Erikli Kuzu Yahni – Lamb In Plum Sauce


I lived an almost vegetarian life till I was 18. I was thinking that eating beef and chicken was gross. Chewing on an animal’s flesh? Yuck! Lamb? Unthinkable! I was in Sydney, studying at university, something got into me and suddenly becoming a carnivore didn’t seem to be so bad after all. I started with chicken and now I am a big fan of lamb! A properly cooked juicy tender leg of lamb dish is my early ticket to heaven.

For those of you who think that lamb stinks, there is an exclusive breed of sheep native to the Thracian part of Turkey (Edirne, Kirklareli, Tekirdag and Istanbul) called Kivircik (kivirjik) smell of which is almost indistinguishable from beef. It resembles the Castilian “churra, less fatty, but still tender and juicy. Heavenly!

A combination of meat and fruits always appealed to my taste buds. This dish reminds me of the Chinese version, this one is closer to my cultural upbringing for sure. Here is the traditional Turkish / Ottoman way of combining plums with lamb:


1 kg of lamb steaks, preferably leg of lamb

4 tablespoons of butter or clarified butter,

400 grs of Damson plums,

2 tablespoons of sugar,

1 tablespoon of dried onion flakes,

1 tablespoon of vinegar,

A few stalk of fresh rosemary

A pinch of cinnamon


0.5 cup of water

Normally the original recipe calls for boiling the meat, however, I like mine with all the juices kept inside the steak so I skip the boiling step and start by sealing the steaks with butter on very high heat in an iron skillet. Brown both sides of the steaks,  then remove them from the stove. In case the meat releases its juices, just separate and keep  the broth for the sauce. Lay the steaks into a shallow oven dish. Stone the plums, mash them with a fork or food processor. Mix in the sugar. Leave this mixture aside. Put back the buttered iron skillet on medium heat. Put dried onions and cinnamon into the skillet fry them for 2-3 minutes . Then add the plum-sugar mixture, vinegar and water(add broth at this point if you have any), boil for 5 minutes. If the sauce seems too runny (like fruit juice, that is) mix a teaspoon of corn starch with cold water and pour it into the sauce and continue to boil for a good 15 minutes until the starchy smell disappears and the sauce thickens to a creamy texture. Pour 3/4 of this sauce onto the lamb steaks, cover the  dish with foil (leave a few small holes on top) and cook in the oven for 25 minutes at a temperature of 180 degrees Celsius. Remove the dish when the lamb is done up to your liking. Serve with the remaining sauce on top, garnish with rosemary stalks. It pairs great with almond and black currant rice pilaf.

Published in: on July 7, 2010 at 11:28 pm  Leave a Comment  
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