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.
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.
I also love lamb. Lamb shoulder chops are one of the best kept lamb secrets. I like to sear them in olive oil, add garlic, tomatoes, oregano, a pinch of rosemary, S&P and long-cook them. They don't take so long that you can't do it right after work.
For Easter, there is no other meat to serve. I like to bone out a leg, make it as flat as I can and fill it with either of the following:
Fresh Basil Leaves
Chopped sun dried tomatoes
Chopped Italian Parsley
Roll up the leg, tie and roast.
A baby lamb chop is one of the most delectable morsels one can gnaw off a bone. I attended a wedding where a butler served baby lamb chops as an hors d'oeuvre! Talk about elegant (and expensive!)
Last but not least, the shanks. The lowly shanks. I love to long simmer them in wine and tomatoes, oregano, basil, garlic S&P, onion...the aroma that fills the house is divine.
I used to live in a Greek neighborhood where lamb was easy to come by. Alas, I know live in the 4 Corners region and the Indian population prefers their lambs to grow to geriatric levels and be consumed as mutton! Lamb in any form, is very hard to come by here. However, I do manage to talk a butcher into getting me some every now and then!!
Kimmie beat me to the lamb curry, so I went for my second favourite:
Braised Lamb Shanks With Caramelised Onions And Shallots
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound onions, sliced
5 large shallots, sliced
2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
6 3/4- to 1-pound lamb shanks
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 1/2 cups dry red wine
2 1/2 cups canned beef broth
1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 bay leaves
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add sliced onions and shallots and sauté until brown, about 20 minutes. Mix in 2 tablespoons chopped rosemary. Remove from heat.
Sprinkle lamb shanks with salt and pepper; coat lamb with flour. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in heavy large skillet over high heat. Working in batches, add all lamb shanks to skillet and cook until brown on both sides, about 10 minutes per batch. Using tongs, transfer lamb shanks to plate. Add 1 cup dry red wine to same skillet and bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits. Pour into Dutch oven with onion mixture. Add remaining 1 1/2 cups red wine, canned beef broth, tomato paste and 2 bay leaves to Dutch oven. Bring to boil, stirring until tomato paste dissolves. Add lamb shanks, turning to coat with liquid.
Bring mixture to boil. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until lamb is almost tender, turning lamb shanks occasionally, about 1 1/2 hours. Uncover Dutch oven and boil until liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, stirring and turning lamb shanks occasionally, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
All these sound great already. I've always liked a Tian of Lamb. Sauteed spinach with mushrooms in a entremet ring. Top with Lamb filet cooked in butter med. rare rested and sliced 3/8". Top that with a circular fan of thin sliced potatoes, browned in butter until crisp. Serve with a Garlic Jus or Cabernet Demi. Yummy yummy.
I like to use the lamb loin, which includes the tenderloin and is often called the saddle. The more expensive rib roast is also wonderful with the mustard crumbs.
3 tablespoons unsalted butter plus 5 tablespoons, melted
2 whole boneless lamb loins (about 1 pound each)
Salt and freshly ground pepper
About 1/4 cup all-purpose flour, for dredging
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1 cup coarse dry bread crumbs
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped flat-leaf parsley
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced shallot
2 teaspoons finely chopped oregano
2 teaspoons finely chopped basil
2 teaspoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1. Preheat the oven to 450°. Melt the 3 tablespoons of butter in a large ovenproof skillet. Season the lamb loins with salt and pepper and dredge in the flour. Add to the skillet and cook over moderately high heat, turning, until browned all over, about 6 minutes. Let the lamb cool slightly, then pat dry and brush with the mustard.
2. On a plate, mix the bread crumbs with the parsley, garlic, shallot, oregano, basil, Parmesan and the melted butter. Roll the lamb in the crumb mixture, pressing it into the meat.
3. Return the lamb to the skillet and roast for about 15 minutes for medium-rare meat. Transfer to a work surface, cover loosely with foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Slice the lamb loins 1/3 inch thick and serve.
SERVE WITH: Grilled asparagus
WINE RECOMMENDATION: There's no reason to stray here from the traditional pairing, red Bordeaux. The crust adds a tangy note to the richness of the lamb, so young, vigorous bottlings, with their cleansing tannins, will make the best match. Consider the 1995 Château Cantemerle or the 1995 Château Talbot.
2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
2-3 hot, dried red chili peppers
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1 teaspoon cardamom seeds (take seeds out of the pods)
3-inch stick of cinnamon
1½ teaspoons whole black mustard seeds
1 teaspoon whole fenugreek seeds (if available)
5 tablespoons white wine vinegar
1½ to 2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon light brown sugar
10 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 medium onions, peeled and sliced into fine half-rings
1 1/3 cups water (or broth/stock)
2 lb boneless lamb (or pork or beef)
shoulder meat, cut into 1-inch cubes
1-inch cube of fresh ginger, peeled and coarsely chopped
1 small, whole head of garlic, with all the cloves separated and peeled
1 tablespoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground tumeric
Grind cumin seeds, red chilies, peppercorns, cardamom seeds, cinnamon, black mustard seeds, and fenugreek seeds in a coffee-grinder or other spice grinder. Put the ground spices in a bowl. Add the vinegar, salt, and sugar. Mix and set aside.
Heat the oil in a wide, heavy pot over a medium flame. Put in the onions. Fry, stirring frequently, until the onions turn brown and crisp. Remove the onions with a slotted spoon and put them into the container of an electric blender or food processor. (Turn the heat off.) Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water to the blender and puree the onions. Add this puree to the ground spices in the bowl. (This is the vindaloo paste). It may be made ahead of time and frozen.
Dry off the meat cubes with a paper towel and remove large pieces of fat, if any.
