It's one of those dishes whose ethnicity is hard to pin down. Is it Indian, Turkish, Middle Eastern? All of these ethnic groups have recipes with rosewater. Oh well, it really doesn't matter.
For the sake of categorizing, I am saying this is Middle Eastern food. It has a nice balance of sweet and savory; it is absolutely amazing.
Lamb Stew infused with rose water is probably one of the most interesting rose water dishes I have attempted. I mean, there was Pistachio Cookies as well as Rose water lemonade, but neither proved as challenging as this one. Too much rose water and you might as well be eating, well, a rose! Don't get me wrong, it's not hard to make, it's just very important to have the right balance. Although rose water has a strong scent, its taste is very delicate.
Don't add the rosewater too soon! The rose water is added at the very end of the cooking process. It's such a delicate touch that you definitely don't want to cook it off. I like to serve it with basmati rice instead of a regular white rice. Basmati rice tends to have more flavor. Also, if you are on a Paleo diet, pair this stew with a cauliflower mash.
One of the things I love the most about this Lamb Stew infused with rose water is the diversity of ingredients: lamb, apricots, cherries, rose water, almonds. By the way make sure the almonds are blanched. You certainly don't want almond skins floating in your stew. Not pretty!!!
Step by step photos:
- Gather all the ingredients for your lamb stew and have them measured, chopped and ready to go.
- In a large Dutch oven heat the olive oil on medium heat and add the lamb cubes. Sprinkle the lamb with the salt, and cumin. Optional: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the lamb if you want a thicker broth.
- Add the onions and stir fry until the meat begins to brown.
- Pour in the beef broth and add the parsley then turn the heat to low and cover.
- Whisk together the water, honey and pomegranate juice.
- Pour in the honey mixture to the pot. Cover and simmer for 40 minutes.
- After 40 minutes add in the blanched almonds, apricots and cherries. Stir them in and simmer for 10 more minutes. Note: To blanch the almonds place them in a sauce pan with boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain, cool in cold water then remove all the skins. As I mentioned earlier, you don't want a bunch of almond skins floating around your stew (not pretty) so blanch them and remove the skins.
- Stir in the rosewater and allow the stew to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Frequently asked questions:
- How long can I save the lamb stew? You can store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in an airtight container.
- Can I freeze lamb stew? Yes, you must completely cool the soup before freezing. Store in airtight containers for up to 4-6 months. For single servings, freeze portions in a muffin tin and pop out the frozen rounds and store in freezer bags.
- How do I reheat the stew? Reheat the stew in the microwave for 2-3 minutes and stop to stir every 30-45 seconds until hot. Once reheated do not cool and store again in the refrigerator, consume it right away. So only reheat the amount you will consume.
Now, you might be asking yourself, can I make this with regular beef? Well, sure! Remember a recipe is just a suggestion. I happen to love lamb because I find its taste a little richer than beef. I love the smell of this dish simmering on the stove on a cold day.
If you like the exotic flavors of Middle Eastern food here are some of my favorites you can print or bookmark for later.
Middle Eastern lentil soup is a simple soup that has lots of rich flavors and little lemon juice.
Zatar or za’atar is a spice blend you can easily make at home for dipping oils, sprinkle on hummus or toasted pita bread.
A salad to try would be a traditional Middle Eastern style tabouleh or tabbouleh that consists of lots of parsley along with bulgur wheat, mint, tomato and onions. You will love the bright flavors in this dish!
Chicken shawarma is a dish you can make on the grill or pan sear with small pieces of chicken, a tasty spice bend and then wrap in a pita with a tomato, onions and top with a yogurt sauce.
Lamb Stew Infused with Rose Water Recipe
Here is a Turkish and or Middle Eastern style lamb stew infused with rose water. The dried apricots, cherries, pomegranate juice and honey add a nice sweet note to this wonderful dish. Serve this over rice or couscous.
- 1 lb lamb cut into 1" cubes
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tsp cumin
- 1 onion medium, sliced thinly
- 2 cups beef broth
- ¼ cup parsley fresh, chopped
- ½ cup water
- 1 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp pomegranate juice
- ¼ cup apricots dried and chopped
- 2 Tbsp cherries dried and chopped
- ¼ cup almonds raw, blanched
- 1 Tbsp rose water (food grade)
In a large pot heat the olive oil and add the lamb cubes. Sprinkle with salt and cumin. Add the onions and stir fry until the meat begins to brown. Optional: Sprinkle 2 tablespoons flour over the lamb if you want a thicker broth.
Add the beef broth and the parsley. Reduce heat to low.
In a small cup whisk together water, honey and pomegranate juice.
Add mixture to the beef.
- Cover and cook for about 40 minutes.
- Add the apricots, cherries and almonds. Cook for an additional 10 minutes.
- Add the rose water.
- Allow the stew to sit for about 5 minutes before serving.
Serve with rice or pita bread.
Note: To blanch the almonds place them in a sauce pan with boiling water for about 5 minutes, drain, cool in cold water then remove all the skins.
Originally published February 2015 and updated February 2021.