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Iranian-style lamb shoulder with cranberry and pistachio spiced rice

Australian Gourmet Traveller recipe for Iranian-style lamb shoulder with cranberry and pistachio spiced rice.

By Alice Storey & Emma Knowles
  • 45 mins preparation
  • 7 hrs cooking plus soaking
  • Serves 6 - 8
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Iranian-style lamb shoulder with cranberry and pistachio spiced rice
The citrus notes from the sumac and dried limes beautifully complement the rich lamb. This is the perfect dish to share as a family feast.


  • 2 tbsp each cumin and coriander seeds
  • 4 garlic cloves
  • 2 tbsp ground sumac
  • 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp each ground cinnamon, cardamom and allspice
  • Finely grated rind and juice of 1 orange and 1 lemon
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ cup each finely chopped mint and coriander
  • 3 Spanish onions, cut into wedges
  • 1 lamb shoulder (about 2.5kg), bone in
  • 3 dried limes (see note)
  • 300 ml chicken stock
  • To serve: Greek-style yoghurt
Cranberry and pistachio spiced rice
  • 300 gm basmati rice
  • 30 gm butter, coarsely chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • ¾ tsp ground turmeric
  • ¼ tsp ground chilli
  • 50 gm dried cranberries
  • 30 gm currants, soaked in hot water for 30 minutes, drained
  • Pinch of saffron soaked in 150ml hot water
  • 40 gm each toasted slivered almonds and pistachios
  • ½ cup each coarsely torn coriander and mint


  • 1
    Preheat oven to 160C. Coarsely crush cumin and coriander seeds with a mortar and pestle. Add garlic and crush coarsely. Transfer to a bowl with sumac, cayenne, cinnamon, cardamom, allspice and rind. Stir in oil and herbs, season to taste, then set aside.
  • 2
    Scatter onions over the base of a large roasting pan, drizzle with oil and season to taste. Place lamb on top of onions and pat spice mixture on lamb to form a crust. Arrange limes around lamb, then pour orange juice and stock in pan and cover with foil. Roast until very tender and falling from the bone (5-6 hours).
  • 3
    For cranberry and pistachio spiced rice, soak rice in a large bowl of water for 30 minutes. Drain well, then par-cook in a saucepan of boiling salted water (10 minutes). Drain well, rinse under cold running water to refresh, drain well again and set aside. Heat butter in a casserole or wide saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté until tender (7-8 minutes). Add coriander, turmeric and chilli, and stir until fragrant (30 seconds). Add half the rice, stir, then spread evenly in pan. Cook without stirring until a golden crust forms on base of pan (10 minutes). Scatter with cranberries and currants, and pile remaining rice in the centre of pan to form a mound (do not stir). Pour in saffron water, cover and cook for 16 minutes), then set aside without uncovering to steam (5 minutes). Garnish with nuts and herbs, and serve with warm lamb and Greek yoghurt.


Note Dried limes are also known as black limes and loomi. Herbie's Spices and Gewurzhaus are both great online resources for spices, particularly those that are more out of the ordinary.
Drink Suggestion: Spicy red grenache. Drink suggestion by Max Allen