Abgoosht or Persian Lamb Stew is a must if you are visiting Iran and no way you can miss it in places like the Grand Bazaar. You can find this Persian Lamb Stew in most big gatherings, such as weddings, mournings or Iftars during the Ramadan. These days, this dish is the best occasion for family gatherings.
What is Abgoosht?
Abgoosht is made of two words, “Ab” is Persian for water, and “goosht”, means meat. This dish is also popular as “Dizi“, referring to the traditional stone pot the dish was cooked and served in.
Abgoosht is originally known as one of the oldest Persian peasant dishes. Mainly because people used inexpensive meat pieces along with cheap potatoes, beans, and tomatoes to make it. It was an easy dish to cook, as traditionally people would just mix most ingredients in one big pot, and cooked on low heat for several hours.
How you serve Abgoosht?
Abgoosht is traditionally cooked in stone or clay mono-portion pots. In traditional Abgoosht places in Iran, it’s served in the same pot as it’s cooked in. To eat Abgoosht, you should start by separating the broth, also known as “Tilit”, from the ingredients. Then, you break pieces of bread into the broth and have it like a soup. Next, mash the meat along with beans, potatoes, and tomatoes until you incorporate all flavors together. You would eat a spoon full of the meat mixture with a small piece of bread and have it alongside onions, pickled garlic, and fresh herbs.
People normally enjoy it in the traditional way of sitting on the floor around a “Sofreh”, a table cloth, and it’s common to have Abgoosht with Doogh, a salty yogurt drink.
Different types of Abgoosht-Persian Lamb Stew
Abgoosht has a lot of variations in different parts of Iran. In one version, herbs such as chives, parsley, and fenugreek are added to it. This results in a “green” Abgoosht known as Bozbash. You can have Kashk Abgoosht by adding Kashk to it, a popular stew in northwestern and middle Iran. In Kerman, southeast Iran, it’s quite common to add eggplants to Abgoosht. Keep in mind that these are only a handful of examples of the many ways this dish is made in Iran.
How to prepare it?
You can make Abgoosht-Persian Lamb Stew with very simple ingredients, though it’s important to use enough spices to season it. Any type of meat, such as lamb, beef or mutton can be used. Using lamb is the most traditional Persian way to make this dish. Especially, using lamb neck or lamb shank will make it more delicious. Potatoes, chickpeas, white beans along with tomatoes and spices make a delicious combination of simple ingredients.
Roughly chop the onions, place them in a heavy pot with the meat pieces, garlic, cinnamon stick. Add enough water to cover the top. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook for 1 ½ -2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
Place a colander over a bowl and pour everything in the colander. Separate the meat from the bones. Then, squeeze out all the juice from the onion and garlic, and leave the pits out.
Fry the turmeric in oil along with tomato paste. Add chopped tomatoes, stir frequently for 2-3 minutes until it changes color.
- Adding sundried tomatoes at this point is optional but believe me, they take this dish to another level.
- With my experience, adding 1 tsp of allspice also makes a major difference.
- Tomato paste can also be dissolved in the broth.
Add the cooked meat to the pot along with potatoes, dried lime, chickpeas, beans, broth. Season well with salt and pepper. Cover and cook for an hour over medium-low heat.
Make sure everything is well cooked and all the flavors are incorporated together. To separate the broth from the rest, empty the content of the pot in the colander. Return the broth to the pot and adjust seasoning if needed. Then start to mash all the solids (meat, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes).
Pictures: Shirin Tahanan
Abgoosht | Persian lamb Stew
- 1 lamb neck or 1 lamb shanks
- 2 onions medium
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 1 tbsp turmeric
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 2 can chopped tomatoes
- 3 potatoes Large - peeled & quartered
- 2 dried limes
- 1 can chickpeas rinsed
- 1 can white beans rinsed
- Vegetable Oil
- 1 tbsp allspice optional
- Rough chop the onions. Place them in a heavy pot with meat, garlic, cinnamon stick and add enough water to cover the top.
- Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low and cook it covered for 1 ½ -2 hours, or until the meat is very tender.
- Once done, place a colander over a bowl and pour everything in it. Separate the meat from the bones, and squeeze out all the juice from the onion and garlic and leave the pits out.
- Fry the Turmeric in one tbsp of oil along with tomato paste and then add chopped tomatoes, stir for 2-3 minutes until it changes color. You end up with better colour and richer flavours. *Sundried tomatoes are optional but believe me when I say they take this dish to another level.*With my experience, adding 1 tsp of allspice makes a major difference.*Tomato paste can also be dissolved in the broth.
- Add the cooked meat to the pot along with potatoes, dried lime, chickpeas, beans, broth, season well with salt and pepper. Add a good amount of salt because of the beans and potatoes. Cover and cook for an hour over medium-low heat.
- After everything is cooked and all flavours are incorporated well together, empty the content of the pot in the colander. Separate the broth from the rest of the ingredients. Return the broth to the pot and adjust seasoning if needed. Then start to mash all the solids (meat, beans, potatoes, and tomatoes) with a meat masher.
- The mashed meat and broth are served separately. The broth is eaten first like a soup, Persians enjoy it by putting a few pieces of Persian bread in it. (mostly toasted Sangak). And then the mashed meat is enjoyed with Sabzi Khordan, Salad-Shirazi, and any Type of Torshi especially Liteh.
As a chef I like to personalise most of the dishes I cook, and this recipe would represent my way of cooking this traditional dish.
It may look difficult with a lot of step, but trust me and you won’t regret.