We got hold of some locally raised mutton the other week, and the first thing I made was this, so delicious. I love Persian food, and this recipe is just wonderful, so subtle and warming. It should be served with barberry rice, (zereshk polo), but we had it with plain rice, because I didn’t know at the time.
The recipe is from Maryam Sinaiee’s book, Nightingales and Roses. All of the recipes I have tried from this book have been easy to follow, and delicious. She also writes a food blog called The Persian Fusion, which has a good gluten-free section as well.
- 1 large head of cellery
- 100g flat-leaf parsley
- 80g mint leaves
- 6 tbsp vegetable oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- 500g lamb or mutton, cut into chunks (preferably lamb neck fillet or lean shoulder, but I had a bit of leg)
- 1 tsp turmeric
- 1 tbsp plain foulr
- 1/2 tsp salt
- juice of half a lemon
- black pepper
- Heat 2 tbsp oil in a heavy casserole dish, and fry the onions over a moderate heat, until they start to brown
- Add the lamb/mutton and the turmeric, and fry until lightly browed on all sides.
- Pour over boiling water, to cover the meat by a couple of centimetres. Bring to the boil, and then lower the heat so that the lamb/mutton can cook for the next hour.
- Next up, prepare the herbs. Remove any tough-looking stems from the mint and parsley, and add any leaves from the celery. Put them in a food processor, or slice finely. This makes quite a mound of chopped herbs.
- While the lamb continues to cook, cut the celery stalks into 2 centimetre pieces. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan over a medium heat, and add the celery along with 2 tbsp water, and cover. The celery should cook for about half an hour, until almost soft and beginning to brown at the edges.
- Once the meat has been cooking for an hour, add the cooked celery pieces with all their juices.
- In the frying pan, heat another 2 tbsp oil, and add the herbs and flour, stir and cook for 4-5 minutes, making sure that the herbs don’t burn. Add the cooked herbs to the stew.
- Bring the stew back to the boil and cook for another hour (possibly an hour and a half) – the meat should be really tender and the sauce should be thickened.
- Add the lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste, cook for a further five minutes.
Serve with rice; I will test out the Zereshk Polo recipe soon.