Serves 6 to 8

  • 1/4 cup regular olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and roughly chopped, to give 2 cups loosely packed
  • 1 long or 2 short cinnamon sticks
  • 2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and minced
  • 1 Tbsp. finely grated fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 2 tsp. ground coriander
  • 1 tsp. ground allspice
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • A pinch of ground cloves
  • 4 to 6 cardamom pods, cracked open
  • 2 3/4 pounds boneless lamb neck or leg, diced for a stew
  • 2 1/4 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 1/2 cups soft dried apricots
  • 1 (14-ounce can) canned, diced tomatoes
  • 3 cups cold water
  • 2 tsp. (or to taste) sea salt flakes or kosher salt
  • Cilantro, for serving


    Preheat the oven to 325°. Warm the oil in a large Dutch oven or ovenproof saucepan that has a lid over a medium heat, then add the onions and cinnamon stick (or sticks). Cook gently for about 10 minutes, stirring every now and then. When the onions have softened and are beginning to color a little, add the minced garlic and ginger. Stir in the cumin, coriander, allspice, paprika, cloves and cardamom pods.

    Tip in the diced lamb and turn in the spiced oil, coating all the pieces well, then add the potatoes and turn them too. Drop in the dried apricots, pour in the canned tomatoes, then swill the tomato can out with some of the water and tip it into the pan. Add the rest of the water, stir in the salt, and bring to a boil. Once it's bubbling, clamp on the lid and cook in the oven for 2 hours.

    Check that the lamb is tender and, if not, return to the oven for another 15–30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand for 10 minutes, then give a good stir as this will break up the potatoes a little, thickening the sauce. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve in shallow bowls, scattering a little more cilantro over as you go.

    From At My Table: A Celebration of Home Cooking (Flatiron Books) by Nigella Lawson.

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