Ghormeh Sabzi – Persian Green Stew

Ghormeh Sabzi

So. Is this really ghormeh sabzi? The truth is, I don’t know, but I doubt that it’s the real thing — at least as far as my few Persian friends might think. That said, this is a Persian green stew, and it comes out with all the lamb and herbal essence you might look for in a good stew. So have at it folks. This is a winner, even if it’s not all that authentic.

Apart from the typical lamb, onions, herbs, they key ingredients, as is often the case with Persian dishes, is the dried limes. You need these and their easy enough to get on Amazon and probably some other places. You can’t have a Persian dish like this one, without the limes, and no, fresh limes aren’t the same thing. Not by any stretch. They add a nice little slightly sour taste to the stew that I’ve never encountered anywhere else.

This recipe works really well over ordinary white rice and uses lamb shoulder, which generally is pretty inexpensive, at least as lamb goes.

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Special Lamb Tagine

lamb tagine

A lamb tagine is always a special treat around our house, but this time around, I’m happy to say that I now have a new Instant Pot and so we have a new dish and a new pot and, well, here goes…

So let’s start with the Instant Pot. I’ve had my eyes on a pressure cooker of some kind for quite a while now, and then a friend showed me this pot and I was hooked. First, it does the pressure cooking very well and that’s really the reason for having one. On the other hand, you can use it to saute meat, make rice and I’m just learning how to do a whole bunch of other things, too. It’s going to be fun.

This first time out, I wanted to do something I could challenge the machine to do well and to have something I’ve done in a traditional way, just so I could compare the two and compare the two dishes. That’s where the lamb tagine comes in. It’s a traditional kind of simple lamb dish with onions, prunes and a whole lot more and, I’m happy to say, the dish comes out about as perfectly as I could imagine. The big difference? Instead of taking a whole afternoon to make the recipe, it turned out in under thirty minutes or so.

Instant pot wins this one, for sure!

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Lamb Chops with Ham, Garlic and Basil

lamb chops with ham, garlic and basil

Lamb chops are one of those dishes you can go to with very little trouble and yet produce a spectacular dish — one that will keep company coming back time after time or just satisfy a family. First of all, good loin or center ribs are probably the best a lamb has to offer and yet, served on a plate or on a center dish, they look just delicious.

This lamb dish has a great deal going for it. It can be done in a frying pan. It  doesn’t require much except a little ham (this time from a Honey-Baked ham) but you could also use pancetta to make it just a bit more Italian. The rest is just some olive oil, plenty of garlic and a little basil. The result is unpredictably good, maybe one of the best lamb chop meals I’ve ever made, and with so little effort.

Just make sure you’ve got the pan really hot at the end and that’s all that’s needed.

Add these on a plate of roasted Brussels sprouts and you’ve got a great meal.

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Lamb with Browned Butter and Garlic

lamb with browned butter

This is another quick way to do something special and nice, but lamb with browned butter needs nothing but some good lamb, browned butter and garlic. You really can’t mess this up.  Perhaps the only trick is to use enough garlic to get it where you want it, and that probably takes more than you think. And just a little fresh basil at the end sends it right to the top. 

If you’ve never worked with browned butter, there is a little quirk that really helps, which is to pay close attention to the temp range. A little too low and nothing much happens, a little too high, it gets brown and what I like to think of as “muddy” in a real hurry. So pay attention to the pan and adjust temps as needed to keep it right in that stage where it browns very nicely and you’ll be just fine.

The lamb chops really take care of themselves — a long blast on either side and you’re done. Maybe the whole dish takes maybe seven minutes or maybe just a bit longer, remove the lamb and add a little basil, then pour the browned butter over the chops and you’re done. Seriously, it takes more time to make the noodles than it does the lamb.

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Lamb Chops in Balsamic Vinegar and Herbs

lamb chops with balsamic vinegar and herbs

Lamb chops, done right, are a real joy to  have on the table. They are quick to make, and with only that little effort, can be a fantastic main dish or even a simple great appetizer. These lamb chops with balsamic vinegar and herb dressing are a perfect example of just that. They made us a great meal, but could also have made — one or two at a time — a perfect way to start a meal, as well. 

The lamb chops them selves are just covered in herbs (rosemary, thyme and basil) and allowed to sit for half an hour or more, then simply sauteed until they’re done in whatever fashion you like. Those herbs left over, some balsamic vinegar, some chicken broth and some capers are basically all that’s needed to finish the dish.  Rally, that’s all there is to it. Maybe you’ve got an hour in the dish, most of which is just waiting for things to happen (or while you finish something else in the kitchen). 

End result? Well, if you like a great  taste of lamb without a whole lot of anything else, you’re in luck here. The herbs add just the right amount of a nice touch to the meat, and the vinegar is like a nice little draft of something that’s just a little interesting, but not overwhelming the rest of the food. In other words, it gets a good thumbs up here at Discovery Cooking.

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Stifado of Lamb

stifado of lamb

Stifado is one of many things you can find often in Greece, although in my limited purview in the states, it’s something you rarely see here. It’s what I would call a braise, but using red wine and red vinegar rather than broth or water as the liquid. The stifado of lamb is a perfect option.

I’m told by those who do some travel in Greece that you can find stifado with almost anything that can be braised, which accompanies a lot of things, if you really think of it. The lamb stifado is done using stewing lamb (basically shoulder) and given long enough in the braising liquid, it works out really well. The spices used are quite pronounced and they really add a great deal to the dish, especially the cloves and cinnamon. Served with a little bit of orzo or maybe some rice, it’s great.

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Lamb and Mint-Garlic Marinade

lamb and mint-garlic marinade

There are plenty of beef-heavy grilling recipes, but I’m sometimes just brought up a little short at the lack of really good lamb recipes, so I decided to offer up a great lamb and mint-garlic marinade, made just for the grill. This one takes only a few minutes to make up the mint-garlic preparation a little early to give the lamb a chance to soak in the marinade, but otherwise, it’s a great non-steak alternative.

Lamb can, of course, been a  tad pricey sometimes, but if you keep your eyes open, you can often find it at prices that compete with other grilling staples and occasionally, it often becomes at a pretty good discount. They key for this recipe, however, is to use a good leg of lamb that’s had a nice chance to sit in the marinade awhile. That’s really the big difference here. At a minimum, figure it for at least two hours in the marinade, but I find that letting the lamb  sit overnight is the best way to do it.

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