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Braised lamb with maftoul and chickpeas

Main Weekend project Spring
4 people

This is a pretty substantial dish, full of wonderful meaty and sweet-spiced aromas. Save it for a Sunday lunch, as an alternative to the traditional roast.


8 lamb chops, on the bone
2 tbsp olive oil 
Salt and black pepper 
3 medium onions, one peeled and quartered, two peeled and cut into 0.5cm slices
2 large carrots, peeled and cut into 3cm pieces
2 sticks celery, cut into 3cm pieces
40g parsley leaves, plus 1 tbsp extra, chopped, for garnish
2 cinnamon sticks
20 whole allspice berries
10 black peppercorns
2 bay leaves
300g maftoul or couscous
200g cooked chickpeas 
150g Greek yoghurt


  1. In a large bowl, mix the lamb chops with a tablespoon of the olive
    oil, a teaspoon of salt and half a teaspoon of pepper, and rub
    everything together well. Place a medium stockpot on high heat, add the
    chops and sear for two minutes on each side, until golden-brown. Add the
    quartered onion, carrots and celery, pour in a litre and a half of cold
    water and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, skim the surface and add the
    parsley, cinnamon, allspice, peppercorns and bay leaves. Leave to
    simmer for an hour and a half, skimming occasionally and topping up the
    water if it gets low, until the lamb is tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a medium frying pan. Add the
    sliced onion and cook for 10-15 minutes, stirring often, until
    caramelised and brown. Remove from the heat and set aside.
  3. When the chops are soft, remove them from the stock and set aside.
    Strain the stock and measure out 900ml (or 700ml if using couscous
    instead of maftoul); reserve the carrots to serve with the lamb, if you
    wish. Top up with water if necessary. Return 700ml of the liquid to the
    pot (500ml if using couscous), bring to a boil, add the maftoul
    and cook on a low to medium heat, stirring often, until al dente –
    about 10 minutes. (If using couscous, pour it in, cover the pan, remove
    from the heat and set aside for five minutes.) Stir the chickpeas and
    cooked onion through the maftoul, add a quarter-teaspoon of salt and
    warm through. Remove from the heat, cover with a lid and keep somewhere
  4. Just before serving, reheat the last of the lamb stock. Add the lamb
    and gently stir until warmed through. Pile the warm maftoul on a large
    serving platter, put the lamb chops on top, spoon over some of the hot
    stock and the yoghurt (you may need to loosen it up first by whisking it
    a little), sprinkle with the remaining parsley and serve.