I love the negligence you can show this dish, and it ends up being a simple, comforting crowdpleaser every time. All she needs is a potter on the stove and the occasional stir. The trick is blitzing the onion and spices in a food processor and liberally coating the lamb in the mixture. Let it sit for a few hours then slap into a Dutchie with everything else and leave her alone. It freezes like a dream and a few days in the fridge gives it an even deeper depth of flavour.
2 onions, peeled
3 tbsp coriander seeds, toasted
3 tbsp cumin seeds, toasted
1 tbsp fennel seeds, toasted
4 garlic cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 large rolled lamb leg, deboned (about 1.8kg without bone), chopped into extra-large bite-sized pieces
¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup pomegranate molasses
2 tbsp brown sugar
3 dried dates, pitted and chopped
500ml red wine
500ml beef stock, plus extra as required
½ cup tinned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1½ tbsp olive oil
½ tbsp sumac
1 cup Greek yoghurt
½-1 tbsp ground cumin
rice, pita bread or cous cous
1. Blitz the onions, toasted spices, garlic and cinnamon in a food processor. Scoop into a large bowl with the lamb and olive oil and turn to coat. If you have time, let it sit in the fridge for a few hours, even overnight.
2. Bring the meat to room temperature before cooking.
3. Place a Dutch oven over medium heat and once hot, add the lamb in batches, browning the meat on all sides, 2-3 minutes. Return all the meat to the pan and add the remaining ingredients. Turn the heat to low and simmer for 4-5 hours, giving it the occasional stir to prevent the meat from catching, and adding more stock if it is beginning to dry out. It's ready when the lamb has broken down and the sauce has thickened.
4. For the chickpeas, heat the one and a half tablespoons of oil over low heat in a frying pan. Add the chickpeas – be very careful, they will spit. Add the sumac and stir to coat. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until crisp.
5. Mix the ground cumin through the Greek yoghurt to taste, and set aside.
6. Serve the lamb topped with crispy chickpeas, cumin yoghurt, pistachios, pomegranate arils and a scattering of coriander leaves, along with rice, pita bread or cous cous. If delivering to friends, keep the elements separate and include suggestions for adding a carb element.