Persian Lamb Casserole
When I was in Isfahan with my friend, Alireza Ardjmand, we had a spiced lamb stew with fruit in it. Ali said the fruit was pomegranate.This is my version using apricots.
750 gm lamb shoulder, off the bone, 2 cm dice
heaped tsp cumin
6 cloves8 green cardamon pods
2 tsps allspice seeds
3 cm piece of cinnamon bark
1 onion, finely sliced
3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
8 apricots, stoned and cut in quarters. Use fresh if in season, otherwise use dried, soaked in some hot water, if necessary
Use a casserole dish than can be placed on the stove.
In a frying pan, heat some olive oil and brown the lamb. Set aside.
In the casserole dish, heat some olive oil. Add the cumin seeds followed by the cloves, cardamon and allspice, all crushed. Fry for 2 min.
Add onion and garlic. Fry until translucent.
Add the lamb and stir well.
Heat some stock in the frying pan and scraping up any bits from the lamb. Add to the casserole.
Add the apricots.
Pour in enough stock to just cover everything.
Bring to the boil and place in a pre-heated oven at 180°C.
Cook until lamb is tender (60-90 min).
In Iran, the stew was served with rice and salad.