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BIRYANI

1/4 cup butter
2 onions, chopped
1" piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 Tbsp. coriander seed, crushed
1 tsp. cardamom seeds, crushed
1 tsp. peppercorn, ground
3" long cinnamon stick

1 lb. lamb, boneless, cut into bite-size pieces
4 oz. dried apricots, cut in half
4 oz. raisins
2 oz. cashew nuts
2 oz. slivered almonds
2 bay leaves
1 tsp. salt

2 cups chicken stock
2 cups uncooked basmati rice, (approx. 4 cups cooked rice)
3 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. saffron threads, soaked in 2 Tbsp. boiling water for 10 minutes
2 oz. pistachio nuts (or almonds or pecans)

Melt the butter in a large, heavy skillet. Lightly saute the
onions, ginger, and garlic for about 5 minutes--till the onions
are translucent. Add cumin, coriander, cardamom, peppercorns, and
cinnamon stick, and saute for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
Add the lamb cubes to the spice mixture. Saute for about 10 minutes,
until seared and brown. Add apricots, raisins, cashews, half the
almonds, bay leaves, and salt. Add the chicken stock, cover and
simmer until lamb is tender, about 35 minutes. Remove from heat
and discard bay leaves and cinnamon stick.

In a large casserole dish (3+ quart), pour 1 Tbsp. melted butter.
Put 1/3 of rice in the bottom. Sprinkle with 1/3 of the saffron
water. Cover with half the meat and fruit mixture. Add another
third of the rice and saffron water. Add the remaining meat and
fruit mixture, reserving the pan juices. Finish with a layer of
rice, sprinled with remaining saffron water. Pour pan juices over
the top. Sprinkly with pistachios, remaining alminds, and remaining
melted butter. Cover and bake for 20 to 30 minutes at 350 F.

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