Lamb with Dried Fruits

Lamb with Dried Fruits
Staff Writer
Lamb with Dried Fruits

Alan Benson

Lamb with Dried Fruits

When dates are being dried, they exude a thick, molasses-like syrup. The Iraqi cook adds some of this syrup when making this dish, but the addition of brown sugar gives a somewhat similar flavor.

Click here to see The Definitive Guide to Middle Eastern Cooking.

Ingredients

  • 1/4  Cup  ghee (clarified butter) or oil
  • 35  Ounces  boneless stewing lamb, cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • onion, chopped
  • 2  Cups  water
  • small cinnamon stick
  • noomi (dried lime), pierced twice with a skewer, or thinly peeled rind of 1/2 lemon
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1/2  Cup  chopped dates
  • 3/4  Cups  dried apricots
  • 3/4  Cups  chopped pitted prunes
  • 1/4  Cup  sultanas (golden raisins)
  • 2  Tablespoons  brown sugar
  • Steamed white basmati or long-grain white rice, for serving

Directions

Heat half of the ghee or oil in a large, heavy-based saucepan over medium-high heat and brown the lamb, in batches if necessary.

Return all of the lamb to the pan and push to one side. Add the onion and cook for 5 minutes. Add 1 cup of the water, the cinnamon, and dried lime or lemon rind. Season with salt, to taste, then reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes.

Meanwhile, place the dates in a small saucepan with the remaining water and heat until the dates soften. Press through a sieve to purée.

Add the date purée to the stew with the apricots, prunes, sultanas, and sugar. Stir, then cover tightly and simmer until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour. Check during cooking to ensure the fruit does not stick to the pan, adding a little more water if necessary.

Remove the cinnamon and lime or lemon rind. Serve hot, with a dish of steamed rice.

Nutritional Facts

Total Fat
57g
81%
Sugar
28g
31%
Saturated Fat
20g
83%
Cholesterol
215mg
72%
Carbohydrate, by difference
53g
41%
Protein
54g
100%
Vitamin A, RAE
162µg
23%
Vitamin B-12
6µg
100%
Vitamin B-6
1mg
77%
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid
58mg
77%
Vitamin K (phylloquinone)
7µg
8%
Calcium, Ca
161mg
16%
Choline, total
12mg
3%
Copper, Cu
1mg
0%
Fiber, total dietary
4g
16%
Folate, total
40µg
10%
Iron, Fe
11mg
61%
Magnesium, Mg
80mg
25%
Manganese, Mn
1mg
56%
Niacin
14mg
100%
Pantothenic acid
2mg
40%
Phosphorus, P
528mg
75%
Riboflavin
1mg
91%
Selenium, Se
28µg
51%
Sodium, Na
397mg
26%
Water
217g
8%
Zinc, Zn
9mg
100%

Lamb Shopping Tip

Look for meat that is bright red. Red meat turns paler as the hemoglobin within releases oxygen – a sign that the meat has been sitting too long at the butcher's counter.

Lamb Cooking Tip

When browning meat, resist the urge to move the meat – you must allow a flavorful crust to form over high heat. Once it has formed, the meat should slide freely with the shake of a pan.

Lamb Wine Pairing

Most red wines, especially cabernet sauvignon, but also including cabernet franc, mourvèdre, Rhône blends, zinfandel, petite sirah, nebbiolo, nero d'avola, primitivo, barbera, and sangiovese.