Lamb, Rice and Chickpea Pilaf

Pairs Well With

Serves 3-4


2 tablespoons olive oil

3 shallots, peeled and minced

4 garlic cloves, peeled, crushed and minced

1 pound lamb meat, cut into 1 ½-inch cubes

Kosher salt

1½ cups meat stock, boiling hot

1 cup basmati rice, soaked and rinsed, see Note

¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes

1 cup boiling water

1 cup cooked chickpeas

Zest of 1 lemon

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

4 teaspoons raw sesame tahini

Black pepper in a mill

½ cup thinly sliced fresh spearmint leaves

¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley

¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

1 lemon, in wedges

2 teaspoons lightly toasted sesame seeds


Pour the olive oil into a heavy saucepan or deep saute pan. Set over medium-low heat, add the shallots and saute until soft and fragrant, about 12 minutes; do not let them brown. Add the garlic and saute 2 minutes more. Season with salt and transfer to a small bowl.

With the heat on medium, add the lamb to the pan and brown evenly all over. Season with salt. Add the meat stock and simmer very gently until the lamb is fully tender, about 30 minutes. Stir in the shallot mixture, rice, red pepper flakes and boiling water. Cover the pan and simmer until the rice is almost tender and nearly all the liquid has been absorbed, about 10 minutes. Stir in the chickpeas and the lemon zest, cover the pan and continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.

Remove from heat and let sit, covered and undisturbed, for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the yogurt in a small bowl, add the tahini and a generous pinch of salt and stir until smooth. Cover and set aside.

Fluff with a fork and season generously with pepper. Stir in the mint, parsley and cilantro. Taste and correct for salt and pepper.

Transfer to a serving platter or bowl. Drizzle a few slashes of the yogurt sauce on top, sprinkle with sesame seeds and enjoy right away, with the remaining yogurt sauce alongside.

Note: Put the rice into a bowl, cover with water by at least 1 inch and let sit for at least 30 minutes or as long as overnight. Tip into a strainer and rinse until the water runs clear.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including "The New Cook's Tour of Sonoma." Email her at