Persian Rice, Pomegranate Khoresh, and Tofu Meatball Stew
Persian Rice with carrots and green beans Rice 1 ⅔ c white basmati rice 8 c water 1 ½ t salt
Tadig (casserole with crusty bottom) 1 T hot water pinch of saffron ½ plain soy or coconut yogurt 2 t Persian 7 spice blend (Baharat*) OR 1 t ground coriander, ½ t ground cumin, ½ t ground cinnamon ¼ t salt 4 T olive oil
3 handfuls spinach, washed & dried ½ lb green beans, cut as you like them 4 carrots, peeled and grated or instead of the vegetables, the recipe called for 3 T chopped pistachios and ¼ c golden raisins
Bringl the 8 c. water to a boil. Soak the saffron in the 1 T of water. Boil the rice for 5 minutes and let it drain.
In a large bowl, combine the saffron water, yogurt, spices, and half the oil. Put some (⅓-½ c.) of the rice mixture aside for the bottom of the pot, then add the spinach, green beans carrots & herbs.
Heat a pot with a good fitting lid with the 2 T of oil. Add the rice with no vegetables to the bottom of the pot, then add the rest of the rice. Tamp the rice down with your spoon, then poke deep holes (to the bottom of the pan) in the rice with a chopstick or spoon handle. spread a clean smooth towel over the top of the pan, then gather the sides and make sure they stay on top of the lid - this is especially important if you have a gas stove...don’t burn the towel!. The towel traps excess moisture and helps the rice form a crust.
Turn the heat down to low and cook for 35-45 minutes. It’s done when it smells richly toasted. Serve from the pan, or turn it out to a platter.
*Baharat recipe: 6 green cardamom pods,inner seeds only (discard pods) 2 T black peppercorns 2 T cumin seeds 1 T coriander seeds 10 cloves 2 t ground cinnamon (I used 2 1” pieces of cinnamon stick) 1 t ground nutmeg or mace (I used nutmeg)
Pomegranate Khoresh (stew) with Walnuts and Root Vegetables from Food of Life by Najmieh Batmanglj
½ lb (3 cups) shelled walnuts + 2 T garnish 5 T oil 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced 2 lbs butternut squash, peeled and cut into 2 inch cubes - or 4 c peeled and cubed beets, quinces, carrots or prunes 4 c pomegranate juice 1 t pomegranate molasses 1 t sea salt ¼ t freshly ground pepper ¼ t turmeric ½ t cinnamon 2 t cardamom ½ t ground saffron dissolved in 1 T rose water 1 t grape molasses or sugar (if pomegranate juice is too sour)
Toast walnuts at 350 for 10 minutes
In a Dutch oven, saute onions until translucent in 2 T of oil. Transfer cooked onions to food processor. Then saute squash or vegetables in the same oil. Or roast squash in a 400 oven for 20 minutes
Meanwhile, in the food processor, grind the onions with the walnuts, add 1 c pomegranate juice, salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, cardamom and saffron rose water. Mix well to create a creamy paste. Add paste and remaining pomegranate juice to Dutch oven and simmer over low heat for 1.5 hours, stirring occasionally.
The stew should be sweet and sour and have the consistency of heavy cream. Adjust by adding pomegranate molasses for sourness or grape molasses or sugar for sweetness. If sauce is too thick, thin with pomegranate juice or water. Just prior to serving, sprinkle with arils of fresh pomegranate and 2 T toasted walnuts
Celery Stew with Tofu Meatballs
1 lb firm tofu, water squeezed out and minced 1 onion peeled & grated 1 t sea salt ½ t freshly ground pepper 1 ½ c ground almonds ¼ c silken tofu 2 T oil 1 T hot curry powder ¼ c bread drumbs 2 T fresh chopped parsley
Sauce: 2 large onions, peeled and thinly sliced 2 cloves garlic, peeled and sliced 1 t salt ½ t fresh ground pepper 1 t turmeric 1 bunch or 8 stalks celery, washed and chopped into 1 inch lengths 2 green chilis, chopped 1 c chopped parsley 1 c cilantro 1 c chopped fresh mint 2 T dried fenugreek leaves 1 T tomato paste 2 large fresh tomatoes, peeled & chopped 1 c fresh unripe grapes, stems removed or canned in brine, drained 1 t maple syrup or agave 2 T fresh lime juice or 1 dried lime
In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs. Knead lightly and with moistened hands shape into hazelnut sized meatballs. Place on sheet pan lined with parchment paper
In a wide skillet, heat 2 T oil over medium heat and carefully add the meatballs, swirl and shake the pan to brown meatballs on all sides, set aside.
In a medium size saute pan, heat 4 T oil and add onions, garlic, celery, chilis salt & pepper Saute for 10 minutes until celery is translucent. Add cilantro, parsley, mint & fenugreek and saute for 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and saute for another minute.
Add the fresh tomatoes unripe grapes, sweenter, lime juice and 1 c water to the pan, bring to a boil, add the meatballs. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 ¼ hours or until the celery is tender.