Alastair Hendy's Saffron Lamb with Chickpeas


Have ready a lidded heavy casserole pot, 3-4 litre capacity. Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4.
Trim off any excess fat from the lamb, cut the meat into 4cm-5cm chunks and season these all over.

Peel and finely chop the onion. Using a swivel peeler, peel the orange and lemon into wide ribbons of zest, leaving the pith behind. Juice the fruit and reserve the juice.

Heat the oil in the casserole pot and brown the lamb in batches, leaving any fat in the pan and setting the lamb aside. Add the onion to the pot and fry for 2-3 minutes until softened.

Add the cinnamon, saffron liquid, citrus peel and juice, and some seasoning. Put the lamb pieces back on top and pour in enough water to half cover (about 200ml). Bring the pot to a gentle bubble on the hob, then put on the lid, place in the preheated oven and leave to braise
for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, scrub or peel the carrots and slice them thickly. Drain and rinse the canned chickpeas. When the lamb has braised for 1 hour, stir in the carrots, drained chickpeas and dried apricots. If necessary add a little more water to maintain the liquid level, return to the oven and continue braising for 1 hour more.

After this time, check the lamb, which should be tender. If you feel it needs longer, return to the oven until done when tested. Season well before serving with lemon juice. Scatter over chopped fresh mint or coriander and serve with rice or flatbread.

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