Whether it is called abgoosht or dizi, this very traditional Persian soup recipe is often a favorite among the Iranian people.
What is abgoosht?
Abgoosht is a hearty soup or a juicy stew which is traditionally prepared with lamb, chickpeas, white beans, onions, potatoes, and tomatoes. Abgoosht (گبگوشت) means meat juice (ab stands for water and gusht for meat).
Abgoosht is also called dizi (دیزی) in reference to the traditional stone pitcher, a slow cooker in which the dish is usually prepared but, let me reassure you, it works just as well in a modern pot, a Dutch oven or even a slow cooker, similar to the one used for Moroccan dafina.
It is a dish that dates back hundreds of years. Originally, it was only prepared with pieces of mutton and chickpeas and it was a meal favored by poorer classes. However, with the introduction of new ingredients in Persian cuisine, this modest meal was improved and became a very popular, comforting dish savored by all Iranians.
How is abgoosht served?
Abgoosht must simmer for a very long time. It is divided and served in two parts. First, the broth which is placed in a large bowl or in individual bowls and that is served separately. Then, the solid ingredients including the meat, potatoes, tomatoes, chickpeas and white beans.
The solid ingredients can also be presented crushed. Traditionally, Iranians use a goosht-koob (literally meat mortar) to serve the crushed solid ingredients along with onions, torshi, yogurt, and sabzi khordan (fresh herbs), the same herbs that Mike used for his ghormeh sabzi .
Abgoosht outside of Iran
The abgoosht recipe is also very common in the cuisines of the Caucasus although it is not always called the same everywhere.
For Iranians, savoring abgoosht is a culinary experience of conviviality and sharing.
Traditionally, people eat this dish as they sit on the floor, on a Persian rug, with their legs crossed around a sofreh (tablecloth) placed on the rug.
But don’t worry, your tastebuds will be equally satisfied by this mixture of flavors, even if you sit at a table, with or without tablecloth!
- 3 lb beef or lamb shank , cut into pieces
- 2 onions , diced
- 3 cloves garlic , crushed
- 2 cups chickpeas (previously soaked for 8 hours)
- 2 cups white beans (previously soaked for 8 hours)
- 1 lb small potatoes , peeled and halved
- 1 teaspoon turmeric
- 2 dried limes (limoo amani) or 2 freshly squeezed lemons
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 lb tomatoes , peeled, seeded, and diced
- 1 green bell pepper , diced
- 3 tablespoons oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- Rinse and drain the chickpeas and white beans.
- Season the meat with salt and pepper.
- Brown the onions in a thick-bottomed pot over low-medium heat. Add the meat.
- Poke the Persian limes and add them (or the lemon juice) to the meat.
- Add the beans, chickpeas, garlic, turmeric, cinnamon, and 6 cups of boiling water. Stir well.
- Cover and simmer over low-medium heat for 2h30.
- At the start of cooking, check the contents of the pot and remove any foam that may eventually surface.
- After 2h30, add the tomato paste and mix well. Then add the fresh tomatoes and the green bell pepper.
- Add the potatoes and season the seasoning. Cover and cook again for 2 hours on low heat.
- Once the cooking is finished, place a very fine strainer on a large deep bowl to collect all the broth.
- Pour the broth into the pot and adjust the seasoning if necessary.
Two possibilities :
- Reduce all solids to a purée
- Serve the solids as they are and crush them or not with a fork.
- Serve broth and solids separately.