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Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Lamb Shank1 (Medium)

I like lamb shanks, so long as they 1) don’t smell and 2) they are not dry.  I was inspired to make lamb shank because a couple of months ago I had Baghali Polow from Shayan Market in Torrance and that’s what the polow came with. This was my very first try and I had no idea how to go about it.  I consulted a few cookbooks and  the Internet and found nothing that inspired me.  I searched deep within  my own bank of culinary knowledge and consulted with The Sous Chef, who didn’t have any knowledge on how to go about preparing lamb shank either.

Determined to make a go at it, I entered the kitchen and began “Lamb Shank Mission.”  I say mission because I  wanted to make sure that the meat would not be tough yet flavorful, yet not too flavorful to overpower the delicate polow.  I was rather impressed with myself with the results.  Ladies and Gentlemen, children of all ages, this experiment came out better than my wildest expectations.

So here is my way of making Lamb Shank, it is a bit labor intensive, but well worth all the steps. 🙂

Ingredients

4 lamb shanks, about 3lb

1 large onion

10 garlic cloves, crushed

4 carrots

3 dried Persian Limes

olive oil

salt & pepper

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Wash and pat dry lamb shanks. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

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Place lamb shanks in a dutch oven and brown for a few minutes on each side to seal in flavor.

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I know what you are thinking right now, why did she pick a small dutch oven? I have no idea.  I do have a bigger one that I love, but I guess habit took over. The one that you see in these picture is my most trusted and loved item to cook with it. If asked what I would take with me on a deserted island, my answer would be our orange dutch oven.  I also realized that you might think that we love the color orange around here. All three of our dutch ovens are orange and as you can see one of our cutting boards is also orange.  I swear, it is all a coincidence. I, as a matter of fact, do not like orange. This set of cutting boards came in various colors one of them being the one you see in these pictures. It was decided that because it was a color not well liked, it would be the designated board upon which meat and fish are cut in our house. Now, back to the recipe.

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Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper and then flip them over to brown the opposite side.

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In the mean time, crush garlic cloves. Cut onion and carrots.  If you have celery on hand, you might want to add that to the mix. It is actually great for flavoring. I didn’t have any.  PS.  please note the white cutting board used to cut non-meat stuff. I know, we are a bit anal sanitary! Bear with me.

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Remove lamb shanks from dutch oven and place aside. Add a bit of oil to the pot and add veggies.  Saute for a few minutes until onion turns translucent. You are essentially doing all the necessary steps for a braise.

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Give Persian Limes a little crush and add to the veggies.  Place lamb shanks on top. Cover with 2 cups of water and season with some salt to give the broth some flavor.  Cover the dutch oven.

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Preheat oven to 350 degrees and cook for 2 hours. Half way through move the pieces around making sure that the parts exposed don’t dry up.

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This is how it should look once it come comes out of the oven two hours later.  The level of the liquid should have decreased into a delicious juice flavored by the veggies and the meat should be tender.

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Yum! Look at that delicious and juicy lamb shank! When serving with Baghali Polow you might want to pour some of the meat juice over the rice for extra flavor.  You won’t be sorry, I promise!

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Koofteh Berenj 1 (Medium)

Some call them Koftah, others call them Keftah, but we, Persians, call them Koofteh! Today’s  recipe indeed is for Koofteh Berenji, which is meatballs with rice and split peas. These are seriously yummy and were enjoyed in our house for quite a few days!

It was fun experimenting with recipes where I could use the abundance of  Gojeh Sabz that I had sitting in my fridge. To be exact this is the second recipe that I made during my cooking marathon along  Khoresht Gojeh Sabz.

These take a little bit of time as far as preparation goes, but they are well worth it!

Ingredients

1lb of ground meat ~ I used extra lean 15%

2 large onions, one graded and the other sliced length wise

1/2 cup of split peas

3/4 cup of rice

1 bunch of parsley

1/2 bunch of dill

1 bunch of green onions

2 branches of tarragon

2 eggs

3 cloves of garlic, diced

1 tsp turmeric

3 tsp advieh

2 tbsp tomato paste

3 cups of broth or 3 bouillon

1 cup of gojeh sabz

salt & pepper

Let’s get started!

