
It is a savory stew of beef cubes, red kidney beans, and lots and lots of green herbs, in a brothy soup. Gormeh Sabzi is served over basmati rice, with a side of plain yogurt or Mast-O-Khiar as a condiment.
Like many ethnic foods, Gormeh Sabzi takes an investment of time, with two hours of simmering time needed for the beef cubes to be spoon-tender. But it is mostly passive time, allowing you to do other things while the stew is simmering. The payoff is that this recipe makes 16 servings, and is freezer-friendly, allowing you to cook once and eat multiple times.
In a 5-qt. Dutch oven with a lid, heat 3 TBS. oil, then add the stew meat and brown on all sides, for about 6-7 minutes. Add the onions and stir occasionally, cooking for 5 more minutes until the onions soften and are starting to brown.
Add 6 c. water, turmeric, and black pepper; stir to loosen any brown bits from the bottom. Bring to a simmer, lower the heat and cover, and simmer for 1 hour.
Meanwhile, rinse the kidney beans in a colander, then leave them there to drain.
Prep/chop the cilantro and green onions, and put them in a large mixing bowl. Add the dried parsley and dried fenugreek to the same bowl, and mix well. In a second large saucepan, heat the remaining 3 TBS. oil over medium heat. Add the mixed green herbs, lower the heat, and stir frequently. You want to cook/fry them gently without scorching them. They will become a brighter green and soften a little. Cook them this way for about 5 minutes, then remove from heat.
After the stew meat has simmered for 1 hour, add the sauteed herbs to the main pot. Then add the remaining 4 c. water, kidney beans, dried limes, and salt. Bring to a simmer again, cover and cook for another 45 minutes, until the stew meat is tender. Stir occasionally and try to keep the dried limes intact because they have seeds in them, and you don’t want to break them open and have the seeds in your stew.
We like our Gormeh Sabzi quite brothy, so you can add 1-2 more cups of water to have more broth. Check the seasoning (salt and pepper) and fish out the dried limes and discard them. Serve an 8-oz. portion alone, or with a 1/2-c. serving of rice, and with plain yogurt or Mast-O-Khiar on the side.