e_moon60 (e_moon60) wrote,

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Lambino curry

As regular readers know, we do some of our own meat processing, which means that sometimes (as now) we have freezers full of home-grown meats.   Right now, the top layer is the result of Friday's adventures with a lamb that dropped its milk teeth and became ineligible thereby for showing in livestock shows. 

Lamb is a wonderful meat, fine-textured, tender, juicy...and works in a lot of recipes.   One of our favorites is lamb curry.  I used to just follow directions and always serve it over rice, but with more lamb to use in experiments, I'm now treating "curry" as a description similar to "chili" among those not from Texas or New Mexico (and yes, I know that NM chili isn't like Texas chili, and north Texas chili isn't like Border chili...not going there today...)  It is not authentic--it is curry-flavored lamb chunks.

The international aisles at a large supermarket about 20 miles away offers a bewildering variety of curry pastes to play with.   I've settled on one that I happen to like best (so far--about to go back and try other varieties again just in case I've missed another I might like.)   The brand I use is Patak, and the variety is Tikka Masala, listed s "medium" for heat.   The paste keeps well in its jar in the refrigerator--the amount you use depends on personal taste.   As for actual recipes...I take the amount of lamb and add what looks like the right amount of other things.  (In other words, these aren't recipes with measurements, except by eye and smell and taste.)

The tougher chunks of lamb (which isn't very tough) do well in curry.   Leftovers from a lamb roast worked so well, the first time I tried it, that I now routinely pre-cook the lamb in the oven to brown it and also create some good pan juices.   If you have a chunk of frozen lamb, you can put it in, covered, at 200 degrees for long slow cooking.   I often slather it with something (barbecue sauce this last time) and red wine, cover it, and let the flavors go to town. 

When it's thawed and at least up to rare, cut the lamb into chunks the size you want in your curry...I like it a bit larger than bite-sized, because it's going to fall apart some.   I think the latest batch began with about 2-21/2 pounds of lamb, chunked.   Deglaze the roasting pan your usual way (I used a little more red wine) and reserve all the pan juices.  You can add just diced tomatoes (including various flavors of them, such as with cilantro, with green chilis, etc.) and curry paste and let the flavors meld for an hour or so, serve over rice, and call it done.   If you have some leftover boiled potatoes (Yukon Gold or red ones) those can go in (and no need for rice.)   This time, as we had the smaller Dutch oven with leftover potatoes in it, I put them in the larger Dutch oven with the meat, etc. 

But we had leftovers from day one.  And day one, the pot had cooked too dry and scorched the bottom (nice brown on the meat, though!)   So I did what I usually do first:  sautee onion, garlic, celery, and chop up a carrot or two.  (If you're smarter than me, you sautee these things in the same pot you're going to cook in, but I used an iron skillet since--due to things irrelevant to the recipe--I hadn't done that on day one.)  In this case, one onion, one huge clove from an elephant garlic bulb,  somewhere between one and two cups of chopped celery (the rest of the celery I had on hand, OK?)

I added another (larger this time) can of diced tomatoes, put in another two spoonfuls of curry paste, and let it simmer away for a couple of hours, stirring and adding a little water as necessary.   Curry-flavored stew, in other words.   Family members attacked it with even more gusto than the night before, and there are still leftovers.

Next time I'll almost certainly do something differently...add some fresh lime juice, or dry mustard, or toss in pine nuts or capers or chopped chilis or whatever else strikes me as an interesting possibility.  

Tags: cooking, curry, lamb
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