The first time I tasted dizi (abgoosht) was during a hasty stopover on a hot and clammy day in Kermanshah in the Kurdistan Province of Iran after driving up from Paveh that morning. Following the advice of a local we walked up an alley off the main road, known locally as dizi alley, and entered the little restaurant where it seems men were the only patrons. The specialty here was dizi or abgoosht, a stew of lamb with chickpeas, other beans, dried lime and spices served with bread. The dish is named dizi after the earthenware pot it’s served in. The heat from the oven and the sweet spices and condiments tantalized us as soon as we crossed the threshold…
A friend who traveled with us reminded me of that meal recently and it roused my appetite
for the dish which I decided to have a go making at home on a bleak autumn day. Not having dried lime at hand and not wanting to wait the time it would take to prepare it myself, I used lemon juice instead, I know, not quite the same flavour, but still acceptable. I went through a few recipes online and took some ideas from different ones while trying to keep to the main ingredients. One thing I am sure I used less of is the lamb fat that is often considered an essential part of the dish. This is the recipe I used though I added tomato paste and garlic and used a lot more turmeric and cinnamon than Azita suggests. I also added a bit of chili.
Some might find it irreverent that in place of an earthenware pot such as ‘dizi’, I served the meal in a Moroccan tagine dish. Not only that, but I first cooked the meal in a slow cooker for over 12 hours (which proved perfect) before removing the bones (and some of the fat) from the meat, all of which slipped off easily.
I then placed the food in a tagine dish with separately cooked potatoes and baked it for one more hour in the oven with the lid on for most of the time. I served the abgoosht in Spanish earthenware dishes accompanied by delicious fresh Georgian bread and home made doogh (kefir with chopped mint). Multiculturalism in the kitchen is a good way to go 🙂
A perfect meal after a walk through our local Polish woods on a foggy autumn day.
(oh, and we had a glass of red wine to round off the wonderful stew)