Last night I had the lovely Abigail over for dinner and Doctor Who (The first three episodes of The Dalek Invasion of Earth.) and so I had a flick through my cookbooks to find something tasty to eat. This recipe comes from Purple Citrus and Sweet Perfume by Silvena Rowe and it looked lovely, so I though I’d give it a go. (Actually, I thought I’d blogged it before, but I can’t find it anywhere on my blog, so I obviously haven’t!) It’s a light Turkish stew and the combination of the lamb and the lemon flavours work really well.
It takes about an hour and a half, but it’s worth the wait and the flavours, although simple, are delicious. The recipe says to accompany it with ‘a simple pilaf’, so I had a look around on the BBC Website and found the pilaf recipe that I’ve done here, which complimented the flavours of the stew rather well.
For the Yiahni:
4 tablespoons of olive oil
800g of lamb shoulder, diced
24 spring onions, finely sliced
Zest and juice of two lemons
300ml of lamb stock
3 tablespoons of dry cherries
½ a large bunch of parsley, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts for garnish (I left these out as I’d included toasted pine nuts in the pilaf.)
For the pilaf:
250g of basmati rice
½ a teaspoon of saffron strands
2 tablespoon of orange flower water
25g of unsalted butter
1 tablespoon of sunflower oil
4 small shallots, trimmed and finely sliced
1 cinnamon stick
6 green cardamom pods
4 dried bay leaves
1 tablespoon of pine nuts
1 tablespoon of unsalted pistachios
1 tablespoon of unsalted cashews, halved
salt, to taste
1 litre of water
To make the Yiahni:
Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick pan. Brown the lamb for 3-5 minutes, turning regularly to ensure even cooking.
Then add the spring onions and cook for a further 5 minutes.
Add the lemon juice, zest and stock. Stir well to combine and then cover and simmer, on a very low heat, until the meat is tender.
Finally add the dry cherries and stir in the parsley.
Serve, topped with toasted pine nuts.
To make the pilaf:
Wash the rice in several changes of water to remove the excess starch until the water runs clear. Cover with fresh water and set aside to soak.
Lightly crush the saffron in a pestle and mortar, then pour over the orange flower water and set aside to soak.
Heat the butter and oil in a large saucepan and fry the shallots over a high heat until dark brown and crisp. Remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper.
Lower the heat and fry the spices and nuts in the remaining fat for a few minutes until they begin to change colour.
Drain the rice and add to the pan along with the salt, saffron and orange flower water. Cook, stirring constantly, for a few minutes.
Pour in the water and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a tight-fitting lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the rice is tender. Allow to cool slightly.
To serve, fluff up the grains of rice with a fork and sprinkle over the shallots. Remove the whole spices before eating.