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Qovurma

Qovurma

Pieces of mutton or lamb on the bone (blade chops) stewed with onions, tomatoes, and saffron. There is also sabzi qovurma, a lamb stew with herbs.

Qovurma is a stew prepared with meat and herbs. Its name means fried meat. There may be lamb qovurma, liver qovurma and others. The meat is used without bones and cut into small pieces. The liver or pieces of meat are fried with potatoes and onions on a skeleton. Different greens may be added to this dish, like cilantro, dill, and others. There may be variations of the dish, other ingredients may be used too, like chestnuts.

Qovurma may accompany pilaf (rice) or eaten as a separate dish with yoghurt and often garlic.

Sabziqovurma or lamb stew with herbs is a classic Azerbaijani dish.

Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 45 min
Serves: 4-5

Ingredients
225 g/9 oz lamb  
50 g/2 oz butter
50 g/2 oz onion
1 large bunch each of sorrel, coriander, mint, dill, wild leek, young celery with leaves (and spinach or beet leaves if serving sabziqovurma as a separate dish without rice pilaf)
1-2 tspns of abgora (juice of unripe grapes) or lemon juice, if not using sorrel
a few threads of saffron or 1 tspn turmeric
salt& pepper

Preparation
Put a few threads of saffron in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.  
Chop the lamb into chunks, sprinkle with salt & pepper. Melt the butter in a heavy-bottomed pan and brown the meat well. Chop the onions and soften separately in butter. If using turmeric, add this to the onions and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Wash, dry and chop the herbs but not too finely. A variety of herbs should be used, but try not to miss out sorrel, as this gives a tangy flavour to the dish. If making sabziqovurma to serve on its own, spinach or beet leaves can also be used. (They give out too much water during the cooking process for a classic sabziqovurma with rice pilaf.)
Add the abgora or lemon juice (if you are not using sorrel), softened onions, turmeric or saffron infusion and chopped herbs to the meat. Mix well, put a lid on the pan and cook on a low heat. If too much water is coming out of the herbs during cooking, leave the lid off the pan.
Serve the sabziqovurma in a bowl with a separate serving plate of rice pilaf, cooked Azerbaijani style, or on its own with yoghurt mixed with crushed garlic.