I created this recipe after we visited a Persian restaurant in Fredericton several years ago. My son fell in love with one of the dishes we had there called Gheymeh, which combined a delicious blend of split peas, eggplant, tomatoes, and potatoes. When we had it at the restaurant it was served with roasted eggplant on top, along with thinly sliced crispy potato fries. I decided to try my hand at doing something similar, in a one-pot format. I love that this recipe can be prepared in a slow cooker. When we have a busy afternoon I set the slow cooker (well in my case, Instant Pot) earlier in the day and dinner will be waiting for us when we get home.
This dish (and a lot of Persian dishes) traditionally use dried limes, but I was unable to find any locally so I have substituted lime zest and juice instead. If you can find dried limes you can skip the lime zest and juice and add them to the pressure cooker at the same time as everything else, letting the flavours blend together while cooking. I serve this dish on top of rice, usually with some turmeric and saffron as it gives the rice a vibrant yellow colour and compliments the flavours in the stew. I would add 1 tsp turmeric and a pinch of saffron, paired with a crack or two of pepper, a pinch of salt and a drizzle of oil. Saffron is admittedly expensive, I have tried using Mexican Saffron (aka safflower) and it works in a pinch, although I much prefer the vibrant flavour of Spanish saffron.
Split Pea Stew
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 large eggplant, peeled and cubed
3 shallots, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 Tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp turmeric
1 Tbsp sumac
2 tsp-1 Tbsp sea salt
½ tsp cracked pepper
2 bay leaves
1 cup yellow split peas
5 cups hot water
Zest of 1 lime
4-5 stalks kale, finely sliced (stalks included)
Juice from the zested lime
Set your Instant Pot to saute or warm a large pot on medium heat on the stovetop. Add olive oil, eggplant, onions and garlic and sauté until soft and fragrant, adding a splash of water as needed to prevent burning.
Add potatoes, tomato paste, turmeric, sumac, salt and pepper, and sauté for several minutes, until fragrant.
Stir in bay leaves, split peas, water, saffron, and lime zest. Separate your kale stalks and leaves, finely slicing the stalks and adding them to the pot. Set aside your finely sliced leaves. Bring the pot to a boil and then either lower to a simmer on the stovetop or set your Instant Pot slow cooker setting on high for two hours.
Add kale leaves during the last five minutes of cooking, and stir to combine. Finish the dish with lime juice and serve over rice.