In this pressure cooker khoresht karafs, the tougher cuts of meat become tender and succulent and the cooking time is reduced by at least one hour depending on your pressure cooker.
I have a very simple and easy to use pressure cooker that I love. All I do is lock the lid in place and put it on the stovetop. The lid won’t open unless all the pressure is released first. After hearing my mom’s first and last experience with a pressure cooker where her dinner landed on the kitchen ceiling, I was afraid to use one. But, the built-in safety features of the new ones put my mind at ease and I started to pressure cook over ten years ago and what a blessing it was, especially when I had to quickly prepare a meal. Since cooking time varies depending on your pressure cooker, use my cooking times as a guideline and check the progress of your food, so you don’t end up with a mushy overcooked stew.
Limoo amani, dried limes, are an essential ingredient in Persian dishes and enhance the fragrance of aromatics, spices and herbs adding earthy and acidic notes especially in dishes like this one. They should be pricked with a knife or fork to allow the cooking liquid to permeate the limes, rehydrating them and releasing their tart and complex flavors.
Check my khoresht karafs recipe for a detailed instruction on preparing the herbs and celery. I usually remove the outer tougher stalks and leaves of the celery and use the entire head with all the tender leaves. Sometimes, I use ghormeh sabzi herbs instead of the traditional parsley and mint and I learned from Andrea’s Garden Cooking blog I was reading earlier that I am not the only one doing it. Don’t get me wrong. I love the flavors of celery stew and the only times I add ghormeh sabzi herbs is when I’m cooking the dish for those who aren’t a big khoresht karafs fan. This way everyone is happy!
To create a real tasty stew, fry the onions until slightly golden. Then add the meat and spices and cook until the meat browns and you end up with a flavored and yellowish oil on the bottom of the pan. Then add some dry mint and let it fry for a minute before adding hot water. Cook the meat according to the time chart on your pressure cooker. You want the meat to be a little over half cooked, because it will continue cooking with the celery and herbs.
When meat is over half cooked, add hot water and Persian limes. I add the limes with celery and herbs so they don’t overcook and fall apart. Besides, if they break apart their seeds can make the stew bitter.
Add the celery and herb mixture to the meat and cook until tender, but don’t overcook them. That’s why it’s a good idea to periodically open the pressure cooker to check on them. Another thing you should check is the level of liquid in the stew. If it seems to be too low, add some hot water.
Always taste and adjust the seasoning at the end of cooking time.
When the pressure cooker khoresht karafs comes together, the oil separates to the top and the sauce reduces and becomes concentrated in flavors.
Serve over aromatic basmati polo.
Pressure Cooker Khoresht Karafs
Prep time: 20 min
Cook time: 1 hour 20 min
Ready in: 1 hour 40 min
Yields: 6 servings
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
8 tablespoons olive oil
1½ pounds good quality cross rib roast, cut into 1½-inch cubes
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
½ teaspoon turmeric
1 teaspoon dried mint (optional)
2 cups hot water
4 large or 6 small limoo amani pierced with fork or ¼ cup lemon juice
1 whole celery head chopped
3 bunches parsley chopped
2 bunches mint chopped
Heat 4 tablespoons oil in a medium-sized pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add chopped onions and fry for 8 to 10 minutes or until slightly golden, stir occasionally.
Add meat, salt, pepper and turmeric. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes or until the liquid evaporates and meat is slightly browned. Stir occasionally.
Stir in dry mint and cook for 2 to 3 minutes until fragrant. Add 2 cups hot water. Bring to a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 40 minutes.
While meat is cooking, heat 4 tablespoon oil in a large skillet. Add chopped parsley and mint. Cook over medium-high heat for 10 minutes. Mix in chopped celery and cook for 10 more minutes. Mix occasionally.
To assemble pressure cooker khoresht karafs, add the celery mixture and Persian limes to the meat. Bring back to a soft boil. Lower heat to low and cook for about 30 minutes or until the meat and celery are tender.
Taste and adjust the seasoning.
Serve over fragrant basmati polo.