This traditional Persian dish contains full and rustic flavors but it is easy and delicious without too many ingredients.
When it comes to main dishes, there isn’t a diverse range of recipes where celery plays a staring role and combine celery with beef. This recipe is one to add to your reportoire and honestly, it won’t disapoint.
It’s important to follow each step because it can taste very different and dissapoint if you don’t. For example, shallow frying the celery and herbs is essential. Leave that out, and it won’t taste as good. Lemon is also a key ingredient as it gives it it’s zing.
That said, the steps are very easy to follow and there are some tips and tricks that you’ll need to know.
The first thing you want to do is clean the celery. I normally use a brush which is so handy as it cleans all the hard to reach areas and ridges of the celery stalks. Wash the rest of your vegetables and let’s get started with the chopping.
You’ll need to separate the celery stalks from the leaves. The reason for this is that the stalks take longer to shallow fry and you don’t want to burn the leaves. Cut the celery down to about 1cm wide pieces. Chop the celery and parsley leaves but separate them from the stalks.
Place the stalks and leaves to one side, and dice your onion. Add olive oil to your frying pan or skillet and shallow fry the onion.
When the onions are half cooked, add the beef with the turmeric and pepper and cook through. I buy ready diced beef to avoid the process of dicing it. The preparation time estimated does not include dicing beef.
If you are vegan or vegetarian, just leave out the beef. You will need more celery to make up the bulk so use two bunches of celery instead of one.
If you don’t like beef, you can replace it with lamb which is another meat that is commonly used in this dish.
Once cooked, place in your pot, clean your frying pan as you don’t want leftover food to burn.
Add fresh oil to your frying pan and heat up. Shallow fry your celery. You don’t want to overcrowd your pan, so make sure it’s 1 layer of frying at a time. Once the celery is semi translucent, place into the pot.
Now shallow fry the celery and parsley leaves. Mix around and cook for about a minute. Add the mint to the top of heap of celery leaves and parsley, and it will slowly cook. You don’t want to burn the mint.
I use dry mint and it works great but if you’d like to use fresh, that works fine too. No really difference in taste. I know some people prefer fresh produce but for me, keeping my mint in a jar means I have a lot on hand for when I need it, and I don’t have any fresh produce, so would prefer not to have to buy fresh mint every time.
Once the leaves are cooked, place into the pot and add the juice of one lemon. Add about one cup of boiling water and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.
This Iranian celery casserole dish will leave everyone wanting more. Enjoy.
Celery and Beef Casserole
A beef casserole featuring celery and parsley with a hint of tang. You can try it as a vegetarian dish by leaving out the beef but traditionally cooked with beef.
- Frying pan
- 1 kg Diced Beef or Lamb if you prefer
- 1 Lemon
- 1 Bunch Celery
- 1 Bunch Parsley
- 2 tsp Turmeric
- 2 tbsp Dried Mint
- 1 Onion (large) (or 2 small onions)
- Olive oil (for shallow frying)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Dice and shallow fry onions in a frying pan with olive oil until they are semi translucent.
Mix the turmeric and add black pepper into the onions and fry a little longer.
Mix the diced beef into the onion mixture.
When the beef is cooked, add salt to taste.
Remove the onion and beef mixture and place into the pot.
Clean your frying pan as you will need it again and you don't want residual food to burn.
Wash all your vegetables. Now cut the celery into 1cm wide pieces. Separate the celery stalk from the leaves because you will fry these separately.
Finely chop the celery leaves and parsley and place together.
In the newly washed frying pan, add oil and fry the celery stalk pieces first. Ensure you don't crowd the pan. Remove and place into the pot when they are fried enough where they look soft but not burnt.
Now add your leaves to the pan. You can fill the pan with leaves because it will wilt.
Once the leaves are half cooked, add the mint and mix.
Take the leaf mixture out when it's wilted down and place into the pot.
Add the juice of one lemon to the pot.
Add about 1 cup of boiling water to the pot and simmer for about 15 minutes
Add salt and pepper to taste and serve with basmati rice.