There’s been a glut of new recipe books focusing on the flavours and spices of Persian cuisine recently, and who could fail to be bowled over by the brilliant “Persiana” by Sabrina Ghayour ?
I claim no expertise on the region, nor it’s cuisine, beyond a love of discovering it and eating it. So this is my humble, easy-to-make and relatively loose interpretation of a Persian Khoresh – or stew. Ideal warming comfort food as we navigate our way through a drizzly, dreary and chilly February. I’ve used a cheaper cut of lamb as many, including myself, are on a budget, but also as lamb neck contains so much flavour. I bought mine at the amazingly well-stocked and great value Penge Food Centre (a treasure trove of Persian ingredients!)
INGREDIENTS – makes enough for 2 people
- 4 lamb neck steaks – bone in
- 1 can of chopped tomatoes
- 2 small onions
- 2 cloves of chopped garlic
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander seed
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 1 tsp ground black pepper seeds
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- pinch chill flakes
- olive oil
- can of chickpeas
- coriander leaves, roughly chopped
- dried apricots, soaked for 10 mins in warm water
- salt and pepper
- water – as required
Chop the onions and garlic roughly. Heat a glug of olive oil gently in a deep, thick-bottomed casserole and brown the lamb neck steaks in the oil for 2-3 minutes, turning to ensure they are browned evenly. Remove and set to one side. Add the onions and garlic and sweat until soft. Add the spices, chilli flakes and the tomato paste to the onions and mix into a paste. Add the lamb neck back into the casserole. Cover with the chopped tomatoes and half the chopped coriander. Cover and simmer on a low heat for minimum three hours. After three hours, add the can of chickpeas and apricots, cover and simmer for a further 30 mins at least. The stew can simmer away happily for longer.
Serve with steamed rice, Iranian Lavash flat bread and garnish with fresh chopped coriander. This goes amazingly well with Ottolenghi’s preserved lemon and harissa relish.