Adriana's Symi Recipes

Greek recipes from the island of Symi.

Lamb and Orange Khoresh

This is an autumn and winter favourite of mine and always goes down well at dinner parties. The orange trees from my garden make their own contribution and I know that they haven't been sprayed with anything sinister. I found the original recipe in Diana's Henry's delicious book, 'Crazy Water, Pickled Lemons' but had to adapt it to suit what is available here on Symi, and the fact that I do most of my cooking in the winter on a cast iron wood burning stove which, unlike the posh AGAs of Western Europe, tends to be a bit idiosyncratic. Mind you, I should imagine there are plenty of Iranian housewives out there cooking on much the same kind of stove.

Lamb and Orange Khoresh

3 oranges
40 grams unsalted butter
10 ml caster sugar
olive oil
675 grams lean lamb cut from the bone into 3-4 cm cubes (I use frozen New Zealand lamb for this as the local lambs don't have that much meat on them - and cost a fortune!)
2 onions, finely chopped
5 ml ground cinnamon
seeds from 3 cardamom pods, finely ground
275 ml fresh orange juice
juice of one lime (I use a lemon as limes are hard to find here)
275 ml vegetable stock
salt and pepper
3 carrots
handful of fresh mint leaves
10 ml orange flower water (optional but actually quite nice)
25 grams shelled pistachios, roughly chopped or slivered (pine nuts or blanched almonds will do at a pinch)

Remove the peel from the oranges with a fine peeler so that you leave all the pith behind. Retain the oranges for below. Cut into fine strips, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, cook for two minutes and then strain. Heat half the butter in a small pan and add the orange rind. Stir, then add the sugar and cook for a couple of minutes until the sugar has melted and the rind is slightly caramalised. Set aside to cool.

Heat 30 ml olive oil in a heavy casserole. Fry the lamb cubes in batches so that they are browned on all sides. Set aside.

Add 15 ml olive oil plus the rest of the butter to the pan in which you browned the lamb. Saute the onion in this until transluscent but not brown. Add the cinnamon and cardomon and cook for a minute. Add the juices, stock and the lamb with any juices off the plate. Season and bring to the boil. Turn down to a simmer and cook over very low heat for about an hour. I usually put the pan on a trivet so that it is not in direct contact with the heat as it is difficult to damp down the fire far enough without it going out altogether.

Peel the carrots and cut them into thin sticks. Remove the pith from the oranges and cut the oranges into neat segments with a very sharp knife. Add the carrots for the last 20 minutes of the cooking time. Add the oranges for the last 10 minutes. Sprinkle half the mint over the lamb when you turn off the heat.

Stir in the orange flower water, garnish with the remaining mint, the orange peel and the pistachios.

Serve with a big bowl of Basmati rice.


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