May 9, 2010

Shurpa Lagman

How I stumbled on to this dish is a mystery. I must have seen it mentioned on a website or in an article somewhere and immediately knew that I had to try it.

Basically, Shurpa Lagman is a soupy stew with chunks of meltingly tender boneless lamb, diced vegetables and chickpeas swimming around in it.
That alone should be enough to tantalize, but then you gild the lily by adding fresh, thick cut egg noodles, some minced garlic and cilantro, and a splash of white vinegar to round out the flavors. It is absolutely delicious, rich and hearty. The kind of one dish meal that we subsist on during the winter.

I took a chance and made it for some friends who take their food very seriously. At the end of the meal there wasn't a drop left their bowls and the satisfied sighs and smiles around the table were proof that this is indeed a very special dish.

This intensely flavored mélange is now considered one of the national dishes of Uzbekistan, even though Shurpa and Lagman are actually two different dishes.
, a thin meat and vegetable broth, is Kazakh and Lagman, a lamb and vegetable soup with fresh noodles, is Uzbek.

Shurpa Lagman
Yield: 4 to 6 servings

From the New York Times
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ pounds boneless lamb stew meat, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 1 cup chopped onions
  • 10 cups beef stock
  • 2 large turnips, peeled, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 carrots, cut into ½-inch dice
  • 2 red bell peppers, cored, seeded, cut into strips
  • 1 28-ounce can diced plum tomatoes, with juice
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 1½ teaspoons ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon hot pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ¾ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • Salt to taste
  • White or rice vinegar (optional)
  • 8 ounces thick Chinese noodles (or fresh fettuccine), freshly boiled, for serving
1. In large heavy pot, heat oil over high heat, and brown meat, turning occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add onions and stir often, until softened and slightly colored.

2. Pour off fat, add stock, and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, covered, 1½ hours. Add turnips, carrots, peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, cumin, hot pepper flakes, coriander, chickpeas and ¼ cup cilantro, and salt to taste. Simmer, uncovered, 30 minutes more. If flavors seem flat, stir in vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time, until bright and tasty. (I added 1 minced clove of garlic as well). Cover and let stand 15 minutes.

3. Ladle into bowls, top with noodles, and sprinkle with remaining cilantro.

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