23 June 2013

Spring Sabzi, Persian Greens with Black-eyed Peas

In Farsi, the word "sabzi" means green and can refer to herbs or vegetables.  This version of Sabzi is hardly the last word on the matter and—although easy and quite delicious—is a far cry from the top-of-the-line meals I enjoyed at the home of my Persian friend Roshanak. Roshanak loves to cook together several kinds of greens and herbs into a dense stew, or ash (AWSH). Then her family spoons it over rice and mixes this delicious concoction with homemade yogurt. Although I haven't visited Roshanak in years, this Sabzi's combination of cooked greens, good creamy yogurt, and rice reminds me strongly of all the amazing meals she so graciously served me. The black-eyed peas are the real surprise here: their light freshness adds to the feeling of Spring provided by the mixture of leeks, parsley, spinach, and lemon juice.  And the unexpected sprinkling of cinnamon works magic, although I have no idea why it belongs in this dish!

I think I got a version of this recipe from Vegetarian Times, but I'm not sure.

Serve this dish with a side of refreshing tropical fruit like pineapple or mango, spritzed with lime juice.

Spring Sabzi

about 1 Tablespoon olive oil
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, chopped and washed in several changes of water
12 to 16 ounces fresh spinach
1/4 Cup fresh parsley, chopped
4 scallions (white and light green parts), sliced
2 16-ounce cans black-eyed peas, rinsed
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juices
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
several gratings of fresh nutmeg

  1. In an extra-large skillet or soup pot, heat oil. Add leeks and cook until soft, roughly eight minutes.
  2. Add spinach, parsley, scallions, and 1/4 Cup water. Cook until spinach wilts.
  3. Stir in the black-eyed peas, lemon juice, cinnamon and nutmeg. Heat 5 minutes until through. 
Serve over rice and offer people good quality yogurt or wedges of lemon.
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