What do you think of a recipe that begins with making french fries? You’ll want to make extra to account for the snacking you’ll do while cooking everything else. In fact, the day I photographed this I made fries with our lunch and prepared the khoresht for dinner. Khoresht is pretty much a term to encompass anything you’re making as a sauce or stew to serve with rice. Like lot of Persian cooking there are many steps but when you are in a food allergy household long cooking times stop being as big of an issue when you’re faced with the prospect of a new(ish) mix of the usual suspects: potatoes and rice. You can’t sub frozen fries here because I’ve tried, in the interest of shortcuts, and it just wasn’t the same.
See here for how to make Persian Rice (just make the white rice, omit the steps with the lima bean mixture). You could probably just serve this with your favorite style of rice if you prefer.
Knives, peelers, cutting board
Large pan for frying and large saucepan for the split peas
2 cups of dried split peas, rinsed and drained (you can soak these overnight if you like or start them dry)
2 very large russet potatoes (peeled and sliced into fries, soaked in hot tap water in a bowl for 10 minutes, then drained and patted dry)
11 large white mushrooms, sliced (you can use an egg slicer for this, here is my favorite that can handle mushrooms: (amazon affiliate link))
1 1/4 cups canola oil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 large onion, minced
2-3 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 teaspoon salt
Salt to taste on the fries
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 cups of vegetable broth (I use a tomato free version)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Take your rinsed 2 cups of split peas and put them into 9 cups of boiling water. You’ll want to skim the foam that comes to the top because you don’t want your pot to boil over. I believe it is just denatured protein coming off the split peas. Boil them until they are pretty much falling apart, from dried split peas without soaking this took 45 minutes. Drain and set aside. Wipe the pot you used to boil them, you’ll be making the khoresht in that pot.
While your split peas are cooking, prepare your russets for frying (you’ll also want to peel and slice your potatoes for tahdig if you’re making persian rice as mentioned above, you can also rinse and soak your rice right now, it just needs to soak for two hours at a minimum). Soak them in hot tap water for ten minutes, this is a tip from Cook’s Illustrated to get them crispy when they are cooked. Drain them and pat them dry. You’ll want to heat your oil on high and when the oil is hot you’ll add one layer of potatoes. Watch them, I start with high heat and then adjust one setting lower (on my electric stove) so they don’t burn or cook too quickly. It takes some practice to get them how you want them. When they are nicely golden, put them on some paper towels in a dish to cool, add salt while they’re still hot. A sprinkling will do. Continue until all your fries are made.
Now, remember the saucepan you wiped down? Heat it on medium high and swirl your tablespoon of olive oil around, add your minced onion and cook for a few minutes until they are soft. Now add your garlic and splices (turmeric, paprika, salt, pepper, parsley) and stir to coat. After a minute or two, add your sliced mushrooms. I read in Martha Stewart Living that you don’t want to stir mushrooms too much while they cook or they release their juices and don’t brown. So don’t stir too often but no big deal if you do. If things get sticky on the bottom of the pan, feel free to deglaze with a bit of water. Cook on medium now for 5-10 minutes until the mushrooms are cooked. Add your fries, if you think you’ve made too many, hold off on putting them all in and see how the pan fills with your other ingredients first. Now add your split peas, broth, and lemon juice, stir and bring to a simmer and adjust the heat so it simmers steadily. I put a lid slightly off kilter on the pot and reduce to low. Now let it simmer, stirring from time to time, for 2 hours. I told you this was a long one!
You can make this the day before and it will be great, an hour before you’re ready to serve, get your rice going (if you’re making persian rice as linked to above) and you’ll see that this sauce gets nice and thick. I know the pictures make all the beautiful fries look like they are hidden but the flavor is all there and the russets help thicken your sauce. My mom makes this with dried lemon and tomato in it as well but she helped me adapt this because we’ve been mostly tomato free because of R’s allergy.