4 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 teaspoon ground coriander
small piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
900 g lamb, cubed
2 medium onions, sliced
½ large lemon cut into four
pinch of saffron or turmeric
salt and pepper, to taste
75g green olives stoned
100g laban/thick yoghurt (optional)
Heat the oil in a flame-proof pot and add the garlic, coriander, ginger and mix together. Add onions and lamb, stir well until the meat is seared. Add the lemon, saffron or tumeric, salt and pepper and water to cover.
Bring to the boil, reduce immediately and simmer gently until cooked, about 2 hours. Keep the casserole covered during this time, but stir the contents occasionally.
To thicken the sauce, remove the meat and allow the contents to simmer without a lid, as desired. Strain, then stir in the olives. Stir further then return the meat, warm and serve.
The addition of yoghurt makes this dish even more delicious. Just before serving, stir in the yoghurt and simmer, but do not allow to boil.
Christine Osborne: author of Middle East Cooking (Prion)
Image: Levantine Lamb dish with olives