Stewed Lamb Shoulder, Green Almonds and Mint

Persian cooking fascinates me. It’s a cuisine that mixes sour, sweet and savory. Persian flavors make me think of cooking lamb and fresh green almonds. This recipe for Stewed Lamb Shoulder, Green Almonds and Mint is my take on a lamb koresht or stew.

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To prepare the stew, I use meaty lamb shoulder chops. This cut is both flavorful and lean. Don’t let the bones bother you. Cut what large chunks of meat you can from the bones then toss them into the pan to brown along with the meat. Crunchy green almonds benefit from an overnight soak, which plumps them before cooking. Although they do not break up during cooking, the green almonds do soften. When cooked, they resemble cubes of a firm vegetable. I think of their flavor and texture as a cross between zucchini, artichokes, potato and something more substantial. (The dish will be quite different but delicious if you substitute small whole potatoes for the green almonds. I recommend those half-dollar size potatoes that come in a variety of skin colors.)

Recipes in The Legendary Cuisine of Persia by Margaret Shaida inspired this dish.