|Place of origin:|
|Herbs (parsley, leeks or green onions, cilantro, spinach), dried fenugreek leaves|
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Ghormeh means stewed and sabzi literally means greens that stands for herbs. The main ingredients are a mixture of sauteed herbs, consisting mainly of parsley, leeks or green onions, coriander, and spinach, seasoned with the key spice of "shambalileh" (dried fenugreek) leaves. The herb mixture has many variations; any dark bitter green on hand can be used successfully (kale, mustard greens, turnip greens, etc., all work, although none are part of the original recipe). This mixture is cooked with kidney beans or black-eyed peas, yellow or red onions, black lime (pierced dried limu-Omani Persian lime), and turmeric-seasoned lamb or beef. In recent times, some people have replaced beans with potatoes, which is also not part of the original recipe. The dish is then served with polo (Persian rice) or over "tahdig" (bottom-of-the-pot, the crisp, caramelized layer of the twice-cooked rice).
The history of ghormeh sabzi goes back at least 500 to 1000 years.
Fundamental recipe (meat, vegetable, and bean types vary by region):
- Saute the meat and onions until brown with turmeric and black pepper.
- Saute all greens until wilted.
- Cover with water, add soaked or canned beans, pierced, dried limo-Omani (they are quite hard—perforate thoroughly with a fork), and shambalileh, and salt to taste. Simmer for at least 3 hours up to all day (slow cookers are ideal for this).
It is important to add enough limo-Omani and to simmer it long enough to cut the bitterness of the greens. Ground limo-Omani powder can be used. In the absence of dried limo-Omani (it can be obtained online if a specialty store is not accessible), a large quantity of lemon or lime juice can be used. Completed ghormeh sabzi should be tangy, citrusy, and savory. Inadequate simmer time will not allow the dried limo-Omani to soften and will leave it tasting like bitter boiled greens.
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