Have you ever eaten a dish from Azerbaijan? I had not. Thanks to Darya’s post, I have prepared this wonderful lamb stew with chestnuts and pomegranate. It is original and absolutely delicious. Of course I cooked the meat sous-vide, but if you don’t have the equipment you can cook it on the stovetop instead. With the red pomegranate seeds and green herbs this dish has the perfect look for Christmas as well. I am usually not a big fan of cilantro, but on this dish it works outstandingly well and I kept adding more cilantro while I was eating! Thank you Darya, I will definitely make this more often.
For 2 servings
300 grams (.66 lb) lamb neck or shoulder, in cubes
seeds from 1 pomegranate (click here to find out how to remove them)
100 grams (3.5 oz) cooked chestnuts
200 grams onion (1 large or 2 small), chopped
pinch of saffron threads, or a sachet of powdered saffron
2 Tbsp ghee (clarified butter)
1/2 tsp ground coriander seed
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Pat the meat dry with paper towels and season on all sides with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Brown the meat in 2 tablespoons of clarified butter on all sides, then set aside.
Add 200 grams of chopped onion to the pan with lamb drippings. Season with salt.
Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring, and making sure to include all the nice browned bits from the bottom of the pan.
Keep stirring until the onions are golden, about 10 minutes.
Put a pinch of saffron threads in two tablespoons of boiling water and allow to steep.
Blend about half the pomegranate seeds in a food processor…
…and filter the resulting juice/puree with a sieve to add pomegranate juice directly into the pan with the onions.
Add 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander.
Bring to a boil, stirring.
If not cooking sous-vide, at this point add back the lamb and cook over low heat, covered, until almost tender. Add 100 grams of cooked chestnuts, cook for 10 minutes, then add the saffron water and cook for a final 5 minutes.
To cook sous-vide, vacuum seal the lamb and onion mixture together with 100 grams of cooked chestnuts. Cook sous-vide for 24 hours at 74C/165F.
After those 24 hours, strain the juices from the sous-vide bag into a pan.
Add the saffron water and bring to a boil.
Cook, stirring, until reduced by about half.
Add the remaining contents of the bag, and stir for a couple of minutes over low heat until heated through.
Serve the stew on preheated plates and sprinkle with the remaining pomegranate seeds, fresh dill, and fresh cilantro.
I served it with rice and lentils.
Bernardus Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir 2012, 14.5% ABV, retails for around 25 euros
Nose: earthy, caramel, jammy fruit
Taste: full-bodied with very smooth tannins, hint of sweetness, high alcohol
Conclusion: good, although a bit less alcohol would have been nicer, ***1/2
Pairing: ***1/2, interestingly enough it works better when the stew is eaten with cilantro
Homemade ravioli are my signature dish, and I make many variations. These green ravioli with ham don’t only look great, they are also delicious.