I had never made lamb before last night. I think I’ve eaten it twice in my life, both in the homes of Iranian people or Persian restaurants.
I have limited recollection of how I made this. I kept adding more and more spices until it tasted like food. Then I let it simmer for 3 hours on low, removing the (copious amounts of) grease from the top every half an hour or so. I didn’t measure anything. I may have spilled some of my wine in there. I think there’s some sugar. Here’s what I remember doing, mostly for my own benefit, so when I make it again, I’ll have a blueprint.
The night before, I juiced 2 limes and a lemon. I cut up as much of the lamb (about 2 1/2 lbs) as I could, but there was a lot of meat firmly adhered to the bones, so I didn’t get much in the way of chunks. I chopped up an onion, some garlic and some ginger. (Of course.) Put all of that into a ziploc bag, added some olive oil, turmeric, crushed red pepper, salt and pepper, and let it marinate overnight.
Then yesterday, I put the whole mess into a dutch oven (stock pot would work, too.) The marinade really did it’s job…the lamb was already starting to fall off the bone. Awesome.
I brought it up to a boil, then turned it down to medium low and let it cook for about an hour, checking in on it every 20 minutes or so, skimming grease off of the top.
After an hour, I added 4 cups of water to the pot, and turned it up again to high until it reached a boil. Then I turned it back down and let it simmer for another hour. I think I might have added some more salt, pepper, turmeric…and some tamarind at some point. Oh, and some cinnamon and cumin. Just because I could. Oh, and cardamom pods, crushed up. And fenugreek seeds. And coriander seeds. And some fenugreek leaves.
After the second hour, I stirred in a can of tomato paste and let it continue to simmer for another hour. At this point, it starts thickening up and looking more like people food.
This is where I tasted it. And it was tart. I mean, rilllll tart. So, I added some sugar. I don’t know how much. Enough to make it stop being so tart. Maybe a tablespoon.
After the third hour, I pulverized some saffron and mixed it with some warm water, then added it to the stew. Then a little salt and pepper, and then a little mint and parsley. Then I left it alone for another hour or so to reduce.
Served on basmati rice and tah dig, with some mint on the side.