Tom Bel Ton's Lamb with Honey and Almonds

The best pizza on the West Coast is made by a genial redbearded Irishman in Tiburon, named Tom Belton. He calls his pizzeria "Biagio's," because "who would buy a pizza from a guy called Belton?" Here's his exotic recipe for Lamb with Honey and Almonds which produces a magnificent sauce; what's left over can be used as a stock. Despite what seems to be an imposing list of ingredients, this unique dish is quite easy to make. All components are simply mixed together in a large round bowl, and Belton insists that the mixing be done with your hands.

Ingredients

  • 3 pounds boneless shoulder of lamb, trimmed of fat and cut into large chunks
  • 2 large onions, chopped fine
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 4 carrots, peeled and cut into I-inch lengths
  • ¾ cup whole almonds
  • teaspoon saffron powder (or ½ teaspoon saffron threads)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1 large can garbanzo beans, with their liquid
  • ½ cup water
  • 1 teaspoon arrowroot, approximately

Method

Presoak top and bottom of pot in water for 15 minutes.

Pour all ingredients, except the arrowroot, into large round bowl, and mix thoroughly with your hands.

Place mixture in presoaked pot.

Place the covered pot in cold oven.

Turn temperature to 450 degrees.

Cook 90 minutes.

Remove pot from oven, pour off the liquid into a saucepan, bring almost to a boil, and thicken with arrowroot.

Serve with brown rice or bulgur. Pour the sauce over both the rice and the lamb.

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