heir·loom (noun): a valuable object that has belonged to a family for several generations
From furniture and faith to collectibles and character traits, there are a lot of things that get passed down over the course of a family’s history, and recipes are no exception. But a recipe nurtured by generations of love and care is so much more than the food it creates. It’s also a reminder of the laughter and light that can happen when a family comes together.
Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a pot and heat over medium heat. Add the onion and sauté until it begins turning golden brown.
Add lamb, 1 tablespoon of salt, turmeric, cinnamon stick, and ginger. Sauté for an additional 3-4 minutes.
Add enough boiling water to cover the meat. Cover the pot with a lid, reduce heat, and simmer for approximately 2 hours. While the lamb cooks, add 2 more tablespoons of oil to another pan, and sauté the green beans.
When cooked through, add the tomato paste and purée, and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the green bean sauce to the lamb stew and simmer for an additional 20-30 minutes. When the sauce thickens and the oils rise to the top, it is ready.
While the stew is simmering, work with the parboiling rice. Place uncooked rice in a bowl, cover just barely with water, stir in 2 tablespoons of salt, and allow to soak for at least 15 minutes but up to a few hours (reference the package instructions). Add 12 cups of water and 2 more tablespoons of salt to a large pot and bring to a boil. Use a colander to strain the rice that was soaking, and then add it to the pot. Cook for about 4-6 minutes or until the tips of the rice grains are clear. Strain the rice once more and rinse with lukewarm water. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil and ¼ cup water to a coated pot.
Add a layer of parboiled rice, followed by a layer of the stew and a sprinkle of cinnamon and saffron. Continue layering your pot until you’ve used all the ingredients, making sure to end with a layer of stew and spices. Poke a few holes through the mixture with the back of a spoon, and cover with a lid.
Heat over medium heat until the rice begins to steam. Drop heat to low, and allow to steam for 45 minutes. Serve with yogurt and basil, and don’t forget to enjoy the tadig (the crispy rice from the bottom of the pan).
“Loobia polo (green beans rice) is an all-time favorite dish of mine. To me the combination is the most delicious yet nostalgic Iranian comfort food. Whenever I make it, I think of my mom. She is famous for making superb Loobia polo, and she learned from her mother. When green beans are in season, I try to make it as often as I can because it makes my kitchen smell like my mom’s kitchen and brings back all the old memories from Tehran. I enjoy making Loobia polo exactly the way my mom taught me, but hers is still the best I have had so far. She is my favorite cook with matchless culinary skills.”