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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 2 hr 30 min
  • Active: 20 min
  • Yield: 6 servings 
Abgoosht is made of two parts: the broth which is served with bread, and the mashed potatoes, legumes and lamb that come next. Traditionally this Iranian dish is made with dried chickpeas and white beans, which involves soaking the legumes overnight and increases the cooking time. I used canned chickpeas and white beans to save both time and steps. Serve this dish with fresh herbs (sabzi khordan) and Persian pickles (torshi).



  1. Put the lamb in a Dutch oven or other heavy-bottomed pot with the onions, tomatoes, cinnamon stick and garlic, if using. Sprinkle with the turmeric, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Add about 6 cups water (enough to cover the lamb and vegetables by 1 1/2 inches). Cover with a lid, place over medium-high heat and bring to a simmer. Lower the heat to medium and cook until the lamb is very tender but still holds it shape (not falling apart or shredded), 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
  2. Use a slotted spoon to transfer the onions, tomatoes and garlic, if using, to a bowl or large measuring cup; discard the cinnamon stick. Mash the vegetables using an immersion blender or masher, then add back to the pot.
  3. Heat the vegetable oil in a small pan over medium-high heat. Add the tomato paste and cook until it deepens in color, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste to the pot, then add the chickpeas, white beans and potatoes. Cook on medium until the potatoes are fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Add the dried limes and cook for about 10 minutes more. Using the back of a spoon, press the limes so they release their sour juice, then remove them from the pot. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt.
  4. Using a slotted spoon, remove the lamb, potatoes, chickpeas and white beans to a large bowl. Mash them using a potato masher or a classic Iranian masher if available. (Alternatively, place a colander over a large bowl and pour the abgoosht through the colander to save the soup in the bowl. Mash the lamb and vegetables in the pot.)
  5. To serve, pour the soup into large individual bowls for each person and serve the mashed lamb, potatoes and legumes on a platter. Tear the bread and add it to the soup, which is called tilit or tirit. Enjoy the soup first, and then the goosht-koobideh (mashed lamb, potatoes and legumes) with torshi and sabzi khordan.

Cook’s Note

To substitute bone-in lamb stew meat, use 1 1/2 to 2 pounds and remove the bone. Cut the meat into 1 1/2-inch pieces. To substitute dry beans and chickpeas, soak 3/4 cup each chickpeas and cannellini beans in water for 8 hours, then drain. Add them to the pot with the lamb, onions, tomatoes and cinnamon stick at the beginning and cook until the legumes are fully cooked, about 1 1/2 hours.