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    Paula Wolfert's Spicy Lamb and Rice-Stuffed Apricots

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    Paula Wolfert's Spicy Lamb and Rice-Stuffed Apricots

    Well-travelled US food writer Paula explains, "This is from Turkey, where it's made with baldo rice. This is a bit like arborio, but Turkish cooks wash it to remove starch so that the stuffing remains light, rather than mushy. Delicate basmati is a good substitute. Serve with salads as part of a buffet."

    • Preparation time: 35 minutes
    • Cooking time: 30 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 5 minutes 60 minutes 5 minutes

    Serves: 6

    Ingredients

    • 18-24 pitted dried apricots or prunes, as large as possible
    • 1½ tbsp olive oil
    • 140g minced lamb or beef, with some fat
    • 50g white rice, such as basmati, soaked in freshly boiled water for 20 minutes, rinsed and drained
    • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
    • Salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper
    • 2 tbsp granulated sugar
    • 20g butter

    Method

    1. Soak the fruit in warm water for 10 minutes. Transfer the liquid and fruit to a pan. Bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 minutes, and drain.
    2. Meanwhile prepare the stuffing. In a small frying pan, warm the oil, add the meat, and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Remove from the heat and slowly stir in the drained rice. Cool. Add the cinnamon, and season with pepper and plenty of salt. Mix well.
    3. Put 100ml water and the sugar in a small pan. Bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat. Meanwhile, slit open the dried fruit and fill with stuffing.
    4. Melt the butter in a pan big enough to take the fruit in one layer. Take off the heat. Add the fruit. Pour in the sugared water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat a little, and cook for 5 minutes. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and cook for 30 minutes, turning the fruit once (you want it to caramelise slightly, so lift the lid occasionally to release steam). Remove from the heat and leave for 10 minutes - don't remove the lid, the fruit will absorb the steam and plump up. Serve warm or cold.

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