Persian Classics: Meat & Pumpkin Stew

Another dish to make while it’s pumpkin season is this simple, aromatic and wholesome on pot stew. It is traditionally served with rice (like you see in the picture), but would go nicely with mash potatoes too, so why not give this spooky delicious main dish a try for Halloween? 😉

There’s also a vegetarian version of this dish with different ingredients which I will publish soon, so check out the website for updates!


  1. The meat is usually lamb in Iran, but here in the UK I almost always use lean beef and it tastes just as good if not better, so the choice is entirely yours. Please note that my cooking times are based on beef, so check out the packaging instructions if you’re cooking it with lamb, it might need less time.
  2. You could roast the pumpkins in the oven for 30 minutes before adding it to the stew, which intensifies the flavour of the pumpkin.

Serves 4


  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 400 g lean beef, diced
  • 800-1000 ml cold water
  • 800 g pumpkin, chopped into medium cubes
  • 1/2 tsp ground saffron
  • 3 tbs preserved lemon juice (or fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • salt & pepper


  1. In a medium pot over medium-high heat, fry the onions in warmed oil for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until golden brown.
  2. Add the meat and fry for 3 minutes until brown. Then add just enough water to cover the meat. Bring to boil, then reduce the heat and put the lid on. Cook for 2 hours.
  3. You could roast the pumpkin at this stage by tossing them in a bit oil and spreading across an oven tray then placed in the oven preheated at 200°C for 30 minutes. Add the roasted pumpkins to the stew after the 2 hours. Cook for an additional hour until the stew is done. Add cinnamon, saffron tea (ground saffron brewed in 5 tbsp of boiling water), lemon juice and seasoning. —You could also add the pumpkins uncooked straight to the stew and cook for 1 hour 30 minutes after Step 2.

Enjoy! 🙂

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