Tami Vazey’s memory of being a small child in Iraq is very vague now but, she tells Nicky Pellegrino, the magic of its food has never left her
Khoresh is a delicate Persian stew. It’s a combination of either meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, fresh or dried fruit, beans, grains and sometimes nuts. It’s seasoned with fresh herbs and spices and then simmered over a low heat. The Persian cook uses whatever fruits and vegetables are in season, so for our version (pictured) we replaced the peaches with pears and some dried apricots (you could also use quinces or butternut) and we used whole chicken thighs.
Khoresh is best cooked in a heavy pot. It can be made in advance, then reheated just before serving. The longer it sits, the better the flavour. To make a successful khoresh do not use too much water.
- Brown the chicken in a large casserole dish, then remove. Brown onions, then add chicken stock, pepper and whole spice mix.
- Add the chicken back, pour in one cup warm water and simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes.
- Dissolve paprika and turmeric in ? Tbsp hot water and mix in lime juice and sugar. Stir into the chicken. Cover and simmer on a low heat for 10minutes.
- Add the chopped fruit to the khoresh, cover and simmer on low heat for 25 minutes. Test and adjust seasoning.
- Remove pot from heat and transfer contents into a deep casserole dish. Cover and place in a warm oven until ready to serve.
This is a blend of dried rose petal, cinnamon, cardamom, black pepper, angelica powder, nutmeg, cumin, coriander seeds and dried Persian lime – all of which Tami says are available in Indian and Mediterranean stores. Some stores will sell it readyblended but you can substitute a mild garam masala.