I can’t remember where I first heard about this dish, but I was in a Sardinian frame of mind and I had lamb, I had saffron and I had potatoes. It tastes kind of like a Mediterranean goulash.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 kg boneless lamb shoulder, diced
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped into 3cm cubes
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
- 5 garlic cloves, crushed
- 200 ml passata (sieved puréed tomatoes) or 200 g canned chopped tomatoes, puréed
- 2 tsp dried Greek oregano (rigani, see Note) or 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh oregano
- ¼ tsp saffron, soaked overnight in 1 tbsp boiling water
- 500 g (about 3 medium) waxy potatoes (such as Dutch cream), peeled, cut into chunks
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Soaking time overnight
Heat 2 tbsp oil in a casserole pan over high heat. Add about half the diced meat and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon and repeat with the remaining meat, adding a little more oil if necessary. Remove meat from pan and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, add remaining oil, then add onions and cook, stirring, for 4 minutes or until just starting to brown. Add the chopped parsley and garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
Return the browned meat to the casserole pan with the passata, oregano, saffron and 500 ml water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to scrape any yummy brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Season with salt and pepper. Cover with lid, reduce heat to very low and leave to simmer for about an hour. Alternatively, transfer casserole pan to an oven preheated to 150°C and cook for an hour.
Add the potatoes, pushing them down into the sauce, and cook until both the potatoes and lamb are tender. The lamb will probably need another 30 minutes at least, but it does depend a lot on the age and breed of the lamb. Check for seasoning, adding more if needed, then serve.
• Dried Greek oregano (rigani) is available from select delis and greengrocers.
Photography Alan Benson
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