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Members' Recipes Archive

April 2000
Cinnamon Lamb with Aubergines - Arni Kanellas
Rosemary Barron

Cinnamon Lamb with Aubergines - Arni Kanellas

By: Rosemary Barron

Serves: 6

THERE'S no better time of year to enjoy lamb. For a change from our own classic lamb dishes, try this combination of flavours from Greece: sweet raisins and honey, perfumed cinnamon, and pungent vinegar and capers – all evoke the tastes of mediaeval Byzantine cooking. This is an ideal lunch or dinner party casserole, and it tastes even better if made a day ahead to allow the strong flavours a chance to mellow. Serve with a pilaf (plain, or with lentils) or new potatoes, and with khorta (wild greens) or a ‘bitter’ greens salad (rocket, watercress, endive, young spinach or purslane, or a combination).

Recipe adapted from Flavours of Greece, by Rosemary Barron, first published by William Morrow (NY), 1990 and Penguin, 1994. To be re-issued by Grub Street, June 2000.

Ingredients:

3 large aubergines (about 675 g/1½ lb)
Coarse sea salt
75 g/3 oz small dark seedless raisins
5 tablespoons aged red wine vinegar or 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar diluted with 2 tablespoons water
1.6 kg/3½ lb very lean lamb, preferably from the leg
115 ml/4 fl oz (Greek) extra virgin olive oil
2 large onions, quartered and thinly sliced
2 large cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 kg/2¼ lb ripe tomatoes, skinned and diced, juices reserved
1 tablespoon strong honey
Cracked black pepper to taste
½ tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon, or to taste

For serving:
1 bunch of flat leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh mint, leaves coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons small capers, rinsed, optional

Instructions:

  1. Trim off the ends of the aubergines and cut into 4 cm/1½ inch cubes. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons salt and set aside for 30 minutes to sweat.
  2. Combine the raisins and vinegar in a glass or china bowl and set aside. Trim off all fat and sinew from the lamb and cut into 4 cm/1½ inch cubes.
  3. Heat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4. Heat half the olive oil in a large heavy sauté pan and lightly brown half the lamb over medium heat. With a slotted spoon, transfer to a heavy casserole or pot. Repeat with the remaining lamb.
  4. Reduce the heat under the pan to low and sauté the onion until soft, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic, stir well, and transfer to the casserole.
  5. Dry the aubergines thoroughly with paper towels. Wipe out the pan, set it over medium-low heat, and add half the remaining olive oil. Add half the aubergines and fry until deep golden brown on all sides, about 12 minutes. Drain on paper towels and add to the casserole. Repeat with the remaining olive oil and aubergines.
  6. Add the tomatoes and their juices, honey, salt, pepper, coriander, 1 tablespoon of the cinnamon, and the raisins and vinegar to the casserole. Add 4 tablespoons water, cover, and bake 1 hour.
  7. Season the sauce with salt, pepper, and additional cinnamon to taste. There should be about 350 ml/12 fl oz of sauce ­ if there is more, leave the casserole uncovered; if less, add a few tablespoons water and cover. Bake 30 minutes longer.
  8. Chop the parsley, mint, capers and a little salt together just to mix. Serve the lamb hot or warm, piled high in a shallow serving bowl, with the parsley mixture sprinkled on top.
© recipe copyright 2001 Rosemary Barron

 

Author: Rosemary Barron Email:


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