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First things first: wash split peas and rice, add 2 cups of water, a dash of salt and cook for 30 minutes.

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Clean and wash the herbs. Notice that fresh tarragon is missing here. My local Persian store was all out. I was rather disappointed because tarragon happens to be one of my favorite herbs.  But have no fears, I have a substitute coming right up! Also chop the green onions and place them aside.

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I am partially clever and partially lazy so I thought I could use our food processor to grade the onion. Frankly speaking  I was not in a mood to shed some tears.  Somehow grading onions is our food processor is not a good option.  After seeing the results I might have used two explicit words to unload some of the frustration I felt after the failed attempt. Anyway, I don’t care how you do it, just grade your onion please.

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Then throw in the herbs and pulse a couple of times for a nice chop chop.  The smell of the chopped herbs should make its way up to your nose any minute now! By the way, this is a nice and quick way to chop a large amount of herbs together.  I love the food processor for precisely this reason. It might fail its purpose for grading onions, but he is my bestest friend when it comes to chopping herbs, and grading cheese, to think of it!

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Once the rice and split peas are done, place them in a colander to drain the juices. Save the juice as it will be used as part of the broth.  You should be left with about 1 cup of water.

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Now gather all of the following ingredients as seen in the picture: rice, split peas, graded onion, chopped herbs, ground beef, advieh, and eggs.  You will be mixing all these ingredients together in a bowl. If you are going to use a mixer like I did, once again, clever/lazy way, I have found that it is best to beat the eggs and advieh in a small separate bowl first.  Regardless of whether you are making this in a bowl or mixer, I have found that it is much easier to first combine the herbs, spices, seasoning, with the egg, and then once these are nicely incorporated add the meat.

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So moving right along, place the eggs and chopped herbs in the mixer.  Add some salt and pepper to taste.

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Give it a nice mix so that they are incorporated.

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Add the green onions. Remember how I said that I didn’t have fresh tarragon? Add 1 tbsp of dry tarragon. It is not the same as fresh, but it will do. Give it a mix.

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Then add the ground beef, split peas, and rice.

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Mix for about 5 minutes, starting on a slow speed and gradually going higher. If you are overzealous, like I can sometimes be, and go to a fast speed right away, then you will find your counter to mirror mine, where things just flew everywhere.

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While you are mixing, stop half way through to scrape down the sides of the bowl. Also you might want to scrape the bottom of the bowl as sometimes things just stick to the bottom.  Once your mixture is nicely incorporated, make the meatballs, about the  size of a small orange.  I don’t have a picture of this process as I was home alone and it is a bit hard to make meatballs and photograph yourself at the same time. 🙂

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Sauté the onion and garlic in oil until translucent.

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This is an extra step that I did because I didn’t have broth and used 3 bouillon.  Place 3 cups of water and 3 bouillons in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Add the 2 tbsp of tomato paste and mix until both the paste and bouillons are dissolved.  One thing that is very important to do is dissolve the tomato paste in either warm water or warm broth.  This is something that I learned from my grandma and it is seem to be universal in Persian cooking.

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Place the broth with tomato paste along with the rice and peas broth over the onions.  Check the seasoning of your broth now and make sure that it is just right.  Add gojeh sabz and slowly place each  meatball in the pot.

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I should have used a bigger pot, I know! but anyway, partially cover and cook for one hour on medium heat.  In the mean time make sure that you baste the meatballs that are exposed on top or gently turned them over half way through.  Uncover the pot and cook for another half hour.

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I would totally lie to you if I told you that I have always loved Khoresht Karafs.  As a child I didn’t,  it didn’t do much for me.  Then one day during a two year stint as a pesco-vegetarian I decided that it was the easiest thing to convert to a vegetarian meal. I won’t get into the details of it all because you might be horrified if I told you what I substituted the meat for; suffice to say that the results were good and I would do it again need there be. Anyway, I remember calling one of my cousins to ask her for the recipe.  She told me how to make it and she advised me to put plenty of onion and mint in it because, well celery doesn’t taste like much and I was not going to use any type of meat in it, so my stew would basically be tasteless.   A good ten years later I have figured out a way to make this recipe and it tastes delicious.

