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Lamb broth with chestnuts – Qovurma bozbash

Qovurma bozbash - Lamb broth with chestnuts
Lamb or mutton broths and stews are very popular in Azerbaijan.

The traditional ingredients of saffron, fresh or dried alcha (a plum similar to a greengage but less sweet) and chestnuts give this broth a distinctly Azerbaijani flavour.

Preparation time: 40-45 min
Cooking time: 45 min
Serves: 3-4


  • 175 g/7 oz mutton or lamb
  • 25 g/1 oz mutton fat (traditional) or vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion
  • 100 g/4 oz chickpeas or 2 medium-sized potatoes (chickpeas are traditional)
  • 50 g/2 oz chestnuts
  • 25 g/1 oz of fresh or dried alcha, a plum similar to the greengage.
  • small bunch of coriander
  • few threads of saffron (optional)
  • salt & pepper


  • Soak the dried chickpeas overnight in cold water. Rinse.
  • Put the saffron threads in a cup and add boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
  • Pierce the chestnuts. Cover with water in a pan and bring to the boil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the water and shell. Don’t take all the chestnuts out of the water at once, as they are difficult to shell when dry.
  • Cut the lamb or mutton into 30-35 g pieces and add salt & pepper. Brown together with the onions in mutton fat or vegetable oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan.
  • Add 1-1.5 litres/1.5-2.5 pints of stock or water to the pan and bring to the boil.
  • Add the chickpeas or peeled potatoes, chestnuts and alcha and simmer for 30 minutes.
  • Season with the saffron infusion and sprinkle with herbs before serving.
  • In summer 50 g/2 oz of red tomatoes can be used instead of the alcha and saffron infusion.

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