Saturday, August 18, 2012

Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Rice, Saffron, and Mint

Don't be intimidated by the length of this recipe. It involves a little planning, but comes together with relatively little effort and the results are more than worth it. This dish is rich and flavourful. The rice came out perfectly and the lamb incredibly tender.

One year ago: Shrimp with Basil-Peanut Pesto
Two years ago: Couscous with Broccoli and Walnuts

Yogurt-Marinated Lamb with Rice, Saffron, and Mint (from 660 Curries)

450g boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed and cut into 1" cubes
1 cup plain yogurt
1/2 cup firmly packed mint leaves, finely chopped
1/4 cup firmly packed cilantro, finely chopped
2 tbsp ginger paste
1 tbsp garlic paste
2 tsp ground kashmiri chiles or 1/2 tsp cayenne + 1 1/2 tsp sweet paprika
1 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp Punjabi garam masala
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
1 cup basmati rice
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter
1 tsp cumin seeds
2 black cardamom pods
2 bay leaves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 small red onion, cut in half and thinly sliced
1/2 tsp saffron threads
1 tsp coarse salt
2 tbsp ghee or unsalted butter, melted
2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves for garnish

1. Combine lamb, yogurt, mint, cilantro, ginger paste, garlic paste, chiles, salt, garam masala, and turmeric in bowl. Toss to coat lamb. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 3 hours or overnight.
2. An hour before you're ready to start assembly, place rice in medium-size bowl. Fill with water. Rub the grains, drain, and repeat 3 times until water remains clear. Fill with cold water and let sit at room temperature for 1 hour. Drain.
3. Heat ghee in medium-size saucepan over medium-high heat. Add cumin seeds, cardamom, bay leave, and cinnamon sticks. Cook until they sizzle and smell nutty, 15 - 20 seconds.
4. Add onion to spices and stir-fry until light brown around edges, 3 - 5 minutes.
5. Stir in saffron. Add rice and toss to coat grains.
6. Pour in 1 cup cold water, add salt, and stir rice once. Bring to a boil and cook until water evaporates from surface and craters form, 3 - 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
7. Heat oven to 350F. Grease medium-size casserole dish.
8. Spread lamb and any remaining marinade across bottom of casserole dish.
9. Drizzle melted ghee on top of lamb.
10. Add rice mixture on top of lamb and ghee. Cover and place in oven. Bake until rice is cooked and lamb is tender, 1 hour.
11. Serve topped with mint. Eat around the whole spices.

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