I got the idea to try this out when a friend mentioned to me that he'd been to a Persian restaurant here in town and had this stew made with dried limes and that it was amazing. 'Dried limes' was all I needed to hear. I love trying out new foods from various parts of the world, so I immediately started looking around online for more info on them. I got my hands on some dried limes and looked up a few Persian recipes here and there to get a feel for what went into a Persian dish, and then I got myself some some goat and some beer and came up with a winner of a recipe on my very first try. In fact, I've since been to that Persian restaurant my friend told me about and have tried that stew made with dried limes and I much prefer mine. —Bodie
red bell peppers, diced
chick peas, cooked (canned is fine)
omani (dried limes)
apricot ale (optional, but recommended)
dried apricots, chopped
sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons
1 1/2 teaspoons
chick pea flour (besan)
1/4 - 1/2 cups
pomegranate molasses, optional
fresh fenugreek, cilantro, and/or mint, for garnish
(Note: I used an 8 qt. pressure cooker for cooking the goat in this recipe. If you don't have one, the process is the same, it'll just take longer.)
If your goat is very bony (i.e. you're not using steaks) you'll want to blanch it for 5 minutes first. Drain the blanching liquid and then put the meat/bones in the pressure cooker, cover with a couple inches of water and let it get up to full pressure. Turn the heat down and let it cook on low pressure for 15-20 minutes. Release the pressure however you like, then drain and save the liquid. When the meat cools, you can fairly easily pull all the meat off of the bones. Before you return the meat and reserved liquid to the pot, pour in a little olive oil and sauté the garlic and ginger in it. Add the turmeric and let cook for about 20 seconds, then deglaze with balsamic vinegar. Add the goat and reserved cooking liquid. At this point the goat is only covered by an inch or two of water so you'll want to add more water, up to about the middle point in an 8 qt. pot.
Add the dried apricots, sun-dried tomatoes, and apricot ale. Take the dried limes (piercing them in 1 or 2 places first, but be careful as they can be brittle), cardamom pods, star anise, and cinnamon stick and put them in a spice bag, then add to the pot.
Add in the rest of the spices. (Toasting them first will add more depth, but it will still be fine if you don't.) If you're using whole spices (which you should be) you'll definitely want a coffee grinder, or at least something other than a mortar and pestle, to grind them; most of them are no problem, but annatto seeds are hard. Really hard. I gave up after about 5 seconds in the mortar. Just wasn't worth it.
Bring just to a boil, then turn it down to a simmer and let it go for about 45 minutes. When you're nearing the end of that time, start your chickpea flour roux, mixing equal parts besan and olive oil and cooking over medium heat until the raw taste has been cooked out. Be aware that besan needs a bit more time to cook than regular flour, since it's very, very raw tasting. You'll definitely want to let it cool enough to taste it before adding it to the stew, just to be sure. When it's ready, mix it in and let simmer for 20 minutes.
Goat meat can be tough, so you'll want to test a piece for doneness before adding the veggies since you don't want them to overcook. When you think it's close to being done, sauté your carrots/peppers/onions, deglaze with more balsamic, and then add them to the pot along with the chickpeas. Add a shot of pomegranate molasses, if using. When the goat is nice and tender, and the veggies too, you're good to go.
Goes well by itself, but is good with flatbread, or especially over rice. Fresh fenugreek leaves make a great garnish, if you can find them. They don't have an especially strong flavor, but they smell like snap peas, or fresh garbanzo beans. (A friend thought they smelled like walnuts, but I didn't really pick up on that.) Lacking that, mint is nice, and cilantro is especially good.
(If you can't get- or don't want- goat, substitute lamb. Pork or beef would be next on my list, or even vegetarian, but chicken doesn't really work well in this.)