Gheymeh is a Persian stew, wildly popular for large gatherings and some consider it almost mandatory to bring to “potluck” functions. I used to make this stew at least once a week, it’s made with ground meat (beef, lamb or veal) in a tomato based sauce with yellow split peas and roasted potatoes. You can sub other vegetables for potatoes, like eggplant or zucchini but I like to use potatoes for this stew. The Persian cook that taught me this dish used french fries, I prefer roasting pieces of potato. You spice with turmeric, saffron and cinnamon and eat it with rice. It’s sort of like a Persian version of a Bolognese sauce. This is great comfort food that is easy to prepare. I think it tastes even better the next day if you have any leftovers.
1 lb ground meat (beef,lamb or veal)
1 onion chopped
1 (4.5 oz) tube of tomato paste or 3/4 of a 6 oz can
1/2 tsp turmeric
Pinch of cinnamon (approximately 1/8 tsp or less)
3 1/2-4 cups water (start with 3 1/2 add more if needed)
1/3 cup dried yellow split peas
2 medium size potatoes cut into bite size pieces
pinch of saffron
2 tbs lemon juice
2 dried limes or 1/4 cup lemon or lime juice
pinch of sumac (for potatoes)
Pre-heat oven to 425, spread potatoes on parchment lined sheet pan, drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper and sprinkle with some sumac. Roast in the oven for approximately 45 minutes stirring frequently so that potatoes are browned on all sides. Remove from oven and set aside.
In small saucepan bring some water to a boil, add the split peas and boil for 15 minutes, you are par cooking them so they will soften a little..Rinse, drain and set aside.
In large deep skillet saute the onion in some olive oil until its translucent and soft, add the ground meat and turmeric and cook just until the meat is cooked and not red. Add the tomato paste, stir until its mixed with the meat and cook for a few minutes, add the water, split peas, cinnamon, salt and pepper and the dried limes or citrus juice. NOTE: If you are using dried limes poke a few holes or slits in the limes with the edge of a sharp knife before adding to the stew. Cover with lid slightly ajar and simmer for about 1 1/2 hours the sauce will be thick and most of the liquid will have evaporated. Stir frequently and add more water if you see that too much of the liquid has evaporated. When the stew is done mix saffron with the lemon juice and add along with the roasted potatoes, stir to combine and simmer for 5 minutes just to heat the potato through. Serve immediately with rice.