Over the last week, the weather has certainly being toying with us recently. Here in Canberra, it was most definitely spring last weekend. It was still pretty cool at night but beautiful blue skies and 18°C (about 64°F). Then boom, today it is only going to be 13°C (about 55°F) and it has temperatures are back below freezing at night. I know for some of you who live in snowy climes this probably still seems like spring but for me it definitely feels like winter.
My garden certainly thinks it is spring. My Camellia is flowering beautifully and the daffodils are open. I love this part of spring – the flowers are starting to come out but the grass seeds are yet to do their thing and turn me in to a sneezing mess with hay fever.
The weather is still cool enough that I want warming foods but I am on the lookout for food that will also be great to cook in the warmer months and this Persian lamb with green pea and saffron rice is perfect for meeting those needs. The lamb will be great in summer as it doesn’t require that much cooking and the rice is not too heavy.
What I particularly liked about this recipe is that it suggests the rice side dish. Coming up with tasty side dishes is not my strong point and this one manages to include some vegetables along with carbs. The rice is beautiful as it takes on the salty flavours of the chicken stock and the prunes add a touch of sweetness.
That is not to say the lamb isn’t also fantastic – it is. I love citrus flavours with meat. Which is a bit surprising given I am generally anti-fruit and meat. No apricot chicken for me.
This is not the cheapest recipe to make as it does contain saffron which is expensive – not unsurprisingly when you read how many flowers it takes to produce one pound and that it is harvested by hand. I was lucky enough to buy some when I was on holiday in Turkey, where it is grown at least saving on shipping and other handling costs. And yes I did declare it to the nice people at Customs here in Australia who let me bring it in to the country.
To make this for one I used the following ingredients:
For the lamb
- 120g of lamb fillet
- 1 tsp of lime juice
- A dash of ground cinnamon
- 1/8 tsp of ground cumin
- ½ tsp of olive oil
For the rice:
- 1 tsp of olive oil
- ¼ onion cut in to wedges
- ¼ tsp of garam masala
- A few strands of saffron threads, soaked in ½ tbs of hot water
- 2 pitted prunes sliced length ways – I cut mine in to quarters
- 1/3 cup of basmati rice
- ¾ cup of chicken stock
- ¼ cup of frozen peas
- 2 tbs of flat leaf parsley, roughly chopped
I followed the recipe as given but keep an eye on the rice to see when the liquid has evaporated. My liquid had evaporated at about the 15 minute mark if not slightly earlier. Leave it too long and you will have burnt rice. My meat came out as a bit under medium-rare following the timings given in the recipe.
Not too much wastage for the single cook. A bit of lime juice will be wasted but that is about it as long as you keep your onions in the fridge and use in the next few days.
I am not sure what the calories are with this dish. The recipe gives the calories at 700 but myfitnesspal says 480 calories. I use less lamb fillet than given and less rice so that certainly helps. I use my standard portion sizes for protein and rice.