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Beef and Rhubarb Stew with Saffron Rice

This is based on the Persian dish khoresh-e-rivas, although I’m sure it’s not totally authentic. The rhubarb adds a sumptuous sourness to the rich, aromatic stew that's addictively moreish, and the abundance of herbs looks, smells and tastes divine.

Unfortunately for those (like me) who want to scoff the whole thing, it’s one of those dishes that gets better with a day or two in the fridge, to let the flavours get to know each other properly.

Serves 4.

  • 4 tbsp olive oil

  • 100g chopped parsley, plus a handful to garnish

  • 1tbsp dried mint

  • 3 sliced shallots

  • 4 or 5 stalks of rhubarb, chopped into inch-long pieces

  • 500g stewing beef, cubed

  • 150ml vegetable or chicken stock

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tsp turmeric

  • 1 tsp ginger

  • Pinch saffron dissolved in warm water

1. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large pan and cook the parsley, stirring over a medium heat to wilt it. Add the dried mint and stir, then set aside in a bowl.

2. Add a tablespoon more of olive oil and brown the beef. Remove and set aside.

3. Add the final olive oil if necessary and saute the shallots for about 5 minutes.

4. Mix in turmeric, ginger and a good grinding of black pepper.

5. Return the meat to the pan and add the garlic, and cook for 5 minutes.

6. Add the stock and about 200 ml water to cover, with the saffron. Cover and cook over a low heat.

7. After 30 minutes, add the wilted parsley and mint. Cook for another 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.

8. When the beef is tender, add the rhubarb and cook with a lid for 10-15 minutes.

9. Taste and season as necessary.

10. Serve with the saffron rice and fresh parsley.

For the saffron rice:

  • Pinch of saffron, dissolved in warm water

  • 200ml vegetable or chicken stock

  • 150g white basmati rice

1. Wash and sort the rice in a sieve and drain.

2. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and add the rice and the saffron.

3. Cook for around 20 minutes on a low heat, covered.

4. Turn off the heat and let it sit, covered, for 5-10 minutes.

5. Fluff with a fork before serving.

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