I decided to try out one of these savory rhubarb recipes, this Persian Rhubarb and Beef with Rice. While Persia/Iran isn’t technically part of Central Asia, it’s right on the border and certainly shares some culinary heritage with the region. Although this is admittedly not the most photogenic of recipes, I really enjoyed the flavors at play in this dish. It’s quite sour, but I thought the rhubarb gave it a lot of depth and character. That being said, as written, I found that the ratio of rhubarb to beef was a little high for my taste, so I’ve shared it here with a little less rhubarb than the original called for. This recipe is a bit adventurous and might not be the best thing to serve a picky eater, but if you like Middle-Eastern food and intense flavors (or you have a bumper crop of rhubarb), definitely give it a try.
Persian Rhubarb and Beef with Rice (Khoresht-e Rivas)
- 3 TBS butter
- 1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 1 lb. lean stew beef, cubed
- salt and pepper
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp allspice
- 3/4 c. short grain brown rice
- 2/3 lb. fresh rhubarb stalks, cut into 2 inch lengths
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 c. chopped flat leaf parsley
- Heat 2 TBS of the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat until melted. Add the onion and saute until golden, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Add the beef, season with salt and pepper, and brown on all sides. Add the cinnamon and allspice and stir to coat the beef – cook 1-2 minutes longer, until fragrant.
- Add water to cover the beef and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, until meat is tender. Check water periodically and add more to keep beef covered and prevent burning. When it is nearing serving time, allow most of the water to evaporate so that the sauce is thick.
- While the beef is cooking, prepare the rice. Add the rice and 1 1/2 c. of cold water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce heat to low, cover saucepan, and simmer rice, covered, until all water is absorbed and rice is tender, about 30-40 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork.
- Ten minutes before you are ready to serve the meal, heat the remaining 1 TBS butter in a medium frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced rhubarb and cook until beginning to soften, about 3 minutes, then sprinkle with lemon juice and cook 1 minute longer. Remove pan from heat and add rhubarb to beef. Stir in chopped parsley. Cook entire mixture for 2 minutes longer, then remove from heat and serve over rice.