Yerevan Lamb Pilaff

An adaptation of an old Armenian recipe, Yerevan Lamb Pilaff is simply delicious served with Yogurt and Cucumber salad and a bottle of full-bodied red wine.

2 oz. seasoned flour, made with

2 oz. flour,

1 teaspoon salt,

1 teaspoon black pepper and

1 teaspoon grated nutmeg

3 lb. boned leg of lamb, cut into

1-inch cubes

1 oz. butter

2 fl. oz. olive oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1 teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground coriander

2 teaspoon ground ginger

3 tablespoons tomato puree

10 fl. oz. chicken stock

10 fl. oz. red wine

6 oz. long-grain rice, washed, soaked in cold water for

30 minutes and drained

2 oz. sultanas or seedless raisins

4 oz. cashew nuts, toasted

1 oz. very finely chopped almonds

Place the seasoned flour in a large shallow, dish. Roll the lamb cubes in the flour to coat them thoroughly, shaking off any excess. Set aside.

In a large flameproof casserole, melt the butter with the oil over moderate heat. When the foam subsides, add the meat cubes, a few at a time, and fry, stirring frequently, for 6 to 8 minutes or until the meat is golden brown all over. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the meat to a plate while you fry the remaining meat in the same way. Set aside and keep warm.

Add the onions, garlic, cumin, coriander and ginger to the casserole and fry, stirring constantly, for 5 to 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and translucent but not brown. Add a little more oil to the casserble if necessary. Return the meat to the casserole. Stir in the tomato puree. Pour over the stock and wine and bring the contents of the casserole to the boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover the casserole and simmer the mixture for 45 minutes.

Add the rice and sultanas or seedless raisins to the casserole and continue simmering for a further 15 to 20 minutes or until the lamb and rice are tender. Remove the casserole from the heat. Stir in the nuts. Serve immediately, straight from the casserole.

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