The succulent charred lamb and woody aromatic spices give a deep earthy foundation to this well-loved Lebanese home favourite, as much as the saffron and the rose petals give it an elegant sophisticated edge. It is delicious served with cooling minted yogurt.
Combine all the marinade ingredients in a non-metallic bowl. Add the lamb and leave to marinate for least 1 hour.
When you are ready to cook, preheat the grill/broiler to high. Lift the lamb pieces out of the marinade and grill/broil them until they just begin to char. Leave to one side.
Meanwhile, soak the chopped apricots and the saffron in the stock with the salt added. Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan until they begin to brown.
Heat the butter and oil in a large heavy-based pan with a tightly fitting lid. Add the cardamom pods and the cinnamon sticks and fry gently for 1 minute. Now turn up the heat and add the rice, tossing the grains in the perfumed butter.
Add the stock, with the apricots and saffron, and the lemon zest. Allow the dish to bubble over a medium-low heat for about 8–10 minutes until half of the liquid has been absorbed.
Now add the lamb pieces and the dried rose petals. Cook, uncovered, over a medium-low heat until almost all the water has been absorbed. Clamp a lid on the pan, switch off the heat and leave the pan for 15 minutes without disturbing it.
After 15 minutes, remove the lid and transfer the cooked rice dish to a large serving plate. Toss in the pine nuts and the pistachios. Strew the finished dish with the fresh rose petals, the mint leaves and adorn with the pomegranate seeds. Serve with a cooling yogurt and chopped mint dip.
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