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Khoreshe Gheymeh

2 pounds stewing beef or lamb cut into 1/2 inch cubes or smaller
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 - 3 cloves garlic chopped finely (optional)
1 large can whole or crushed tomatoes or use 2 pounds fresh
1 - 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
1/2 cup yellow split peas
1 pound Idaho potatoes
3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
1 tsp. turmeric
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
4 - 5 dried lemons
Lots of vegetable oil for frying

Fry the onions in about 2 Tbsp. of oil over med/high heat till they
are lightly golden. Add the meat, raise the heat to high and keep
frying till all the juices are absorbed. If you want to add any
garlic, it may be added at the same time as the meat.

When the juices are absorbed, add the spices (salt, black pepper,
turmeric, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper) and fry for a minute or so
(don't over fry). Add the canned tomatoes and bring to a simmer.
If you use whole tomatoes, cut them into big chunks.

Break the dried lemons into small pieces and discard the seeds as
best as you can. Add the dried lemons and yellow split peas and
simmer gently for about 2 hours, or till the meat is done to your
satisfaction (fork tender). If the sauce looks too thin, add the
1 - 2 Tbsp. tomato paste to thicken it. If the sauce is too thick,
add water as needed.

While the meat is simmering, make the french fries. You want to
have the french fries ready when the meat is done so don't start
too early. I like to make the fries thinner and shorter than one
usually sees in restaurants.

When the meat is done, the sauce should be thick. Serve the stew
in a large bowl with the fries spread over the stew.

Serve with hot basmatti rice.

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