What comes to your mind first, when you see or think of an apple? Eve? Newton? Steve Jobs? Or Fall and pie ?? Amazing how omnipresent apple is, isn’t it? And how diversified, beneficial and of course delicious this “forbidden” fruit of wisdom is.
Iranian culture and literature is full of apple-related references as well, and culinary wise, we cook with apple not only in the Fall but also in spring when a particular type of small sour apple is in abundance in some of Iranian southern cities such as Shiraz.
To me, apple and fall come in to the most aromatic loving embrace, when I think of Persian apple cake with cloves, nutmeg, and the Persian apple & dried apricot stew with cinnamon and saffron. Let’s try the second first!
Ingredients: Serves 2-3
- 400 gr. beef or veal, defatted, washed and cubed
- 2 medium apples, peeled, cored, sliced. Apple type must be firm and a bit tart. Quebec Lobo Apple and States Granny Smith are two suitable types of apple.
- 1/2 cup dried apricots
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 1 medium tomato, peeled and diced
- 1 tablespoons fresh lime juice
- ½ tbsp. sugar (or 1 tbsp. if you like sweet)
- ½ tbsp. tomato sauce
- ½ teaspoon turmeric
- ¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon crushed saffron
- 3-4 tbsp. oil
- Salt and pepper to taste
In a deep bowl combine the apple slices, lime juice and cinnamon. Close the lid, shake well and Set aside.
In a large pot, sauté onion in 1-2 tbsp. of warm oil over medium heat until slightly golden. Add meat and fry with onions for 5-6 minutes, or until the meat’s color changes. Add turmeric and continue frying another minutes. Add tomato paste and mix it in while still frying.
Add 2-3 glasses of warm water to cover the pots contents by few cm. Add salt and pepper and cook over medium heat with closed lid until meat is soft and tender.
While the main pot is cooking itself, add a frying pan on the oven. Heat 1 tbsp. oil and gently fry the apple slices (along all the juice and cinnamon gathered in the bowl) Stir gently for about 6 minutes until apples are a bit soft outside.
Add the apples, apricots, tomatoes cubes, sugar and saffron to the stew, cover and cook for 10-15 minutes on low heat until the flavors are well mixed together.
This is the time to adjust the amount of water and also to taste for adjusting the seasoning.
Serve warm with rice, and any (or all) of usual suspects as Iranian side dishes: salad, raw herbs and grated cucumber & yogurt mix.
Enjoy! And have a wonderful fall ahead!