It's been a while since I made any hearty stews at home, and though there are tonnes to choose from, nothing says warm comfort like Gheimeh (though Fesenjoon is pretty close too). I might not have mentioned but Gheimeh is a Persian stew that goes back to ancient times. Even before tomatoes were introduced to the Persian empire, people were making this stew with saffron to add the reddish tinge that this soup is famous for. What I definitely know is that it's absolutely delicious, though I do have to emphasize that this is not a recipe for a summer's day because of its warmth. Cool autumn weather like that of this past weekend though, was perfect for this stew.
After uploading the original recipe to the blog, I tried making Gheimeh again a couple of months ago for a pot-luck. Unfortunately, instead of using the original recipe, I thought I would experiment with Batmanglij's recipe in her cookbook New Food of Life. Weirdly, she uses copious amounts of fresh orange zest and limu-omani (Persian dried lime) that make the stew very very bitter and leave a strange taste lingering in your mouth.
After trying her recipe out, I had to try and make it using my original recipe again, just to remind myself how good it actually is if made correctly. Thankfully, I succeeded! I did make a couple of positive changes (inspired by Batmanglij) to the original recipe, which explains why I'm posting it again here.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
200g beef, dicedDirections
1 large red onion, grated
1 large potato, cut in thick matchsticks
1/2 cup yellow split peas, soaked
2 tbsp tomato paste
5 tbsp grapeseed (or other cooking) oil
2 tbsp lime juice
1 limu omani (Persian dried lime; optional)
3/4 tbsp turmeric
Salt and pepper to taste
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan. Add onions, turmeric and a little salt. Fry until onions are caramelized (completely browned; approximately 15 minutes).
- Add in the beef. Stir fry for 5 minutes or until the beef is slightly cooked.
- Add tomato paste to the pan and heat for a minute. Add in 2 cups of boiling water and heat through, stirring occassionally.
- Transfer to a stew pot along with two more cups of boiling water. Cover and simmer on low heat for 45 minutes. You may need to add more water occassionally to compensate for water loss.
- Meanwhile, boil some water in the frying pan. Add the split peas and cook for 20 minutes or until al dente. Drain and reserve the split peas.
- Add lime juice and the split peas to the stew, and adjust the seasoning if necessary. Cover and simmer for a further 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in the frying pan. Add the potatoes, along with a sprinkle of turmeric and salt, and pan fry them until golden. Reserve until ready to serve.
- Make holes with a sharp knife in the limu-omani before adding it to the stew pot. Cover and cook for a final 15 minutes.
- Serve the stew with the pan-fried potatoes, along with garlic-infused cous cous or saffron-flavoured rice.