To celebrate Refugee Week 2019 (16 – 22 June), MRC Tas Catering Participant Zahra has kindly shared a favourite recipe of hers – a Persian specialty!
4 small dried limes
100g (31/2oz) flat-leaf parsley
100g (31/2oz) coriander (cilantro)
A few small sprigs of fenugreek (optional)
100g (31/2oz) baby spinach
Tender green inner leaves from 5 small leeks, or a handful of curly kale
5 tablespoons oil
2 onions, finely chopped
500g (1 lb) lamb neck fillet or lean shoulder, cut into large chunks
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
¾ teaspoon sea salt flakes
1 * 400g (15oz) tin borlotti beans or kidney beans, drained
1 – 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)
Cover the limes with hot water and weigh them down with a small plate. Leave to stand for a couple of hours. Strip the leaves from the parsley and discard the stems. Wash the herbs, spinach and leeks (or kale), and leave to dry.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy casserole dish and cook the onions until golden but not brown. Add the lamb and the turmeric and fry until the meat is browned on all sides. Pour over enough boiling water to cover the meat. Bring back to the boil, cover, lower the heat and braise for one hour.
Put a quarter of the greens in a food processor and chop finely. Repeat with the rest in batches. You could also do this by hand. Put the rest of the oil in a frying pan and fry the chopped greens until they are beginning to darken, but be careful they don’t burn. Add the fried herbs to the meat.
Rinse the limes, and cut a small slice from the top of each, or make a few slits in their sides, to help release the flavour. Immerse them in the stew and braise for another 30 minutes or until the meat is tender.
Add the salt and drained beans. Continue braising until the meat is meltingly tender and the sauce has thickened – about 30 minutes. Add the lemon juice (if using) and season with more salt if required then cook for 5 minutes. Serve with steamed rice.