Persian Lamb


1 – 1 1/2 lbs. lamb leg steak
1/2 medium yellow onion (sliced through the root)
1/4 – 1/2 cup pomegranate syrup*
4 oz. heavy whipping cream
20 – 40 mint leaves**
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Olive oil


Cut all silverskin and fat from the lamb. Remove the bone if it’s there. Slice the lamb on the bias into 2 inch pieces that are about ¼  inch thick.

Stack the mint leaves and roll into a cylinder, starting at the stem end and rolling up. Put something on top to hold in place and set aside. This will be used at the end of the dish.

Peel the onion and slice into half-moons, 1/4 inch thick.

Heat a large chefs pan (the one that look sort of like a flat bottomed wok) or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and add the onions.

Sauté the onions until they are soft and just beginning to color. Remove the onions from the pan and set aside in a bowl large enough to hold them and the cooked lamb.

Turn the heat to high. When the pan is hot, add another tablespoon of oil (if it seems there is not enough oil for the lamb, add as much as needed to cover the bottom of the pan with a good film of oil) and when it is hot, add the lamb.

Wait for the lamb to brown a little at the edges, then stir rapidly so the lamb is just barely cooked to rare, toss a little salt and pepper on it and then dump on top of the onions.

At this point you can turn down the heat a little (medium or medium-high) to give yourself a little leeway and avoid breaking the sauce. As you become comfortable with the recipe you may not want to bother.

Add the cream to the hot pan and stir to scrape the bits on the pan bottom. Watch for the cream to begin reducing. When it starts to thicken, add the pomegranate syrup to the cream. Reduce until the sauce just starts to leave a trail on a spoon back.

Add the onions and lamb. Give a quick stir and lower the heat to medium-low.

Take the cylinder of mint leaves and chiffonade them. This means to finely slice across the leaf cylinder to yield very fine shreds.

Season the dish with salt and pepper. Add the mint and give a good stir to incorporate the chiffonade into the dish.

Taste for balance. You might need to add a little more pomegranate syrup or possibly cream and perhaps some pepper. Serve over basmati rice, pilaf, or bulgur wheat.

* Volume depends on how much you like pomegranate. I love it and use the full 1/2 cup. Pomegranate syrup is available at Middle-Eastern and Indian markets, health food stores, and on occasion at Trader Joe’s.

** This depends on the size of your leaves and how much you like mint. It can be an accent or a large part of the dish. I love mint, and with the larger volume of pomegranate, the acid in the dish is raised, so the mint acts to cool the dish. Start lighter and then fine tune to your preference.

SOURCE: Recipe courtesy of Chef Andrew Cohen, Chef in Residence, Monterey Bay Certified Farmers Markets



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