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Persian Lamb Stew
Persian Lamb Stew with Apricots
- ¼ cup coarsely chopped, firmly packed fresh mint leaves
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped fresh ginger
- 2 Tbsp finely chopped garlic cloves
- 1½ tsp coarse kosher or sea salt
- 1 tsp cumin
- ½ tsp turmeric
- ½ tsp cayenne pepper
- 1¼ lbs boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed off and discarded, cut into 1-inch cubes
- ¼ cup canola oil
- 4 cups finely chopped red onion
- 1 cup dried apricots
- 1 cup water
- 1 Tbsp firmly packed dark brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp malt or cider vinegar
- ¼ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems
- In medium bowl combine mint and all spices; mix well.
- Add lamb and toss to coat with marinade rub.
- Refridgerate covered, for at least 30 minutes or overnight, to allow meat to absorb flavors.
- Preheat wok well-seasoned cast-iron skillet, or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
- Drizzle canola oil down its sides. As soon as oil forms shimmering pool at bottom, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, while it stews in its own juices, about 5 minutes.
- Once liquid evaporates, reduce heat to medium and stir-fry until onion turns honey-brown with deep purple hue, 15 to 20 minutes.
- Add lamb and apricots and raise heat to medium-high.
- Cook, stirring frequently, until meat sears and starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Some canola oil will separate from onion and lamb, and glisten on top of mixture. Apricots will start to soften.
- Add water and stir once or twice.
- Once it boils, which will be almost instantaneously, reduce heat to medium-low, cover wok and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is fork-tender, about 30 minutes.
- Transfer lamb, apricots and onion to serving bowl and leave behind some sauce in wok.
- Stir brown sugar into wok. Heat from sauce will melt sugar.
- Pour sauce over lamb and stir in vinegar.
- Sprinkle cilantro over stew and serve.