Parsi lamb with apricots Judi Rose’s Recipe
South of Spain, the herby casseroles of Europe give way to the richly spiced tagines of Morocco and the khoreshthas of Persia which often combine meat with fruit. Further east, these transform into the complex curries of India and Bengal. Parsi cuisine blends Middle Eastern and Indian flavours, of which this fragrant, gently sweetand-sour dish of slow-cooked lamb and succulent apricots is a delicious example. Preparation time: 10 minutes Cooking time: 1 hour 15 minutes Serves 6-8. Refrigerate 2 days. Freeze 3 months.
PARSI LAMB AND APRICOTS Ingredients 1 large Spanish onion, chopped 3 tbsp sunflower or vegetable oil 3lb (1.3kg) boneless shoulder of lamb, cut in 1 inch (2.5cm) chunks 1 rounded teasp salt 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped 2 teasp grated fresh ginger, or 1 teasp powdered ginger 2 cinnamon sticks, or 2 teasp ground cinnamon 2 teasp ground coriander 2 rounded teasp medium curry powder About 600ml (1 pint) hot water 150g (5oz) ready-to-eat dried apricots 1 teasp brown sugar 1 tbsp cider or wine vinegar For garnishing: 55g (2oz) slivered almonds 2 teasp oil
finely Small handful of coriander leaves, roughly chopped (optional) Method
Heat the oil in a heavy sauté pan or enamel casserole and cook the onion until it is limp and golden.
Add the meat (in two batches if necessary so as not to crowd the pan) and continue to cook over high heat, stirring, until the meat is a goldenbrown and the onions are an even deeper colour, about 10 minutes.
Sprinkle with the salt, then add the garlic, ginger, coriander, curry powder and half of the cinnamon.
Cook, stirring, for a further 2 minutes to release their aromas.
Add enough hot water to just cover the meat. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer, covered, for 45 minutes, or until the meat is just tender.
Add the apricots, vinegar, sugar and remaining cinnamon. If the liquid in the casserole has reduced too far add a cup of boiling water.
Cover and simmer for another 15 minutes until the meat is meltingly tender and the apricots plump and soft.
The liquid should reduce to a rich, dense sauce rather than a broth. If it seems watery at the end of the cooking time, lift out the meat with a slotted spoon and boil down the sauce for about 5 minutes until the flavour has intensified, then return the meat to the pan and reheat before serving.
Check the seasoning — it should be slightly sweet-and-sour.
Sauté the almonds in the teasp of oil and a pinch of salt until golden and toasty for 2-3 minutes — take care to watch them, as nuts burn easily if left unattended. (If you prefer, you can toast the almonds without any oil.)
To serve, sprinkle the almonds and coriander over the lamb and serve at once with rice and a green vegetable or salad.