Persian lamb stew recipe

John Gregory-Smith
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Persian lamb stew recipe

The earthy smell of saffron evokes the windy souks, sweet mint teas, colourful spice markets and beautiful mosques that inspired me to make this wonderful Persian stew. The saffron and cinnamon are all you need to provide a real depth of flavour and the honey and apricots lend just the right amount of sweetness, which works perfectly with the lamb. This stew is rich but light and full of flavour from such amazing spices.

At a glance
  • Cuisine Persian
  • Recipe Type Main
  • Difficulty Medium
  • Preparation time 15 mins
  • Cooking time 120 mins
  • Serves 4 people
Ingredients
  • 500 g (17.6oz) Lamb leg, cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 2 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Large onion, finely chopped
  • 400 g (14.1oz) Tinned chickpeas, washed and drained
  • 1 pinch Saffron (4-6 strands)
  • 1 Cinnamon stick (1 inch)
  • 1 tbsp Honey
  • 100 g (3.5oz) Dried apricots
  • 1 pinch Sea salt
  • 1 pinch Freshly ground black pepper
  • 600 ml (21.1fl oz) Boiling Water
To serve
  • 0.5 Lemon (juice)
  • 1 handful Parsley leaves, chopped
  • 300 g (10.6oz) Steamed rice

Step-by-step

  1. Season the meat with a really good pinch of salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a large flameproof casserole dish over a medium heat, then add the lamb in batches and cook, turning occasionally, for 10 minutes until browned all over. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
  2. Add the onion to the pan and stir-fry for 3-4 minutes, or until it starts to turn golden. Return the lamb to the pan and add the chickpeas, saffron, cinnamon and 600ml freshly boiled water, which should be enough to just cover everything. Season with a good pinch of salt and pepper and gently mix together. Bring to the boil, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer gently for 1 hour, or until the meat is cooked through and tender.
  3. Add the honey and apricots, increase the heat to medium and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced a little.
  4. Remove from the heat, cover and set aside for 5-10 minutes for the stew to rest a little before it is served. Pour over the lemon juice, then scatter over the chopped parsley and serve immediately with steamed rice.

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