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Baghala Polo -- Iranian Rice With Lamb, Dill and Lima Beans


Servings: 6-8

2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/4 inch slices
3 lbs boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and cubed
3 cups water
1 tablespoon salt
2 cups uncooked long-grain white rice
4 cups finely cut fresh dill
1 lb shelled fresh baby lima beans
8 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 teaspoon saffron, crushed and dissolved in 1 tbsp warm water


1 In a heavy 3-4 quart casserole, with a tightly fitting lid, melt the 2 tablespoons of butter over a medium heat.

2 Add the onions and cook for about 10 minutes or until the slices are browned.

3 You will need to stir them often.

4 Use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pan and onto a plate.

5 Set aside.

6 Working in batches, brown the lamb cubes in the remaining fat in the dish.

7 As they brown, take them out of the dish and put them on the plate with the onions.

8 Pour the 3 cups of water into the casserole and bring it to a boil, scraping to loosen any brown particles clinging to the dish.

9 Return the lamb and onion to the dish, add the salt and reduce the heat to low.

10 Cover tightly and simmer for about an hour or untilt he lamb is tender and doesn't show any resistance when pierced.

11 Transfer the onions, lamb and all the cooking liquid to a large bowl.

12 Set the casserole aside.

13 Preheat the oven to 350°F Bring 6 cups of water to a boil in a 5-6 quart saucepan.

14 Pour in the rice in a slow, thin stream so the water does not stop boiling.

15 Stir a couple times and boil for 5 minutes.

16 Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the dill and lima beans and drain in a fine sieve.

17 Ladle about half of the rice mixture into the smaller casserole and moisten it with 1/2 cup of the lamb cooking liquid.

18 Then use a spatula or spoon to spread the rice mixture to the edges of the pan.

19 Use a slotted spoon to return the lamb and onions to the casserole and smooth them over the rice.

20 Spread the remaining rice mixture on top.

21 Combine 2 tablespoons of the melted butter with 6 tablespoons of the lamb broth and pour it over the rice.

22 Bring the casserole to a boil over high heat.

23 Cover tightly and bake on a middle oven shelf for 30-40 minutes or until the beans are tender and rice has absorbed the liquid.

24 To serve, spoon about a cup of the rice mixture into a small bowl.

25 Add the dissolved saffron and stir until the rice is bright yellow.

26 Spread about half the remaining rice on a heated platter and arrange the lamb over it.

27 Cover the lamb with the rest of the plain rice and garnish with the saffron rice.

28 Pour the remaining 6 tablespoons butter over the top.

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