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Persian lamb couscous

  • 340 g (12 oz) boneless lean leg of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into cubes
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh root ginger
  • 2 onions, halved and thinly sliced
  • 1 fresh red chilli, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 pinches of saffron threads
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 100 g (3½ oz) stoned dates, sliced
  • 600 ml (1 pint) lamb stock, preferably home-made
  • salt and pepper
  • seeds of 1 small pomegranate to garnish
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) lamb stock, preferably home-made
  • 400 g (14 oz) couscous
  • 15 g (1/2 oz) fresh coriander, chopped
  • 25 g (scant 1 oz) pistachio nuts, roughly chopped
  • Heat a large non-stick saucepan and fry the cubes of lamb, in batches, until browned all over. Lift from the pan with a draining spoon and set aside.
  • Add the oil to the pan, then add the garlic, ginger, onions and chilli. Fry, stirring frequently, over a low heat for 10 minutes.
  • Return the lamb to the pan, together with the saffron, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon and paprika. Cook for about 30 seconds, stirring well, then add the dates and stock. Season to taste. Cover and simmer gently for 1 hour or until the lamb is tender.
  • About 15 minutes before the lamb is ready, prepare the couscous. Heat the stock until boiling, then add the couscous and return to the boil. Remove from the heat, cover tightly and set aside to soak for 10 minutes.
  • Fork the couscous through lightly to fluff up the grains, then toss in the coriander and pistachios and pile onto a warmed large serving platter. Spoon the lamb on top of the couscous, sprinkle with the pomegranate seeds and serve immediately.