Our chef André has created this tasty lamb pilaf and given it a hearty boost with the addition of lentils. The type of fibre found in these lovely little legumes has fantastic benefits for heart and digestive health, as well as keeping blood sugar levels stable. And of course it's delicious as well as good for you, fragrant with spices and a subtle sweetness from the dried apricot. Enjoy!
Chicken Stock Powder
Put a large frying pan on medium-high heat and add the lamb mince. Use a wooden spoon to break it up and brown for 8-10 mins. Meanwhile, halve and peel the red onion. Chop half into roughly ½cm pieces and slice the other into thin half moons. When the lamb has browned, add the ½cm pieces and cook until softened, 5 mins. Then add the ras-el-hanout and half the turmeric and cook for 1 minute more.
Add the basmati rice to the pan and stir to make sure it gets nicely coated in all the spices. Then add the water (amount specified in the ingredient list). Bring to the boil, add the chicken stock pot and stir to dissolve. Lower the heat to medium and pop a lid on. Cook for 10 mins then remove the pan from the heat and set aside for another 10 mins. The rice will finish cooking in its own steam. This is your pilaf!
Whilst your pilaf cooks, finish off your last few jobs. Peel and grate the garlic (or use a garlic press ). Chop the dried apricots into ½cm chunks. Pick the mint leaves from their stalks and chop as finely as you can (discard the stalks). Drain the lentils in a colander, rinse under cold water and set aside.
Put a splash of oil in another frying pan over medium heat. Add the onion slices and cook until softened, 5 mins. Stir frequently to make sure they don't burn. Add the baby spinach and cook for 2 mins before adding the garlic. Cook until the spinach has wilted completely then stir in the lentils. Carry on cooking until the lentils are piping hot. Season to taste with salt and black pepper and set aside.
Put the yoghurt in a small bowl and mix in half the mint and a pinch of the remaining turmeric. Season with salt and black pepper then set aside. When the pilaf is ready, fluff it up with a fork, then carefully add the lentil mixture and dried apricots along with the remaining mint and a squeeze of lemon juice. Taste and add more salt, black pepper or lemon juice if you fancy.
Serve the lamb pilaf in deep bowls with a generous dollop of minty yoghurt. Enjoy!