Trim as much fat as possible from the lamb. Season well with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large non-stick saute pan and thoroughly brown the lamb on all sides over high heat, working in several batches so as not to crowd the pan, adding oil as needed. Pour off all excess fat.
Return the lamb to the pan and add 1 inch water (2 to 3 cups). Bring the lamb to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the pan, and gently simmer the lamb until tender, about 1 hour. (Add water as needed to keep the lamb moist.) Transfer the lamb to a platter with a slotted spoon, reserving the cooking liquid in the pan.
Cut the lettuce leaves into 2-inch squares, leaving 8 large leaves whole for garnish. Add the diced lettuce, dill, scallions, and lemon juice to the pan with the cooking liquid. Briskly simmer these ingredients, covered, until the lettuce is tender, about 5 minutes. You should have about 2 cups cooking liquid. (You may need to uncover the pan after a few minutes to evaporate any excess liquid.)
Return the lamb to the pan and simmer until thoroughly heated. Add the sugar and salt and pepper to taste. (If extra tartness is desired, you can add a little extra lemon juice as well.)
Arrange the whole lettuce leaves on a platter and mound the stew in the center. Garnish with whole sprigs of dill.
Yield: 8 servings.
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© 1999 Ronald Florence Last modified: Wed Mar 31 09:30:17 EST 1999