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"maximum taste and enjoyment for the diner, and minimum effort from the cook - the perfect combination" - you are so right about that combo - apart from the fantastic flavours, it's a major draw of central Asian/Persian/Afghan cooking.

I cook a similar dish except the lamb stew is buried in a mountain cooked saffron rice and finished of in the oven. The rice soaks up some of those meaty, fruity, spicy juices and you end up with nuggets of lamb to be extracted like lumps of ore from a mine.

Thanks GW for your kind words - your dish sounds great fun - how long do you leave it in the oven?

Must try this sometime, am fascinated by Persian food (a Persian friend always asks why, she thinks it's terribly dull!) but you can't go wrong with lamb, cumin, cinnamon, apricots, prunes...

another cracking recipe Paul!

Lol Sig, the whole middle eastern food sector is fascinating and I reckon we in the west haven't even scraped the surface!

@Paul It's one i picked up from a book by Camellia Panjabi and adapt to whatever spices i have to hand. It's a great dinner party dish because you can do most of it beforehand, then assemble the ingredients and whack it in the oven to finish off whenever you like.

You three-quarter cook the rice firs with saffron and tumeric. Then, when you've made your lamb not-quite-stew/curry (it needs a thick coating of sauce, but not a gravy, you take an oven-proof pot and put half the rice in the bottom, embed the lamb on top of that and cover with the rest of the rice. Cover and cook on a low heat (about 150-160C) for about 20 mins.

I usually do this in my Creuset pot, but one day I'll try it in a tagine, that way i can get the mountain rather than open-cast mine effect

Helen, this dish sounds...delish! and semi-simple to make!

As for wine Bordeaux is the classic thing to do with lamb...but who likes classic?! But perhaps a merlot from Hawks Bay in NZ would go well...specifically from Gimblett Gravels...they tend to have a eucalyptus/mint characteristic with some good minerality too!

Otherwise I would go for Zin (I always have to add it in somewhere). I reviewed this guy a while back --->> and b/c of the fruit in the dish think it could go well --- http://spiltwine.com/2009/11/19/local-is-the-way-to-go/

Other wise try a Languedoc red -- something with Grenache and Carignan (also Mourvedre and Syrah) ask your local wine shop if they have one from Terrasses de Larzac it's a pretty safe regions when it comes to South of France.

hope that helps :-) speak soon

oh whoops! I thought this was aforkful site for some reason *emabarassed*

Paul, Helen asked me to recommend a wine for your dish here...I guess she'll be making it soon.

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