I still remember how when I was a child, twenty years ago or so, green beans could only be purchased seasonally in my city in Iran. This made it compulsory, that when they were in season, you buy them in huge batches, cut, wash and store them in the freezer to use throughout the year. Thats exactly what my mother, aunts and grandmothers did and probably still do!
I also remember them saying, ‘fresh is something else’, and I couldn’t agree more.
This dish is probably in the top 10 most loved dishes in Persian homes. It so deserves the love and recognition! Delicious, light and the combination of the spices and flavours is truly a match made in heaven. I haven’t made this often myself. I usually watch my mum make it and she eyeballs everything so when it come to actually putting this recipe together and jotting everything down I was a little skeptical as to whether I would be able to get it just right. Turns out all those years as her sue chef paid off. It turned out beyond my wildest imagination and I even had a tear to two in my eyes, as I knew that if only my grandmother, mum and aunts could try this they would be so so proud of me.
I did this dish justice it deserved and I am so happy and confident to share this recipe on the blog with you the much appreciated reader.
Tips So here’s a few notes to make this dish simpler for you:
- You can absolutely use frozen beans instead of fresh.
- Organic tomato puree is a huge staple in this dish as it is all about the rich red colour when it comes to Lubiya polo. However, you can use double concentrate but you may have to use a lot more of it.
- Another reason why it’s necessary to use extra tomato puree, it’s because cinnamon gives a dullness to the vibrant red colour. I guess it’s just Science!
- The reason above is exactly why saffron is used right at the end. If added during the cooking process, cinnamon will make the colour dull and the aroma of saffron will also evaporate in the cooking process.
Lubiya Polo – Persian Green Bean and Lamb Rice
Fry the chopped onions with olive oil in a large pan until golden. Add the spices and sauté together for a few minutes until aromatic.
Add the beef and lamb mince mix to the pan and brown the meat. Once browned, add the green beans followed by the tomato puree and sauté together for about 5-8 minutes on medium heat and your mixture is ready to use.
While the meat mixture is cooking, wash the basmati rice and parboil until the rice grains have stretched in length and expanded in size, not fully cooked but with a little crunch to the bite.
Drain the rice and prepare to layer everything in a pot.
Peel the potatoes and slice thinly (1cm). Heat a large pot on high heat, add olive oil or butter to the pot and once fully hot, place the potatoes at the base of the pot in one single layer.
Start by layering a thick layer (3cm) of the drained rice on top of the potatoes followed by a layer of the minced lamb mixture. Gently with a fork fluff the rice and blend it with the mixture until the white rice is coated in the mixture. Be careful not to dig up the potatoes. Continue this process until there is no more rice or mixture left.
Place the lid on the pot and place the pot on high heat for the first 5 minutes, after that turn the heat to the lowest setting and allow the rice to fully cook (30-45 minutes).
Check the rice after 30 minutes to see if it is cooked, otherwise do not remove the lid as the steam in the pot will be lost and the rice will not cook throughly.
In the last 5 minutes place several nobs of butter across the top of the rice and pour a few spoonfuls of the brewed saffron, place the lid back on.
Just before serving, fluff the rice with a fork for the butter to mix. Using a large round serving dish, flip the rice over and enjoy with salad and yogurt.