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Lamb Biryani
We love biryanis-those super-flavorful Indian pilafs

Ingredients:
1 pound boneless lamb shoulder, cut in 1/2-inch cubes
1 tablespoon pureed fresh ginger
1 tablespoon pureed garlic plus 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
juice of 1 lime
7 cinnamon sticks
1 tablespoon green cardamom seeds, cracked open
1 1/2teaspoons whole cloves
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint
2 green chilies, seeded and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plain yogurt
1/2 cup ghee or unsalted butter
3 medium onions, chopped
1 1/2 cups basmati rice
2 dried curry leaves (optional)
1 cup chicken stock
1 cup water
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon saffron threads

Directions:
1. Place the lamb in a large mixing bowl, and add the pureed ginger, pureed garlic, lime juice, 5 of the cinnamon sticks, 2 teaspoons of the cardamom, 1 teaspoon of the cloves, the cilantro, the mint, the green chilies, the salt, and the yogurt. Marinate for 3 hours.
2. Place 4 tablespoons of the ghee in a saute pan over moderately high heat. Saute two thirds of the onions until lightly browned. Add the meat mixture with its marinade, and cook over high heat for 20 minutes.
3. While meat is cooking, cook the rice: In a Dutch oven, melt the remaining 4 tablespoon of ghee over moderately high heat. Add the 2 finely chopped garlic cloves and the remaining onion; saute until lightly browned. Add the basmati rice, stirring well to coat with the butter. Add the remaining 2 cinnamon sticks, the remaining teaspoon of cardamom, the remaining 1/2teaspoon
of cloves, and the 2 curry leaves. Add the chicken stock and the water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce heat. Cover and cook for 12 minutes (the liquid should be reduced, but the rice should still be a little firm).
4. Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
5. Warm the milk with the saffron threads in a small saucepan.
6. Add the lamb mixture to the rice mixture in the Dutch oven, mixing together well. Add the warmed milk with saffron. Cover and bake in the 300 degrees oven for 15 minutes, or until rice is cooked and fairly dry. Serve with other Indian main-course dishes.

We love biryanis-those super-flavorful Indian pilafs, crammed with intriguing spices, and chunks of meat, fish, or vegetables. Though they're made with a long-grain rice-often the fabulous, milk-scented Indian basmati-the texture of the finished dish is less fluffy, a little creamier than other long-grain rice dishes. Serves 6 as part of an Indian meal