Spicy braised lamb with apricots, pistachios and roast pumpkin

Neil Perry
Spicy lamb braise with pistachio nuts and roast pumpkin chunks.
Spicy lamb braise with pistachio nuts and roast pumpkin chunks. Photo: William Meppem
Dietary
Gluten-free

This is a great stew to serve on a cool day, perfect with steamed rice, a small pasta such as buttered orzo, or perhaps some steamed couscous. Chicken works well with these flavours too, just use thigh fillet and cook for a little less time than the lamb.

Ingredients

700g trimmed lamb shoulder

80ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra

2 brown onions, cut into 1cm dice

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1 tsp ground cumin

4 cardamom pods, split, seeds removed and crushed

1 tsp of mild chilli flakes

2 tsp sea salt

2½ cups chicken stock

6 dried apricot halves, halved again

1 tsp castor sugar

juice of two limes

¼ tsp saffron threads, dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water

1 large handful of mint

2 tbsp chopped roasted pistachios, to garnish

For the roast pumpkin

400g butternut pumpkin, peeled and cut into 3½ cm pieces

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Method

1. To make the lamb stew, cut the lamb into 4cm pieces. Heat the extra virgin olive oil in a heavy-based saucepan. Add the lamb in batches, stir over high heat until browned all over (about five minutes per batch) then remove from the pan. Add extra oil to the pan if need be, turn heat to medium, add the onion and stir until lightly brown (about eight minutes). Add the spices and sea salt and stir for one minute, or until fragrant. Add the stock.

2. Return the lamb to the pan and simmer over a low heat, covered, for one hour, stirring occasionally. Add the apricots, sugar, lime juice and saffron water. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, or until the lamb is very tender. Increase heat to medium-high, reduce braising liquid until it just coats the lamb (10 to 15 minutes).

3. To make the pumpkin, preheat the oven to 200C (180C fan-forced). Combine the pumpkin pieces with some sea salt and extra virgin olive oil. Put on a roasting tray lined with baking paper and bake for 20 to 30 minutes, or until just tender and lightly browned all over. 

4. Add the pumpkin and mint to the stew. Carefully stir through the mix. Spoon into a large bowl and sprinkle with roasted pistachios.