Khoresh Bamieh- Beef and Okra Stew

Okra is one of the few vegetables available at the farmer’s market in August here, and I’m always looking for new ways to cook okra other than frying it. Thankfully it’s really inexpensive right now, so trying new recipes is fairly risk-free.

My daughter’s best friend and her family are from Iran, and she had this dish at their home and immediately came home and requested it. It took several phone calls back and forth to get the recipe and for my daughter to make sure I was making it just like Mr. Hamid! We love Persian food, and there are a few recipes I make regularly, but I had no idea there were Persian okra recipes. “Khoresh” means stew so there are countless kinds of khoresh, but each is a unique combination of vegetables and seasoning.

Khoresh Bamieh- Beef and Okra Stew

This preparation is different from any I’ve ever made before- the okra are left whole. I was surprised at the difference in texture, the “sliminess” that cooked okra can sometimes have was completely gone. You only trim off the hard stem, the “cap” is left whole.

1 lb stew beef, cut into small pieces and patted dry
2 tbl olive oil
1 heaping tsp ground turmeric
1 heaping tsp salt
2 leeks, washed and diced, or 1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
3 large tomatoes, diced small
1 tbl tomato paste
1-2 c water
1 lb whole fresh okra, well washed and the hard stem trimmed off
2 lemons
salt & pepper

Heat a large dutch oven over medium-high heat, dry. Add half of the beef and don’t stir until the pieces have some good browning. Brown on each side, remove to a bowl, then brown the other half of the beef. Only add oil if the beef begins to stick. Turn the heat down to medium. Add the oil, turmeric, salt, leeks, and garlic. Fry everything until the leeks are soft and just starting to color. Add the beef and stir until the beef is coated in the turmeric mixture. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and stir, adding just enough water to bring the level of liquid almost over the meat and vegetables. Bring everything to a boil, then cover with a tight-fitting lid, turn the heat down to low, and let simmer for an hour.

After an hour, pick up the lid, add the whole okra and the juice of one lemon, stir well, and put the lid back on. Cook for another 15-20 minutes, until the okra is soft but not mushy. Taste and adjust salt & pepper. Serve with steamed rice, yogurt, and lemon wedges.

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