There is a Precious Boy in Finland, a 7 year old who has found room in my heart. He loves mechanical robots and wants to be a policeman when he grows up. About a week ago, this Precious One lost his two front teeth. He looks so funny and proudly goes about, showing his gap to everyone. His current favorite foods are apple stew and blueberry cake. He also loved pears braised in caramel sauce. You guessed it! This Precious One loves fruits and sweet dishes. To accommodate the fact that he is missing two front teeth, I thought of this soft fruit stew.
Do you know the Japanese folklore about Momotarō (Peach Boy)?
I have made peach stew both with fresh peaches and canned/compote peaches. I found either to be good. In the San Francisco Bay Area, the only month we get ‘great’ peaches is August. Stores carry peaches months before and after this summer month, but they are not as large or tasty as ones stocked in August. Good brands of canned peaches are high-quality, skinned, cored and ready to use.
Peach Stew • Khoresh’e Hulu • خورش هلو
Recipe by: Fae’s Twist & Tango (fae-magazine.com)
• 1 large onion, chopped
• 680 g/ 1.5 lb stew beef (veal, lamb or chicken) cut in 5 cm/ 2” cubes
• vegetable oil
• 1 cup hot water
• 1 bay-leaf
• 5 firm, unripe peaches -or- two 425 g/ 15 oz canned peaches
• 10 pieces pitted, dried plums –or- 2~4 Tbsp granulated sugar, to taste
• 1 tsp tomato paste (no more)
• 1 tsp salt
• 1/16 tsp ground black pepper
• 1/8 tsp turmeric powder
• 1/16 tsp cinnamon powder
• 2~3 Tbsp lime juice to taste
• smidgen – 1/32 tsp ground saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water
◊ In a non-stick medium sauce pan, pour 2 Tbs oil and on high heat, as soon as oil is hot, add chopped onions and stirring constantly, sauté until edges start turning brown. Scoop out to a dish and set aside. Add cut meat one by one and sear all sides until slightly browned. Add sautéed onion, boiling water and bay-leaf. Lower heat to medium-low and simmer for 1~1½ hour, until meat is done, but not over-cooked.
◊ If using fresh peaches: Wash peaches well to remove fuzz. Cut in half and remove pit. Brown cut sides in 1 Tbsp oil and set aside. If using canned peaches, drain peaches but retain juice to use later.
◊ Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 175°C / 350°F.
◊ In small bowl, mix together, tomato paste, salt, pepper, turmeric, cinnamon, lime juice, saffron and ½ cup juice from the cans.
◊ In an oven-safe dish, place 10 half-peaches cut side down, around edges. Put plums in between (plums add sweetness, thickness and a bit of darker color to the sauce). Empty cooked meat in the center. Pour seasoning mixture over meat. Liquid from meat and seasoning should equal no more than one cup of liquid in the dish. If not enough, add more peach juice from the cans. Note that peaches will sweat and add liquid to the dish.
◊ Tightly cover dish with foil, place in oven and bake for 45 minutes. You may serve in the baked dish. Here, garnished it with fried red onion cut into rings.
◊ Vegan Option: This dish may be made vegetarian/vegan by skipping meat and using vegetable bouillon.
◊ Stew / khoresht is almost always served wit h Persian rice / polo.
~ Noushe jan • نوش جان ~
A few important points in making an outstanding Persian khoresh:
♦ Don’t skimp on oil… use as much as needed for frying/sautéing. Boiling oil also cooks and adds flavor. It can be skimmed off before serving.
♦ Brown/sear onion and meat very well.
♦ Adding 1/16 ~ 1/8 tsp of ground saffron, dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water, will substantially add to taste.
♦ Don’t use too much water for cooking, just enough to steam and condense. –Simmer on low heat for a long time. This helps flavor fusion of ingredients.
♦ Best if stew is made a day in advance and refrigerated for taste to meld.
♦ Almost all stews can be frozen. Exception: If stew includes potato(es), potato pieces to be removed before freezing.
♦ There are red  stews (using tomato paste) and green  stews (using herbs). Garnishing red stews sparingly with caramelized onion before serving not only further enhances taste but visually enhances the dish.
 Slang: ‘red’ and ‘green’ are used to specify types of stews or mixed rices, using tomato paste vs. herbs respectively. This concept also helps host/hostess plan an event menu and serve a balance of reds and greens.
So, what’s cooking in your kitchen?