Saturday, September 27, 2008

khoresh-e-ghaymeh lapeh (persian split pea stew)

i must say that my original reason for posting this recipe is because it was nice to finally measure the ingredients for this recipe... gheymeh, ghaymeh, however you would like to spell it is a persian stew that is usually served on top of rice. it's a savory and flavorful stew, yet fairly simple in its ingredients. this is based on my mother's recipe, who is quite against measuring anything in the kitchen and is a phenomenal cook, so we'll call this a collaborative effort. i'm hoping to preserve more of her wonderful recipes as time goes on...

anyways, this is also my submission for September's 'Go Ahead Honey It's Gluten Free!' challenge, who's theme this month is "slow food." it's hosted by the lovely naomi of straight into bed cake free and dried. now this 'stew' can be cooked as slow and as long as you want it! i cooked mine for about an hour and a half, but it can be longer or shorter-- the flavors really set in nicely when it's cooked a long time on low, blending the tomato with the rich spices.

the only ingredient in this dish that may be a bit harder to find is dried persian limes (pictured above.) most middle eastern grocery stores should have it though. if not, i'm sure the wonderful internet could supply some :) if you don't have them, plain lime juice can be added, but the flavor is just not as intense. you don't have to eat them when serving the dish, but i love them.

Khoresh-e-Ghaymeh Lapeh (Persian Split Pea Stew)

1 cup yellow split peas
1 lb stew beef, cut into small pieces (mine was about 2 1/4 cup chopped)
3 medium onions, chopped
6 Tbsp oil (olive, grapeseed)
5 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 28 oz can Organic Crushed Tomatoes with Basil (i used Muir Glen)
2 tsp Turmeric
3 tsp Cinnamon (less if you don't like it that strong)
2 tsp Sea Salt
1.5 tsp black pepper
1 tsp Oregano
3 Dried Limes

Note: this recipe uses three pots/pans (trust me, it's worth the dishes). i refer to them as 'small pot' (for the peas) 'stew pot' (for everything) and 'saute pan' (a frying pan with sides and a lid-for cooking the meat).

1. First rinse your split peas and set to cook in 4 cups of water over medium heat in your small pot. The cooking time will honestly depend on the type of peas-- it really does make a difference. I think mine cooked in about 15 minutes, but watch it and check after 10, then 5, etc. etc. If they overcook they will turn to mush and will be a sad sight. They should be al dente, or almost soft. Don't add salt, or they won't cook! While they're cooking, skim the foam off and discard.

2. Boil hot water. Wash your dried limes and stab a few holes in them. Pour the hot water over your limes in a bowl and cover to let them soak and soften.

3. Meanwhile, while your peas are cooking, cook your chopped onions in 3 Tbsp of your oil in your large stew pot until golden but not overdone. Remove 1/3 of them and place in your saute pan where you will cook the meat.

4. With the other 2/3 of your onion still in the stew pot, add the can of crushed tomatoes as well as the tomato past to the onions. stir well. add a tsp of turmeric to the sauce. if your tomato sauce is unsalted, add some salt. bring the sauce to boil while you move on to the next step- the meat.

5. For the meat: While your sauce is simmering, heat the saute pan you just put the 1/3 of onions along with the other 3 Tbsp of oil. Add the spices (cinnamon, salt, pepper, oregano, turmeric) and beef. After a minute or two, add the limes (not the water) and cook until the meat is almost thoroughly cooked.

6. Add the meat and split peas to the sauce and stir well. turn the heat down to low and let simmer covered for an hour to two hours. taste periodically to see if you want to add any more salt, pepper, etc... it can get fairly thick depending on a variety of factors. if it's too thick for your taste you can add some water. i sometimes add some of the lime water that the limes were soaking in for some more flavor. While your stew is cooking, make your rice- persians use basmati, i made brown rice, so whatever you like.


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  1. Delicious! I love a nice khoresh I do - although I have mine without the rice these days. Just the sort of thing to warm up the constitution as we head towards winter.

    Thanks so much for your submission.

    x x x

  2. oh my - i am just drooooooling looking at this!!!

    ps: - i got something AMAZING in the mail yesterday :) will blog about it soon ;)

  3. naomi- i'm actually with you on the rice bit- if i do eat it, it's very little. it really tastes fine on it's own!

    amy- glad you got the package, wish i could have sent you more!! :)

  4. Noosh.. I had to tell you. I have been using that peppercorn and salt combo you sent me every single day! My husband and I are in love with that stuff. it imparts the most fantastic flavor in everything we cook. You have us hooked!

    Thank you so much for your kindness.


  5. Noosh - when are you going to come visit NYC and cook a Persian feast for us? (Hmm, your pay it forward sounds interesting! Please share what you sent out!)

  6. lolly- so glad you enjoyed it!

    elizabeth, i am definitely planning on it soon :) as for the pay it forward, i still need one more person!!!

  7. Nice fill someone in on and this fill someone in on helped me alot in my college assignement. Gratefulness you as your information.

  8. do you think there is a way to make this vegitarian? i love love love this soup but dont eat meat =[

  9. hi livon- i would probably recommend grilled or fried zucchini, eggplant, or tofu. it won't have the same flavor as the beef, but provide some nice texture and should still be quite tasty. let me know if you try it! :)
    oh ps- a lot of persians top it with french fries so you can try that as well!

  10. Thank you! I'll probably try the eggplant =] hopefully soon! i'll let you know how it turns out =]

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  12. Nice recipe. One thing of note: Persian Split peas are not the American/British variety. The latter would turn to mush very quickly in Khoresht-eh Ghaymeh. You might let people knoiw that they should seek (order from online) Lapeh-dir paz (slow-cooking split peas) or go to an Indian store and buy Channa Dal. I have noticed that Channa Dal are relabeld as Lapeh in Iranian groceries.