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Braised Lamb Stew (Fresh-Herb Khoresh)

This traditional Persian stew of lamb, kidney beans, and onions, is flavored with turmeric, saffron, coriander and Persian limes.

  • Servings: 10

Source: Martha Stewart Living, January 2002


  • 6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 4 pounds boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 1 tablespoon coarse salt
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
  • 2 teaspoons ground turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground saffron, dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water
  • 6 whole dried Persian limes, pierced
  • 1 cup dried kidney beans
  • 4 cups water
  • 6 cups finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 cups finely chopped garlic chives or scallions
  • 2 cups finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground fenugreek
  • 4 tablespoons dried Persian lime powder or 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice


  1. Heat 4 tablespoons olive oil in a medium stockpot over medium heat. Add lamb, onions, and garlic, and cook, stirring occasionally, until meat is no longer pink and onions are softened, about 20 minutes. Add salt, pepper, turmeric, saffron water, whole dried Persian limes, and kidney beans; cook a few minutes more. Add the water. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer over low heat, stirring occasionally.

  2. Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-low heat. Add chopped parsley, chives, coriander, and fenugreek. Cook, stirring frequently, until they are wilted, about 10 minutes. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil, and cook, stirring constantly, until the herbs are very fragrant, about 10 minutes more.

  3. Add sauteed herbs and lime powder to lamb mixture. Cover; simmer until meat and beans are tender, about 2 1/2 hours. Uncover stew, and cook until beans are very tender, and stew has thickened slightly. Adjust seasoning if necessary, and serve hot.

Cook's Notes

The stew can be made without dried limes or lime powder; just use the 1/2 cup lime juice called for as a substitute for the powder.

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