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May 29, 2016 / 21 Iyar, 5776
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Lamb Pilau with Apricots

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This is a delicious rice pie with the lamb filling sandwiched between two layers of rice. It is flavored with my favorite Sephardi spices – cinnamon, saffron, nutmeg and coriander. I like to make it for a mid-week dinner as it can be prepared in advance and reheated or for a Sunday supper when the family are all home, hungry and ready for a tasty meal. The secret to the success of this recipe is the slow cooking of the lamb in the spices, which blends the fl avors together.

Serve it with a cabbage either steamed or boiled.

Preparation Time: 20 minutes; Cooking Time: 2 hours 30 minutes; Serves: 8


2 ½ pound cubed shoulder of lamb

2 cups white basmati grain rice

2 cups dried apricots

2 onions – peeled and roughly chopped

1 cup raisins

1 tablespoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon nutmeg

1 teaspoon dried cilantro

2 ½ cups boiling water

½ cup red wine

10 threads of saffron

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and ground black pepper – to taste



Sprigs of cilantro

6 radishes – sliced




1. Season the cubed lamb with salt, pepper, cinnamon, cilantro and nutmeg.


2. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Sauté the onion until just golden. Add the lamb and cook nicely brown all over.

3. Add the saffron to the boiling water and pour into the skillet. Add the red wine, apricots and raisins, cover and cook slowly for 1 1/2 hours.

4. In a separate saucepan cook the rice and drain 5 minutes before it is completely cooked. Grease an oven dish large enough for 8 people with the remaining olive oil.

5. Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.

6. Put in half of the rice spooning it evenly over the base of the oven dish.

7. Spread the meat mixture over the rice. Cover with the remaining rice.

8. Cover the dish with some aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes.

To serve the stylish way:

Garnish with sprigs of cilantro and sliced radishes.

Denise Phillips

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