When I saw the name Gheymeh Bademjan in the list of recipes in this month's Iranian-themed Kitchen Trotter box, I had no idea what to expect, but it turns out that it's a deliciously rich lamb and split pea stew. I originally planned on using the slow cooker but in the end, I did it on the hob and the lamb was still beautifully tender, despite only taking a couple of hours to prepare.
This recipe required two ingredients from the box - chana dhal (split yellow peas) and limoo amâni, dried lemons which surprised me by their vibrant zestiness. I also used two more ingredients from the box, the Persian blue salt and the Anatolia mint. It wasn't in the original recipe which surprised me because mint and lamb is such a classic combination.
800g shoulder of lamb, bone removed
tin of chopped tomato
200g chana dhal (split yellow peas)
2 limoo amâni (dried lemons)
1tbsp dried mint
Cut the meat into small cubes.
Fry the onions in the olive oil.
Toss in the curcuma (I didn't have any so I selected berberé from my spice rack instead, for an earthy and mild spiciness) and cinnamon.
Add the meat and brown on all sides.
Stab the dried lemons a few times with a fork. Mind your fingers - the skins are tough so it works best to put all the pressure on one prong to make one hole, then apply even pressure across the fork when you know it won't slip.
Add the tomatoes.
And the dried lemons - I tried to sink them and anchor them under the meat but gave up because they always bob up to the surface ! Add enough water to just cover the meat. Stir in the salt, pepper and mint. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 30 minutes.
After rinsing and draining (and picking out any little stones or black peas), add the chana dhal to the pot. Simmer for another hour, adding a glass of water from time to time if necessary. The split peas will remain firm when they are cooked.
To serve, grill aubergine slices and lay on top of the stew. You can serve it with rice if you wish, but it didn't really need it.
Despite the exotic-sounding name, this is really family-friendly, hearty comfort food that I'll be adding to my list of go-to winter warmers.
*** Don't miss my country-by-country globecooking recipe index ! ***
If you want to try some more Iranian recipes, how about Mâst O Khiar?