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Yakhnat (Persian Lamb Stew)

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Lamb, specifically the fat-tailed sheep, is the predominate meat in Persian cooking. Meat is rarely cooked in large pieces, rather it is cut into chunks. Typical of Persian cuisine, this dish uses less spices than stews of other Middle Eastern countries. Onions are a fundamental seasoning in this cuisine, while garlic is generally ignored.

Ingredients


1/4 cup vegetable oil
3 pounds boneless lamb or beef shoulder, cubed
4 medium yellow onions, sliced
4 cups (2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and chopped tomatoes ½ cup chopped fresh coriander or parsley
About 1½ teaspoons salt
Ground black pepper


Instructions

1. Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the lamb and onions and sauté until the meat is browned on all sides, 5 to 10 minutes per side.

2. Cover and cook over medium heat, stirring frequently, for 30 minutes.

3. Add the tomatoes, coriander or parsley, salt, and pepper. Cover and simmer over low heat, adding a little water if necessary, until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick, about 30 minutes. Serve with rice.

VARIATIONS:

Yakhnat Bamia (Persian Lamb and Okra Stew): Add 1 1/2 pounds stemmed (do not cut the pod) okra with the tomatoes.

Yakhnat Hummus (Persian Lamb and Chickpea Stew): Add 4 cups cooked chickpeas with the tomatoes.

Yakhnat Lubya (Persian Lamb and Bean Stew): Add 4 cups lima or green beans with the tomatoes.

Masbahat Darveesh (Persian Lamb and Vegetable Stew): Add 1 eggplant cut into 2-inch cubes, 3 medium potatoes cubed, 2 to 3 seeded and cubed medium green bell peppers with the tomatoes.

Lamb, specifically the fat-tailed sheep, is the predominate meat in Persian cooking. Meat is rarely cooked in large pieces, rather it is cut into chunks. Typical of Persian cuisine, this dish uses less spices than stews of other Middle Eastern countries. Onions are a fundamental seasoning in this cuisine, while garlic is generally ignored.