There are three simple steps in making this recipe a masterpiece. 1) I have learned that  cooking the meat first with water allows it to turn into the broth that the veggies are going to be cooked in later. Basically you are building your first layer of flavor. 2) I don’t like it when celery is overcooked and mushy like.  3) The celery itself should be the star, meaning that you are better off buying your celery at the farmer’s market instead of a grocery store.  Simply put they just taste much better,  consequently,  your dish is going to be much better tasting! While my cousin’s advice to put plenty of onion and mint was good, I think what truly makes this dish is the celery itself.

Ingredients

1 lb of meat

1 head of celery cut in about 2 inches long

1 onion diced

4 cloves  garlic minced

1 bunch  green onions, chopped

2 bunches  of mint

1 bunch  of parsley

3 dried Persian lemons

2 tsp advieh

1/2 tsp turmeric

5 tbsp olive oil

salt & pepper

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Loot at the beauty above, they all came from our local Farmer’s Market in Torrance.  Look at the celery, it still has its leaves and this is truly a blessing to anyone who wants to make Khoresht Karafs because the leaves add a whole other layer of delicious flavor.

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In a Dutch oven sauté onion, green onions, and garlic in 4 tbsp of oil until translucent.  Add meat, in this case I am using lamb, but you can use any type of meat you want, brown a bit and then add turmeric. Give it a few stirs in order for the spice to release its flavors.

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Season with salt and pepper, punctuate the dried Persian lemons or give them a light crush, throw them in, add 3 cups of water.  Cover and cook for 1 hour.

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In the mean time rough chop your herbs

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In a separate pan add 1 tbsp of olive oil, add celery, and give it a quick sauté

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Once your meat is ready add celery to it

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Add chopped herbs, advieh, 2 cups of water, and adjust seasoning.  Cover and cook on medium for 1 1/2 hours.

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Once done your khoresht should look like this and your kitchen should smell heavenly! Place in a dish and serve over rice.

On a last note, this dish falls under gluten-free when served over gluten-free rice.  🙂

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The first dish that I would like to talk about is by far one of my most favorites: Khoresht Ghaimeh. This is a delicious blend of meat, split peas, tomatoes, and spices topped with French Fries.  Not only this dish is really good, it is also a very easy one to make.  What I also love about this dish is the simplicity of the ingredients and how well they go together.  I have made this recipe a few times a it has been a hit with our guests.

Without any further ado here is the recipe:

1 lb of meat – this can be any kind you may like, during this cooking demo I used lamb

2 medium onions diced

4 cloves of garlic minced

3 Persian Lemons

2 cans (14.5oz) of stewed tomatoes diced

1/2 cup of split peas

1 tbls of tomato paste

4 tbsp of olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

2 tsp advieh

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 cup of French Fries

Let’s start cooking now!

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Warm a Dutch-oven on medium flame and once hot add oil. Make sure that the oil is well distributed and then add onion and garlic

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Cook onion and garlic until translucent. In my opinion this is a very important step because you are allowing the the onion and garlic to release their inner goodness. Persians call this step “taft”

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Throw in the meat and let it brown for a few moments. This is an important step because you are sealing in the meat flavor

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Once the meat has been browned add the turmeric. Look at the color, so vibrant! Give it all a few stirs allowing for the turmeric to release its flavor once it hits the oil and heat.

Now also add the Persian Lemons, add 5 cups of water, throw in some salt and pepper for seasoning, cover and cook for 1 hour. During this step you are essentially making your own meat broth for this stew.

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Add tomato cans, split peas, tomato paste, and advieh. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

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While your stew cooks give it a stir every so often to make sure that the bottom does not stick. Also adjust for seasoning as you cook. One thing is sure though, by now your kitchen smells heavenly!

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About 15 minutes before you are planning to serve your food cook the French Fries. Now, you can totally be ambitious and make your own French Fries from scratch. More power to you if you do. Your other option is to buy a bag of frozen French Fries and go to town with it. I like to bake mine which always come out very good.

Take a cookie sheet and spray it with some olive oil and place French Fries on top –you might want to add a few extra than necessary because you will be tempted to take a few and eat them! Bake at 400 ° for about 7 minutes on each side.  Take out of the oven and sprinkle with salt.

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Once the Khoresht is done place it in a serving bowl and top with French Fries. Serve over rice.

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