June 27, 2011
I got a meat grinder/sausage maker for my birthday this year, but I haven't yet had an opportunity to try it out. I had planned to grind up some lamb to make a type of ground-meat kabob on the grill sometime this weekend, but the weather unfortunately did not cooperate. It was too wet for me to enjoy standing outside tending the grill, but I still had lamb on hand and needed to do something with it. No other great idea came to mind, so I fell back on my default "when in doubt..." solution and made a curry.
I decided I'd make a lamb curry featuring hot chili peppers, but also including an ample helping of mint, so the coolness of the mint would balance out the heat of the chilis. I also selected a mix of curry spices heavy on the coriander, which I knew would go well with lamb. The result was a curry unlike any I've ever made, or had. Marinating the lamb in lemon juice and spices, browning it in hot oil then stewing it for a long time in a rich, flavorful gravy resulted in the meat being tender and boldly-flavored. The dish was hot, but not overpoweringly so, and the lemon juice and tomato added a pleasant bit of acid bite, mellowed out by the addition of yogurt and the mint at the end.
I served up this lamb curry with some baked spiced cauliflower (which I'll talk more about in another post), some vegetable samosas we purchased at Maria's Grocery, a couple different sorts of chutney, basmati rice and naan. This made for a very satisfying meal with ample leftovers for next week.
This recipe is a definite keeper. It is a bit on the spicy side, so it may not be the best choice for any of our readers that aren't familiar with, and fond of, Indian-style curries, but for those who like curries, or who simply appreciate a bit of heat, I recommend this recipe if you want something delightfully different.
Lamb Curry with Chilis and Mint
yield = 6 servings
2 lbs lean lamb (leg, shoulder, etc.), cut into
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lemon juice
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large onion, chopped
2 jalapeno peppers, thinly-sliced
2 tablespoons peeled, minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons coriander powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1 cinnamon stick
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces plain yogurt
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
Add the lamb, salt, turmeric and two tablespoons lemon juice (about 1/2 a fresh lemon) to a bowl. Stir thoroughly and let sit for about 30 minutes.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmering, add 1/2 of the lamb and cook, stirring often, until browned on all sides. Transfer the cooked lamb to a clean bowl and repeat with the remainder of the lamb pieces.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the Dutch oven and heat for 1 minute. Add the onion and jalapeno and cook until the onion has softened and started to brown (about 6 minutes). Add the ginger, garlic, coriander, cumin and bay leaves and cook, stirring constantly, for about 1 minute.
Add the cinnamon stick and stir in the tomatoes, scraping along the bottom of the pot to remove any cooked-on bits. Heat to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for one hour, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid for the last 10 minutes of cooking time.
Remove from heat and stir in the yogurt. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the mint. Serve with basmati rice and naan or other Indian-style bread.