Loobia Pollo is a wonderful Persian rice dish made with Green Beans (Loobia) and Rice (Pollo) that I absolutely adore and that has a special memory for me.
The story of how I was introduced to this dish when I was 8 years old and visiting Teheran with my family is a good one. It involves one of my most dearest Aunts, my Ameh (aunt) Manijeh.
For the full story, you will have to read about it in my book.. where this recipe will also be included.
So a couple of things: If you are new to Persian Cooking, the recipe may seem like a lot. Persian food, for the most part, isn’t something you can rush or take “shortcuts. We make a lot of stew and rice recipes and that means "SLOW AND LOW" cooking. Id shortcuts are taken you will most definitely tell in the quality of your dish. Your take away.. plan ahead and prep ahead! I believe in you!
The Advieh, a Persian spice blend, is easy to make and you can find most ingredients in your grocery store. For the rose petal that is in the advieh, I recommend ordering EDIBLE rose online or your local Mediterranean market.
1- 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck, 1” trimmed of excess fat and cubed
1 pound fresh green beans, ends trimmed, cut 1/2” long
2- 14.5 oz cans whole peeled tomatoes, drained
1 large yellow onion, diced
3 cloves fresh garlic, chopped
In The Kitchen With Scotty “Cook’s Line Seasoning” or salt and black pepper
2 Tablespoons *Advieh Persian Seasoning
Saffron Water (1 tablespoon crushed saffron steeped in 1 1/2 cup boiling water.)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cups Basmati Rice, rinsed and soaked in cold water
- In a high sided sauté pan add a good sized glug of olive oil and begin to heat. Add the diced onion and cook gently until lightly golden and caramelized. Add the chopped garlic and season to taste with Cook’s Line Seasoning or salt and black pepper.
- Turn the heat up in the pan and add the cubed beef. Add 1 tablespoon of the Advieh spice and brown the meat. While this is going, in a medium to large dutch oven or stew put add a little olive oil to the bottom and begin to heat. When hot add the cut green beans and cook long enough to brighten the color and gently sear the outside of the beans.
- Add the beef and onion mixture to the green beans. Rinse out the beef and onion pan with water, making a mock “deglaze”, and add that water to the beef and green bean pot. You will need at least 3 cups worth or enough to cover the stew.
- Add the two cans of drained whole peeled tomatoes to the pot. And gently mix everything together while heating. Next, add the last tablespoon of Advieh spice and the fresh lemon juice. Stir the stew together and gently simmer on low to medium heat for 1 hour or until the meat is tender.
- Thirty minutes into the cooking of the stew, start working on your rice. The idea is to layer par cooked basmati rice along with the stew for a fine cooking process. Wash your rice in cold water at least three times until the water is clear. Wash and drain until so. I like to soak my rice first, at least 30 minutes because this quickens the cooking process and also creates a longer basmati rice grain when cooked.
- Pour the rice and water into a pot. You will need enough water to cover the rice, about 2 inches above the rice. Add a good pinch of salt and bring the rice to a boil. Cook the rice just until the center is a bit underdone, like al dente pasta. Pour the rice out through a colander in the sink, shake off any excess water into the sink, and return the rice pot back to the stove.
- Once the stew meat is tender its time to start the final cooking. Add a glug or two of oil into the bottom of the rice pot (make sure the pot is dry first). Begin heating. Add a layer of rice that covers the entire bottom of the pot, at least 1/2” thick. Next, with a slotted spoon because we don’t want a lot of the stew juice just the “goods”, add about 2 cups of the stew “goods” to the center of the rice. Pile a layer of rice onto the “goods” (We’re building a mound in the center)
- Sprinkle a tablespoon or two of the saffron water over the top of each rice and stew layer. Complete at least 2-3 layers using up the rice and stew “good”. Reserve the stew “jus” for service. Cover the rice pot and cook on medium-low heat for 40-45 minutes. Too high of heat and you will burn the bottom. Just the right amount of heat and you will create the flavorful crusty delight every Persian loves…Tah’Dig! Tah’Dig means “bottom of the pot” and it is the crispy fried rice served along with the meal or offered first to guests.
- So when this is all cooked and everything has steamed together, crispy rice on the bottom, the steel is driving you crazy, remove the lid from the pot and turn off the heat. Gently mix the rice and stew layers together and spoon out onto a large platter. Pile the Loobia Pollo into a mound. If you have crispy Tah’dig on the bottom, remove it in one piece the best you can (pieces are okay too) and lay on the top of the orc mound.
- Reheat the stewing liquid to a boil and pour off into a sauce boat. Extra sauce over the top of the rice is quite nice! Serve the Loobia Pollo family style with Mast (yogurt salads) or pickled vegetables. Enjoy!