13. Azerbaijan: Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit

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My last country that starts with an A! 1 letter done 25 to go! Azerbaijan also referred  to as “The Land of Fire” mostly because their old religion used to consider fire as a holy element and also because of The Burning Mountain a rare natural wonder in the Absheron peninsula. It burns all year round due to natural gas escaping from the ground. And with burn I mean flames! It should be spectacular sight!

  • There are 8,350 rivers in Azerbaijan, and all of them drain into the Caspian Sea
  • There main income is oils, they have a LOT of oil
  • SELFIE UTOPIA! Azeri people love taking pictures of themselves and love when you take pictures of them, especially men! But if you would like to take a picture of for instance an oilfield of a police officer of even his car that’s big NO GO!
  • Azerbaijan is a country of watermelons. But there is something very specific about they way  you eat watermelon there. Always with a white cheese and bread. And no this is not a typo

Over to the recipe. This week I made a lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit. It was really really good! Real comfort food. Tis recipe is for 4. The onions and the apricots make this dish really sweet. So best not to combine with a sweet wine to overcome it being too sweet.

Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit
Lamb stew with chestnuts and dried fruit

Ingredients: 500g of lamb meat (lamb shoulder of the bone), 4 big white onions, 1 large tablespoon of all spice  a handful of canned chestnuts, a handful of dried apricots, a handful of raisins, a few threads of safran, 1 spoon of turmeric, salt/pepper/, juice of 1 lemon, butter or any cooking oil other than olive oil

Put a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse. Chop the lamb into bite-sized chunks. Place in a pan of water and bring to the boil. Remove the foam that forms on top, then add the all spice. When the meat is soft, remove from the water. Keep the water you cooked the meat in! Pour boiling water onto the dried fruit and let is soak for 3-4 minutes and drain. Brown the softened meat in melted butter of oil (anything but olive oil) Cut the the onions in rings and fry them in butter. Add the meat and stir. Add the chestnuts, dried fruit, turmeric, and salt and peper to the meat and fry  for 3-4. Add a ladle of the bouillon from the meat, the saffron infusion and the lemon juice. Let it simmer for about an hour. Serve with rice

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