A Beautiful Stew of Lamb with Apricots

Meat with fruit is a favourite of mine and lamb with apricots is a tried and tested classic recipe. There are many versions ..here is mine. A spicy, autumnal, uplifting, warm-the-heart and lift-the-spirit stew. Tender, spicy lamb, with sweet apricots. Something to look forward to when the weather gives us little enthusiasm. Don't be put off by the big list of ingredients here ..it is mostly spices and seasoning. This is very easy to put together and then you can allow the oven to work its' magic. This can be made ahead of time (and, as with all stews, is better for doing so) and also frozen.




  • SERVES 4
  • 1 kg Diced Lamb Shoulder
  • 1 Cinnamon stick
  • 1 teaspoon Ground Cinammon
  • 2 tablespoon Paprika (unsmoked)
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cumin
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Tumeric
  • 4 Cardamom pods, lightly crushed
  • 400g tin Chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon Tomato Puree
  • 500 ml Stock (a good chicken stock cube)
  • 2 tablespoon Honey
  • A thumb sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
  • 1 teaspoon Saffron strands
  • 2 Onions, finely chopped
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, finely chopped/ minced
  • 500 g Dried Apricots
  • A preserved Lemon or zest of one fresh lemon
  • A small handful of mint leaves, finely chopped
  • A handful of coriander leaves, finely chopped, plus a few sprigs to garnish
  • 2-3 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper to taste


one. Put the lamb into a bowl, add all the dry spices and mix together well. Cover and leave to stand in a cool place for at least 3 hours and preferably overnight.

two. Heat the oven to 160Âșc. Heat the olive oil in a deep, heavy-based casserole dish, add the seasoned meat and fry to brown on all sides. Do this in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding and steaming the meat instead. Remove using tongs or a slotted spoon when it is browned nicely on all sides.

three. Add the onions and garlic to the pan and fry gently, over a low-to moderate heat for 5-10minutes, until softened but not brown. Move around the pan regularly and add a little more oil if necessary.

four. Add the tomato pure and stir. Continue to cook for a further 30 seconds before adding the stock, honey, saffron, apricots and chopped tomatoes. Season with a grind of salt and pepper, give everything a good stir. Return the lamb to the casserole, turn up the heat and let it bubble for a minute or two.

five. Put a lid on, transfer to the oven and slowly cook for 2.5-3 hours.

six. When it is ready, remove from the oven, stir in the fresh coriander and mint. Cut the preserved lemon in half, discarding the pulp, finely chop the skin and stir into the casserole./ Alternatively, grate the lemon zest into the stew and stir.

Serving Suggestion. Cous Cous or Rice

Possible Amendment.