Here is another wonderful Iranian recipe from Sharzad Mohit, my friend Lorna's former mother-in-law. The loomi (dried limes) have a wonderful tangy, slightly bitter, fermented sort of flavor - Lorna raved about how delicious they are. I searched Albuquerque for dried limes, and found them at San Pedro Mart, a truly fantastic middle eastern restaurant housed in an old mini-mart. Seriously, this place is worth checking out. Their falafel is extraordinarily delicious, super-crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.
1 ½ lbs lamb or mutton
2 c water
2 c water
1 c yellow split peas
1 small onion, diced
4 – 5 loomi (dried limes), or lime juice
2 Tbs tomato paste
1 ½ lbs potatoes
Salt and pepper
Chop the lamb into bite-size pieces and sear it on high heat in a wide skillet (you may have to do two batches to get nice browning). Deglaze the pan with water. Cover and cook the lamb gently with 2 cups water on medium heat for about an hour - just simmer lightly, don't let it boil vigorously.
After cooking the meat about an hour, lightly fry dried yellow peas in oil. Add these to the stew, then fry the onions until golden brown. Pierce the dried limes or cut them in half. Add onions, tomato puree, and dried limes (or lime juice) to the stew. Cook another hour or so, stirring occasionally, until the meat falls apart easily.
Chop the potatoes into pieces about the same size as the meat, fry them in lots of oil, and season with salt. Serve separately, or add to the stew just before serving. Serve with saffron rice. Serves 6.