Looking for something slightly different for Easter dinner?

The Canola Council of Canada recently published a recipe collection called “Spice Route:  A Journey of Global Flavors”.  The recipes were developed by Raghavan Iyer, a well known cookbook author and culinary educator.

The following recipe is a sample from that collection.  It’s easy to make, filled with flavour and the cilantro garnish adds a touch of colour that reminds us that spring is just around the corner :)!

Persian Lamb Stew with Dried Apricots

Serves 8  Serving Size:  1 cup


1/4 cup (60mL) coarsely chopped firmly packed fresh mint leaves
2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped fresh ginger
2 Tbsp (30 mL) finely chopped garlic cloves
1 1/2 tsp (7 mL) coarse kosher or sea salt
1 tsp (5 mL) cumin
1/2 tsp (2 mL) turmeric
1/2 tsp (2 mL) cayenne pepper
1 1/4 lbs (625 g) boneless leg of lamb, fat trimmed off and discarded, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
1/4 cup (60 mL) canola oil
4 cups (1 L) finely chopped red onion
1 cup (250 mL) dried apricots
1 cup (250 mL) water
1 Tbsp (15 mL) firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Tbsp (30 mL) malt or cider vinegar
1/4 cup (60 mL) finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves and tender stems


  1. In medium bowl, combine mint and all spices; mix well. Add lamb and toss to coat with marinade rub. Refrigerate, covered, for at least 30 minutes or overnight, to allow meat to absorb flavors.
  2. Preheat wok, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Drizzle canola oil down its sides. As soon as oil forms shimmering pool at bottom, add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, stewing onion in its own juices, about 5 minutes. Once liquid evaporates, reduce heat to medium and stir-fry until onion turns honey-brown with deep purple hue, 15 to 20 minutes.
  3. Add lamb and apricots and raise heat to medium-high. Cook, stirring frequently, until meat sears and starts to brown, 8 to 10 minutes. Some canola oil will separate from onion and lamb, and glisten on top of mixture. Apricots will start to soften a bit. Add water and stir once or twice. Once mixture boils, almost instantaneously, reduce heat to medium-low, cover wok and simmer, stirring occasionally, until lamb is fork-tender, about 30 minutes. Transfer lamb, apricots and onion to serving bowl and leave behind some sauce in wok.
  4. Stir brown sugar into wok. Heat from sauce will melt sugar. Pour sauce over lamb and stir in vinegar. Sprinkle cilantro over stew and serve.


Per Serving:  260 kcal, 12 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 55 mg cholesterol, 22 g carbohydrate 3 g fibre, 19 g protein, 510 mg sodium.

For more recipes from the Spice Route Collection go to http://canolainfo.org/recipes/collections.php?detail=57