I adore lamb, anywhich way it comes, as long as it's cooked!
One of my very favorites is:
Lamb & Tomato Curry
(Serves 4 to 6)
Adjust the quantity of cayenne in this recipe according to how much "heat" you prefer. As with most spicy casseroles, the flavours of this curry will improve on standing, but add the fresh coriander just before serving. If cumin seeds are unavailable, substitute an additional 1 tsp. (5 mL) ground cumin.
¼ cup canola oil (50 mL)
2 lb boneless lamb shoulder, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
¼ cup butter (50 mL)
2 tbsp cumin seeds (25 mL)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 2-inch piece fresh ginger, minced
2 medium onions, chopped
2 tbsp each ground coriander and cumin
1 tsp turmeric
½ to 1 tsp cayenne
10 whole cloves
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
1cup plain yogurt (250 mL)
6 medium tomatoes, peeled and each cut into 6 pieces (about 3 lbs/1.5 kg)
or 1-½ cups (375 mL) canned tomatoes with their juice
1 cup water (250 mL)
1 tsp. salt (5 mL)
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
Heat 2 tbsp. canola oil in a large heavy saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook lamb, in batches, for 3 to 5 minutes, until browned on all sides. With a slotted spoon, remove lamb to a plate as each batch browns, and add more oil to the saucepan as necessary.
Wipe out the saucepan with paper towels. Melt 2 tbsp. butter in the same saucepan over low heat. Add cumin seeds and cook, stirring, for 1 minute, until seeds start to sizzle (omit this step if substituting ground cumin). Add garlic and ginger, then cook, stirring for 1 minute, until garlic is softened. Add onions, increase heat to medium-low, then cook, stirring for 7 to 10 minutes until onions are golden brown. Add remaining butter, then stir in ground coriander, ground cumin, turmeric, cayenne, cloves and cinnamon. Increase the heat to medium, then cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, until butter starts to separate from the spice mixture. If spices start to stick to the bottom of the saucepan, add more butter or lower the heat slightly. Stir in yogurt, then cook, stirring often, for 3 to 4 minutes, until butter starts to separate again. Stir in tomatoes, water and salt, adding a little more water if the fresh tomatoes are not very juicy (at this stage the curry should be the consistency of thick soup).
Return lamb to the saucepan, then bring curry to a boil over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, then simmer, covered, for about 1 hour. Remove lid and cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, for 30 to 45 minutes, until juices have thickened slightly and lamb is tender. Just before serving, adjust seasoning to taste and stir in fresh coriander.
The following is a close second:
West Indian Lamb Curry
Serves 4 to 6
This West Indian curry may seem difficult to make, but after you track down all the ingredients, the preparation is really quite simple.
For the Curry Base:
2 tablespoons coriander seeds
1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon fennel seeds
Seeds from 6 cardamom pods
8 black peppercorns (whole)
1 3-inch cinnamon stick
4 whole cloves
½ whole nutmeg, ground
2 teaspoons turmeric
3 tablespoons water
For the chile purée:
6-½ inch dried red chiles
3 large onions, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh ginger, peeled and grated
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 lbs. trimmed, boneless lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch cubes
3 to 4 cups water
Salt to taste
4 medium boiling potatoes
½ cup canned, unsweetened coconut milk, well stirred
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 bell peppers, cut into thin strips
6 curry leaves (optional)
These ingrediends may be found at specialty stores.
To make the curry paste: In a small frying pan, dry-roast all spices, except turmeric, over medium heat until fragrant and the coriander seeds begin to colour. Cool mixture, then grind in an electric spice grinder or coffee mill. In a small bowl, combine the roasted spices with the turmeric and the water. Stir until it forms a paste.
To make chile purée: Wearing rubber gloves (or being very careful not to touch your eyes), stem and seed chiles and cut into ½-inch pieces. Soak the chiles in warm water for 20 minutes. Drain the chiles, and in a food processor, purée them with the onions and ginger.
To make the curry: In a large, heavy pot, heat oil until hot, but not smoking, add the chile purée and cook until it begins to stick to the bottom of the pot. Reduce to low heat, add the curry paste and cook for 4 minutes, stirring constanstly. Add lamb and cook until it begins to brown on all sides. Add water to just cover lamb, add salt to taste, and simmer, covered, 1 to 1-½ hours, or until lamb is tender.
Peel potatoes, cut into cubes and add them to the curry. Simmer, uncovered, stirring from time to time, until tender (about 15 minutes). Stir in the coconut milk, lime juice, tomatoes and peppers and simmer for 5 minutes. Add curry leaves just before serving (if using).
Approximate nutritional content per serving: Calories: 490.2. Protein: 31 g. Fat: 24.4 g. Carbohydrates: 40.1 g. Dietary fibre: 6.2 g.
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