Special Diet Information

Coumadin® (Warfarin)
This recipe is safe for Coumadin (warfarin) users.

This recipe is safe for those who are lactose intolerant.

This is a low sodium recipe.

GERD / Acid Reflux
This recipe contains GERD triggers and those with GERD may wish to avoid it.

Gluten Sensitivity
This recipe is safe for those who are sensitive to gluten.


"I like a cook who smiles out loud when he tastes his own work. Let God worry about your modesty; I want to see your enthusiasm."
-Robert Farrar Capon, Priest, Author

The refrigerator light goes on...

Lamb shoulder cutlets are sometimes available in the meat case already packaged. If not, ask the butcher to carve you small cutlets from the lamb shoulder. This is a great cut because it's lean and easy to handle.

This recipe is gluten-free as long as the beef stock used is gluten free. Check the label carefully.


Saffron filaments are the dried red stigmas and the white style of crocus flowers. For me this has always been a lovely twist of fate because crocus are my favorite flower. I remember that they were the first flower that I could call by name. Our front yard was covered with them. Little did I know their value.

Describing the flavor of saffron is difficult because the taste is so complex. It is at once aromatic, woody, and umami with just a touch of sweetness. To me saffron tastes yellow - like a warm summer day in the woods.

I suppose that you could go out in the yard and pick the flowers, pulling the stigma out for drying yourself, but I prefer to pick up a few grams at the store. Besides, a gram of saffron about 500 threads. As each flower only yields 3 threads, going to the market is quite a bit easier. 

Most of the available saffron is harvested in Spain, but countries in the Middle East, including Iran, are popular producers. The latter saffron is not as intense to my palate and I generally try to find the Spanish import.

How much saffron? I generally use about 10 threads per serving, counting them out carefully. For some recipes I will make a saffron infusion: essentially saffron tea. I place the saffron in the bottom of a Pyrex measuring cup and add about a quarter cup of boiling water. Letting the threads steep in this way results in a more powerful aromatic saffron flavor especially in quick saute recipes.

For you saffron junkies out there John Humphries has written a lovely book called The Saffron Companion. I must admit that I don't purchase many specialty cookbooks like this one, but his writing is so wonderful, and because most of the recipes are Mediterranean or Middle Eastern they are both delicious and healthy.


Turkish Lamb with Saffron Rice and Peas

Servings = 2 | Serving size =4 ounces lamb with rice and peas

Cooking Time = 45 Minutes

This recipe can be multiplied by 2,3.

This recipe does not make very good leftovers.

Note: Those who are gluten-sensitive will want to use a gluten-free stock.

1 tsp extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces lean lamb shoulder (cut into 1/2 inch strips)
1 small white onion (diced)
2 Tbsp shelled pistachio nuts
1/2 cup jasmine rice
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1/2 cup low sodium chicken or vegetable broth
10 threads saffron
1 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp ground allspice
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/8 tsp fresh ground black pepper
2 tsp honey
1 cup frozen peas (thawed)

Preheat the oven to 200F (or the warm setting).

Place the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the strips of lamb and sear lightly on all sides. Place the seared lamb on a plate and place the plate in a warm oven.

Add the onions and pistachio nuts to the pan and cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft.

Add the rice to the pan with the water, chicken stock, saffron, oregano, allspice, cinnamon, salt, pepper and honey.

Stir once and cook over medium-low heat for about 20 minutes until the rice is done. Add the peas to the rice. If there is little liquid left in the pan after the rice has cooked add about 2 - 4 tablespoons. Stir the peas in and then add the lamb. Cook over medium-low heat until the lamb is hot and serve.

Nutrition Facts

Serving size = 4 ounces lamb with rice and peas

Servings = 2


Amount Per Serving

Calories 518 Calories from Fat 133
% Daily Value
Total Fat 15g 24%
    Saturated Fat 3g 17%
    Monounsaturated Fat 8g
    Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 72mg 24%
Sodium 471mg 20%
Total Carbohydrates 61g 20%
    Dietary Fiber 6g 24%
    Sugars 12g
Protein 34g
Vitamin A 32% Vitamin C 28%
Calcium 8% Iron 34%
Vitamin K 22 mcg Potassium 745 mg
Magnesium 81 mg