Green pea stew is one of the most common stews in Turkish cuisine. It was usually made in the summer months when the peas are in season and deliciously fresh. However, with freezers becoming staple households people start to pod them and freeze for the winter months. And, no, canned peas are really not a thing in Turkey. The green pea stew is made in three different ways: vegetarian, with ground meat (it’s waste of peas if you ask me), and with stew beef. When it is made in the summer, the stew is usually accompanied by cacık, yogurt mixed with minced garlic, grated cucumbers, fresh dill, a bit of olive oil and water, a sauce similar to tzatziki). However, it’s good with just plain yogurt as well.
1/2 lb stew beef
1 lb fresh podded green peas (you can use frozen peas as well)
2 carrots, diced or halved about 1/3 or 1/4 inch thick
1 big or two medium potatoes, peeled and diced
1 medium onion, diced (I love red onions in stews, but any kind is fine)
3-4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
3 tomatoes, grated or diced (fresh tomatoes or great but 1 can diced tomato would do as well)
1 tbsp tomato paste and 1 tbsp pepper paste (available at Middle Eastern stores-if you cannot find it double the amount of tomato paste)
1/2 bunch fresh dill, finely chopped
3-4 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper
-Heat olive oil in a cast iron pot or a heavy bottom pot on medium heat. Add stew beef and cook until it releases and absorbs its juice-approximately 15-20 mins.
-Add onions and garlic and cook 5 minutes.
-Add carrots and tomato&pepper pastes and stir for another five minutes.
-Add tomatoes (or canned tomatoes if you’re using them) and bring to a boil.
-Add potatoes, peas (see the note below), 1/3 of the fresh fill and hot water just enough to cover them all.
-Salt and pepper to your taste.
-Once it boils, cover and simmer on low for an hour.
-Sprinkle the remaining fresh dill on top and serve with white or brown rice or a crusty wholesome bread.
Note: I love using fresh peas. I buy them in pod from a local market and pod them or buy them fresh and podded (I like Trader Joe’s Fresh English peas!) But you can definitely use frozen peas as well. If so, add them to the stew half an hour before you turn it off.