Today we’re going to talk a bit about herbs. Cooking herbs! While the photo attached to this post certainly looks like something that’d get you detained in airport security, in reality, it’s a mixture of dried herbs, including parsley, leeks, chives, and fenugreek.
I love these particular sabzi herbs, which is what they’re collectively known as around my place. It’s also a tiny bit cool outside, perhaps one of our last cool days for a while. So I decided to see if I could whip up a treasured Persian stew, ghormeh sabzi, using my slow cooker. Cooking this particular stew on the stovetop can take two or more hours, so finding a shortcut is definitely in order. Some nights you need home-cooked food, not takeout Chinese.
For the record, the dish is also known as khormeh sabzi and Qormeh sabzi. (The transliteration into English from Farsi is what accounts for these variations). There are probably other spellings, too but these are the more commons ones.
Ghormeh sabzi is often called the national dish of Iran. Besides herbs, it’s typically made with chunks of lamb and/or veal. Wikipedia describes it thusly:
The main ingredients are a mixture of sauteed herbs, consisting mainly of parsley, leek, and a smaller amount of fenugreek leaves. The herb mixture has many variations; spinach and coriander may be added. This mixture is cooked with kidney beans, green onions, chives, dried limes, and lamb or veal meat. Traditional Tabrizi Qormeh sabzi is almost always cooked with lamb and uses black-eye beans (Lubia-e-Cheshm-bolboli Persian: لوبیای چشم بلبلی) in place of kidney beans. It is then served with polo (Persian rice).
Some prefer to leave out the fenugreek, while most people consider it to be an essential ingredient. The Shirazi version substitutes potatoes for the beans.
Ghormeh (and gheimeh) may refer to diced meat. Sabzi means green and also describes various green herbs.
Good ghormeh sabzi has layers of flavor. It is not bitter at all. Since this is all an experiment and the final product is many hours away, I’ll report back later. So far I know this much: The hands-on cooking and prep time for the slow cooker version of ghormeh sabzi was about 20 minutes.
Why not post the recipe straight away, you ask? First off, we have to make sure the slow cooker version is worth posting in the first place. I wouldn’t want to steer anyone wrong. So stay tuned.