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Rice with Lamb Casserole

(Roz Tajin)

Serve this with plain yogurt or yogurt and cucumber.

1-1/2 lbs. lean lamb, diced
2 medium onions, quartered
1/2 cup butter or olive oil
1 tsp. cinnamon
4 Tbs. pine nuts or chopped almonds
2 Tbs. tomato purée
Salt and black pepper
2 cups long-grain rice, washed and drained
2-1/2 cups boiling water

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Sauté the lamb and onions in the butter or oil in a heavy frying pan over low heat until the meat is almost tender. Stir in the cinnamon and nuts and sauté until the nuts are lightly browned. Stir in the tomato purée, season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer the mixture to the bottom of a heavy casserole. Distribute it evenly and spread the rice over the top. Pour in the boiling water. Cover and transfer to the preheated oven. Bake for 1 hour or until the rice is tender. Place a large serving dish over the top of the casserole and invert the contents of the dish. Serves 6.

Variation: Add 1 Tbs. fresh chopped mint or 1 tsp. dried mint to the pan with the tomato purée. Fifteen minutes before the end of the baking period sprinkle grated cheese over the contents of the casserole and continue baking.

From "Recipes for an Arabian Night" by David Scott

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