Spring means lamb, and spring means rhubarb, reliably one of the first ripe crops of the new season. While rhubarb is most often used in sweet preparations, with sugar and other fruits mellowing its sharp acidity, I love it in savory dishes, where it provides a blast of tanginess akin to lime, and a distinct fruitiness that can be sorely missed on a low-carb diet. In this dish the rhubarb helps lighten our braised lamb, which might seem like a heavy winter stew without it. We finish the dish with a fistful of fresh herbs, which gives the dish an exotic fragrant character redolent of its Persian origin.
Persian Lamb & Rhubarb Stew
- 2 lb lamb shoulder, cut into 1” chunks
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 medium onion, diced
- 2 ribs celery, diced
- 6 cloves garlic, chopped
- 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 quart unsalted bone broth or chicken stock
- ½ bunch parsley
- 4 sprigs mint
- 2 sprigs basil
- 4 stalks rhubarb
- Salt lamb. Pre-heat oven to 325 F.
- Melt butter in a dutch oven over high heat. Sear the lamb on all sides, working in batches as necessary so as not to crowd the pot, until every piece of lamb has been nicely browned on all sides.
- Remove lamb from the dutch oven and turn down heat to medium-low. Add onion, celery, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, turmeric and coriander.
- Sauté on medium-low heat until vegetables have softened.
- Add bone broth and browned lamb to dutch oven. Turn heat back up to high.
- Roughly chop most the parsley, reserving a few large pinches for garnish, and add to stew.
- After the stew reaches a boil, cover and place in oven. Braise for 2 hours or until tender.
- Taste and add salt if necessary. If the stew seems too thin, reduce over medium heat until it reaches the desired viscosity. If stew is too rich, add water to thin it out.
- To prepare the rhubarb, turn on broiler.
- Slice rhubarb into bite-sized pieces. Toss with remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and place on a pan or cookie sheet lined with foil. Broil rhubarb until slightly soft and nicely colored.
- Mix broiled rhubarb into lamb stew.
- To serve: pick mint and basil leaves, and tear or roughly chop. Garnish with remaining parsley, mint and basil.
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