Garlic chives, which taste similar to scallions but with a faintly spicy raw garlic flavor, are common in Azeri stews. In this one, the butter-stewed greens feature as prominently as the lamb, if not more so. A bit of verjus (unripened grape juice) or lemon juice brings lift and acidity to the stew’s deep flavors.
- 2 1⁄4 lb. trimmed boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
- 1 large yellow onion, halved
- 1 pinch saffron (6-8 strands)
- 1 stick plus 2 Tbsp. (5 oz.) unsalted butter, divided
- 4 large bunches (1 1/2 lb.) garlic chives (aka Chinese chives) or scallions, washed, dried, and cut into 1-inch pieces (12 cups)
- 1 large bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves coarsely chopped (2 cups)
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 3 tbsp. chopped fresh tarragon leaves
- 1⁄3 cup plus 2 Tbsp. verjus or lemon juice
- Rice pilaf, for serving
- Season the lamb all over with salt. In a medium pot, add the lamb, onion, and enough cold water to just cover (5–6 cups). Bring to a boil over high heat, then immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook, skimming the broth as needed, until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour 15 minutes. Remove the lamb with a slotted spoon. Pour out all but 1 1⁄2 cups of the broth in the pot (save the remainder for another use if desired), and stir in the saffron. Turn off the heat.
- In a large skillet over high heat, melt 1 stick butter. Once vigorously foaming, add the garlic chives and parsley and season generously with salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until wilted and slightly darkened, 4–5 minutes. Transfer the greens and their juices to a large bowl and carefully wipe out the pot. Add the remaining butter and melt over medium-high heat. Add the lamb and cook, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned, 4–5 minutes; season lightly with salt and pepper. Add the saffron-broth mixture, cooked greens, and tarragon. Stir in 1⁄3 cup of the verjus. Bring the stew to a low simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20 minutes.
- Turn off the heat and stir in the remaining verjus. Serve with rice pilaf.