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Khoresht Esfenaj and Aloo (Spinach Stew)

Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour 50 min
Ready in: 2 hour 10 min
Yields: 6 servings


1 large onion, peeled and chopped
6 tablespoons oil (divided)
1½ pounds good quality chuck beef, cut into 1½-inch cubes
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon ground turmeric
3 cups water
2½ pounds (about 12 cups) spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
¾ cup dried Persian Aloo Bukhara or dried plum
4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a 5-quart nonstick pot over medium high heat. Add chopped onions; fry, stirring occasionally, for about 6 to 8 minutes or until golden. Add meat, salt, pepper and turmeric. Cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meat is no longer pink. Add 3 cups water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low. Cover; cook for 1 hour.

While the meat is cooking, add spinach to a large nonstick skillet. Cook, stirring frequently, over high heat for about 8 to 10 minutes or until all the liquid is gone and the spinach is reduced in volume. Add the remaining oil (2 tablespoons), fry for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

Tip: spinach releases a lot of liquid during cooking (12 cups spinach wilts down to 2 cups). Higher cooking temperatures, a larger pan surface, and cooking in batches not to crowd the pan will help speed up the process.

Rinse and drain the Persian Aloo Bokhara or the plums.

When meat is almost cooked, stir in spinach, Persian aloo and 4 tablespoons fresh lemon juice. Cook, covered, over low heat for 30 to 40 minutes or until the meat is cooked. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Serve khoresht esfenaj and aloo (spinach stew) with chelo, polo or kateh (Persian rice). Be careful of the pits.