Maman's famous Persian dish
I’m sharing a delicious Persian vegetarian dish called Baghali Ghatogh (stew of beans and dill) which is a specialty from where my mother is from (North of Iran). The northern part of Iran is called ‘Shomal’ (North). I was lucky enough to visit this area once, when I was 14. The memory of this magical picturesque place will forever stay with me. I loved how the air smelled, how friendly the people were and how happy I was to be close to nature at its best. This dish takes me back and all those good old feelings come rushing back to me every time I eat this.
Two 14-ounce packages of frozen fava beans, or about 2 pounds of podded and peeled fresh fava beans. (Frozen lima beans may be substituted for fava beans, my sister used butter beans and it worked well too.)
½ cup butter
1 tsp salt
⅛ tsp freshly pepper
2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
¾ tsp turmeric powder
1 cup chopped fresh dill or ¼ cup dried dill
2 ½ cups hot water
2-4 eggs, to be cracked whole directly on the cooked fava beans and dill
Wash the dill by immersing the tops and tender stems in cold water for a few minutes to loosen any possible grit, repeat a few times until the water is clear. Place the dill in a colander and drain all the water before chopping.
Rinse the frozen fava beans in a colander under warm water to thaw and drain completely.
Heat butter in the pot, cast iron or other oven proof skillet and add the fava beans, salt and pepper. Sauté over medium high heat for about 7 minutes, or until the beans are lightly golden and most of the natural juice is cooked off. Stir gently and frequently. Be careful not to break up the beans, the dish looks prettier when the beans are left whole.
Reduce the heat to medium, add the turmeric and chopped garlic. Stir and sauté for another 2 minutes.
Add chopped dill and hot water, bring it to a boil then reduce heat to the mark between medium low and low. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Most cast iron skillets have pour spouts that do not allow a complete coverage. Add more water if needed to maintain about an inch of liquid in the skillet.
Uncover the skillet and crack the eggs one at a time on top. Leave some space between the eggs so they do not cook into each other. Watch closely as the eggs cook.
Serve warm with basmati saffron rice. If you are not a fan of eggs, you can skip them all together.
Voilà! Bon appétit!