Lamb and Apricot Pilaff

Recipe of the Week
Lamb and Apricot Pilaff
Courtesy of
Ivan Brown


1 pound lean boneless lamb, well trimmed and cut into bite sized cubes
1 cup bulgar (burghul) wheat (cracked cooked wheat)
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup ready-to-eat dried apricots, rinsed and roughly chopped
1/2 cup seedless raisins, rinsed
1/4 cup pine nuts or blanched almonds, toasted
1 onion, skinned and finely chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove, skinned and crushed
2 teaspoons tomato purée
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon powdered saffron or turmeric
Salt and pepper, to taste
3 cups water or lamb stock, divided
Fresh coriander leaves for garnish


Put the bulgar wheat in a large bowl, pour over enough warm water to cover, then leave to soak.

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a heavy flameproof casserole or saucepan. Add the cubes of lamb and cook over high heat until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on absorbent kitchen paper.

Lower the heat, add the onion to the pan and cook gently, stirring frequently, until soft and lightly coloured. Add the garlic, tomato purée, cinnamon, saffron or turmeric, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for a further 2 to 3 minutes, stirring, until the mixture gives off a spicy aroma.

Pour in 2 cups of water or stock and bring to the boil, stirring. Lower the heat, return the. lamb to the pan, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

Add the rice to the pan, stir once, then cover again and simmer for another 20 minutes.

Stir in the apricots, raisins, and 1 cup of boiling water or stock. Cover, and simmer for another 20 minutes or until the rice is tender and
has absorbed most of the liquid.

Meanwhile, drain the wheat with a fine sieve or a clean cloth to extract as much of the excess water as possible, then fold into the pilaff and heat through.

Arrange on serving platter or individual dishes and garnish with the toasted pine nuts and coriander leaves.

Serves 4 (with big appetites)

Preparation time – 15 minutes

Cooking time – 1 hour 20 minutes

You can substitute cubes of chicken for the lamb, if your prefer, but cook for only 5 to 10 minutes before adding rice.

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