Khoresh Gheymeh (Lamb Stew with Dried Limes)

limoo_1

This dish showcases dried limes beautifully. Their fragrance comes through and really transports your diners to a different place and time.  You can make this a vegetarian dish by substituting thick slices of winter squash for the meat. Add them to the pot after the split peas have been cooking for about 45 minutes. Recipe adapted from Turmeric and Saffron

Serves 4-6

Vegetable or olive oil

2 tablespoons tomato paste 

1 large onion, peeled, chopped 

1/2 teaspoon turmeric

2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks

Salt and pepper to taste

A pinch of cinnamon

1 cup yellow split peas, picked over for stones and rinsed

4-5 dried limes (limoo amani), Soak them in water for 5 minutes and then poke them in a few places with a knife.

 

Heat 1 tablespoon of oil to a small pan over medium heat, add the tomato paste and sauté for 2-3 minutes, stirring frequently, until it starts to change color. Set aside.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large pan over medium heat, add the onions and sauté until they are translucent but not brown, add turmeric and stir well. Add the meat in batches and brown on all sides. Add salt, pepper and a pinch of cinnamon. Stir well. 

Add the yellow split peas to the pot and sauté for 5 minutes, add the tomato paste. Mix thoroughly. Add the dried limes to the pot. Season with salt and pepper.

Add water to cover all the ingredients in the pot by 1 inch. Lower the heat, cover and cook for about 1-1/4 hours or until the meat is well-cooked and the split peas are tender. Stir occasionally and add water as needed during cooking to keep the stew submerged. Taste and add salt if needed.

Serve with rice.