“It’s unfair how little presence Iranian food has in the restaurant world. A cuisine as sophisticated and influential deserves the spotlight, and food explorers should have the opportunity to try Persian flavors and ingredients in all their glory. In this episode, Guillermo Riveros, Senior Video Producer at Chowhound visits Sofreh in Brooklyn, and meets chef and owner Nasim Alikhani, to learn how to make her version of a traditional North Iranian bean and dill stew (baghali ghatogh). This recipe makes it easy for home cooks to introduce Iranian flavors and techniques into their kitchens. Move over chickpea stew! This hearty dish has the potential to become the next “It” recipe. The stew is completely vegan, and with the addition of a poached egg on top, you can make this a crowd pleaser.”
Nasim Alikhani’s Baghali Ghatogh (Iranian Butter Bean Stew)
Makes 4-5 servings.
Takes at least one hour for cooking the beans plus additional prep.
- 2 cups dried butter beans, soaked overnight
- 1 large onion, finely diced
- 1/2 cup garlic, finely chopped
- 1/2 cup dried dill (Chef Alikhani recommends good quality Persian dill), or 8 ounces of fresh dill, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons turmeric
- 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper
- 1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt plus 2 tablespoons more for cooking the beans
- 1 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 cups water
- 1 egg per person, poached
- Make sure to soak your butter beans overnight.
- Drain the soaked butter beans, place in a pot and cover with plenty of cold water, and cook on medium-low heat for about 30 minutes, then add the 2 tablespoons of salt. Cook for another 20-30 minutes or until soft but still firm.
- While beans are cooking, sauté the onion in the olive oil on medium heat until dark golden; this will likely take at least 20 minutes, but judge by the color (more golden than golden-brown) and the smell, which should be full and fragrant, not acrid or raw. Add garlic and continue stirring because it tends to stick to the bottom. Cook until mellow. Add turmeric, lower the heat, and continue stirring until the turmeric is fragrant, only about 1 minute (don’t let it burn).
- Add lemon juice to the hot pan to deglaze all the onions and garlic; let sit for a moment, then use a wooden spoon or spatula to scrape all the browned bits off the bottom and mix them into the broth.
- Add the water and salt and pepper to taste, then cover the pan with a close-fitting lid (if you are using fresh dill, you should add it at this point as well). Cook for about 10 minutes. If using dried dill, you should add the dill after 10 minutes.
- Add the cooked and drained butter beans to the onion-herb mixture. Adjust the seasoning and continue cooking on low heat for a few more minutes to warm through.
- Traditionally, eggs are cracked and incorporated into the stew before serving, but if you want to follow chef Alikhani’s lead, top each serving with a poached egg instead—and if you’re keeping the stew vegan, simply skip that step and serve!
- When plating, the chef suggests drizzling the stew with a little more fresh lemon juice and good quality extra virgin olive oil, with some freshly ground pepper to finish.