Khoresh Na’na Jafari
Vegetarian Mint and Parsley Stew
I always make sure I have a couple of vegetarian options available at our
sofreh—table. The beauty and flexibility of almost all Persian khoresh is that
they can easily turn from a meat-based stew to a flavorful vegetarian one. In
this Mint and Parsley Stew, I trade the meat and cooking time for easy-to-use
frozen artichoke hearts. When in season I also like to add tangy gojeh sabz
—sour green plums (see here). They provide the requisite acidity to the dish
and are a fun and unexpected addition as they bob around the pot. Sour
green plum season graces us but for a brief whisper of a moment in early
spring. The rest of the year I prepare this stew with dried Persian sour golden
prunes called aloo Bokhara. Available at Middle Eastern markets and online,
these tart prunes are also fantastic to snack on. Just be sure to remind
everyone that both the gojeh sabz and the aloo Bokhara have pits. And if
those aren’t an option, just stick with reliable lemon juice. Serve with rice or
another grain of choice.
SERVES 4 TO 6
¼ cup olive oil (plus more as needed)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
3 bunches parsley, tough stems trimmed, finely chopped
2 bunches mint, stems trimmed, finely chopped
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
Ground black pepper
8 sour green plums or 10 sour golden prunes (optional)
1 (14-ounce) package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed
1¾ cups cooked cannellini beans, or 1 (15-ounce) can, drained and rinsed
¼ teaspoon ground saffron, steeped in 2 tablespoons hot water (see here)
¼ cup fresh lemon juice (plus more as needed)
In a medium pot or Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium-high
heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring often, until golden brown, about 8
minutes. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt, reduce the heat to medium, and
add the parsley, mint, turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper.
Add more oil if the pan seems too dry. Cook, stirring often, until fragrant
and reduced in volume, about 5 minutes.
Add 3 cups hot water, the sour green plums (if using) or sour prunes,
artichokes, cannellini beans, saffron water, and 1½ teaspoons salt. If you
are not using the sour green plums, add the lemon juice. If you are using
sour green plums, hold off on the lemon juice and add it as needed later.
Bring to a gentle boil, reduce the heat to low, partially cover, and
simmer until the plums have softened and released their flavor and the
stew has settled in, about 40 minutes. Taste as the stew simmers. Bring it
to life: salt, more water, less water (remove the lid). More lemon juice to
brighten it up, especially if you didn’t use any sour green plums.
MAKE AHEAD: Prepare up to 3 days in advance. Adjust the water and
PREP AHEAD: The onion and fresh herbs (see herb prep, here) can be
chopped up to 1 day in advance and stored in airtight containers in the
fridge. The onion and herb mixture can also be cooked in advance and
stored in the fridge (up to 3 days) or in the freezer (up to 3 months).
Thaw and carry on with the recipe when desired.
PLAN AHEAD: Freeze any leftovers for up to 3 months.
Bottom of the Pot / Naz Deravian