Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lamb Curry

There is variability in curry powders available to purchase, and that is because curry is a generic word in the United States used to describe a combination of turmeric, coriander, and cumin spices.  One curry powder may be different from another curry powder based on who made it and what quantities of each spice were used as well as if any additional spices were added.  An Indian or South Asian version of curry powder will be different than the common American Spice Islands, McCormick, or Schilling blends.  All of this is to say be aware when using store bought curry powder that some guesswork is involved in selecting the exact quantity of curry necessary for any one dish.  For this recipe, you can start with 2-3 tablespoons of curry and then right before serving, a simple taste test will tell you if more is necessary.

This recipe is an authentic lamb curry which uses ghee, or clarified butter, a daily ingredient used in Indian and Southern Asian cooking.  A quality ghee adds great aroma, flavor, and taste to cooking and can be found in the ethnic section of large grocery stores, any Indian or South Asian grocery store, or online.  Alternatively, you may use one tablespoon oil mixed with one tablespoon butter as a substitute to one tablespoon ghee.   Either way, this recipe yields fall-off-the-bone lamb that has an amazing flavor.  My mouth was in heaven. 

2 1/2 pounds lamb shanks and/or lamb shoulder steaks
1 large onion, chopped, about 1 1/2 cups
5 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons ghee (see above note)
2-3 tablespoons curry powder
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1 tablespoon cumin
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon thyme
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and chopped into 1/2-inch cubes, about 2 cups
1/4 cup raisins
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
8-12 small potatoes, peeled and quartered, about 1 1/2 pounds
Mango Chutney & Yogurt (for serving)

1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees F and place rack to lowest position in oven.  Add ghee (alternatively oil & butter, see above note) to large covered pot or Dutch oven and place over medium-high heat on stove top.  Allow to liquefy and then add lamb.  Brown lamb shanks for about 2 minutes on each side, remove from pan, set aside.  Repeat if necessary until all lamb shanks and/or shoulder steaks are browned.  (I just used lamb shanks.)

2.  Lower heat to medium.  In same Dutch oven, add curry powder, stir to mix with ghee and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute.  Add onions and garlic and mix well with curry; cook stirring frequently until onions are softened, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

3.  To onion-curry mixture, add coriander, black pepper, cumin, rosemary, thyme, apples, raisins, chicken broth, salt, and pepper.  Mix well.  Return lamb to pan and bury in mixture.  Cover the pot and place in oven.  Cook for 2 hours.

4.  Add potatoes to pot and continue to cook for an additional 45 minutes.

5. Taste test and add salt, curry powder, and/or cayenne pepper as necessary. 

6.  Serve over rice with mango chutney and/or yogurt. 

Recipe adapted from Simple Recipes.

1 comment:

Four For France said...

We had this last week and I LOVED it. It was a little on the spicy side for some family members, but perfect for me. I did forget to serve it with the yogurt, which might have tempered the spice, so I will be sure to remember the yogurt next time. Couldn't find mango chutney, but I bet that would help, too.