Put the ginger and garlic into the container of an electric blender or food processor. Add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water and blend until you have a smooth paste.
Heat the oil remaining in the pot once again over a medium-high flame. When hot, put in the lamb cubes, a few at a time, and brown them lightly on all sides. Remove each batch with a slotted spoon and keep in a bowl. Do all the lamb this way. Now put the ginger-garlic paste into the same pot. Turn down the heat to medium. Stir the paste for a few seconds. Add the coriander and tumeric. Stir for another few seconds. Add the meat, any juices that may have accumulated as well as the vindaloo paste and 1 cup water (or stock). Bring to a boil. Cover and simmer gently for an hour or until meat is tender. Stir a few times during this cooking period. Serves 6.
The best cut to use for lamb kabobs is the leg; the next best choice is the shoulder cuts with the fat removed. The cubes should be cut into 1 to 1½ inch cubes. Marinate the meat overnight to as long as 48 hours for best results.
For rare and juicy meat, place the cubes close to one another on the skewers; to cook the meat well done or crispy on the outside, space the cubes farther apart. For more flavor with very lean mean, place put lamb fat between the pieces of the lean meat on the skewers. Cooking the meat and vegetables on separate skewers will produce the best results, allowing you to accomodate the different cooking times of various vegetables. After stringing the kabobs, brushing with good olive oil helps brown the meat and vegetables and will prevent sticking to the grill surface. Salt and pepper is the only additional spices you need after the marinade.
Lamb kabobs are a staple dish Southern Europe and the Middle East. Try variations of the basic kabob by adding these spices to the marinade of your choice.
Add oregano and sage to the marinade. Cook with quarters of onions and green peppers.
Cut the pieces of meat about an inch thick and wide, and 2½ to 3 inches long. Marinate in yoghurt and thyme and grill with the yoghurt as the baste. The dish is served with rice, radishes, and onions on the side.
Add mint and thyme to the basic marinade. The typical veggies are green pepper squares, onions, and tomatoes.
Oregano is the added spice. The veggies are eggplant cut into cubes, with tomatos and green pepper.
Add crushed bay leaves to the marinade and also sprinkle on the kabobs. Sweetbread, onions, and tomatoes are the usual accompaniment.
1½ pounds boneless lean loin or leg of lamb
16 pearl white onions
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ cup dry white wine
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary or 1 tablespoon dried
2 teaspoons choped fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried
2 teaspoons honey
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch of watercress for garnishing
1. Cut the lamb into 16 1½ inch cubes (or have it done by your butcher).
2. Peel the onions, then steam or parboil them until nearly cooked but firm. Drain.
3. Combine onions, vinegar, white wine, garlic, grated lemon, cumin, rosemary, thyme, honey, salt and pepper to taste. Blend well, then add the lamb and marinate for 30 minutes or longer.
4. Meanwhile, preheat oven broiler or grill to high.
5. Drain the meat, reserving the marinade. Thread onto four skewers, alternating between the lamb cubes and onions on each skewer.
6. Brush the skewers with the oil and the reserved marinade.
7. Broil under high heat 3 minutes on each side for rare, brushing often with the marinade. Cook longer if desired.
5-6 pounds of lamb cut into one-inch cubes
6 scallions, very coarsely chopped
3 large onions chopped
1-3 Scotch bonnet peppers (see caution note)
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1½ tablespoons of salt (or to taste)
2 tablespoons of freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons of Jamaican curry powder (recipe follows)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
¼ cup coconut or peanut oil
2 cloves of garlic
4 cups of water or chicken stock
1 cup of coconut milk
Juice of 1-2 limes
Using your hands, mix the lamb meat, scallions, half of the onions, 1-3 peppers, allspice, salt, black pepper, and about 4 tablespoons of Jamaican curry powder. Rub the lamb well with the mixture. Now as they say on the island, "You mus' put he down over night" -- which means let the meat marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
The next day, heat the butter in a large pot, and add the coconut or peanut oil. Add 2 Tablespoons curry powder, and mix well. Add the garlic, the remaining onions, and brown them. Add the seasoned goat/lamb to the mixture. Mix well. Add the water or stock, the coconut milk, and the lime juice. Cover the pot and let the meat simmer 2½ to 3 hours or until the meat is tender. Add a little more water if necessary. Serve the stew hot.
Note:Carrots and potatoes are often added about 20 minutes before the curry is done. It may also be served with rice.
Caution:Three scotch bonnet peppers make this a really hot dish. I would recommend one. Also cut back on the curry powder by half. Scotch bonnet peppers are among the hottest in the world. Fresh red or green chiles may be substituted.
Toast the coriander, cumin, poppy, and mustard seeds in a heavy frying pan until the mustard seeds begin to "jump about". Grind in a mortar, electric blender, or coffee grinder (but not a food processor), and mix with tumeric and ginger. Put through a fine sieve and store in a glass jar. Makes about eight ounces. As a general rule use can use 1 tablespoon of curry powder for
each 2 pounds of lamb.
If you cannot find or do not have the above ingredients don't worry, try some variants such as ground cinnamon, garlic powder, red pepper flakes, ground cardamon, fresh grated nutmeg, ground annatto seeds, ground mace, or oregano.
Fresh ingredients such as chopped garlic, chopped green onions, chopped bell pepper, chopped onions, can be combined with the above mixture when ready to rub on the meat.
Liquids, such as coconut milk, rum, lime, lemon, orange juice, also are options.
1½ pounds of Caribbean lamb/kid (leg or
2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 medium onion, finely chopped
6 galic cloves, minced
2 bunches of chives or 1 bunch of scallions,
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
3 tablespoons Poudre de Colombo
2 tsp. fresh thyme
5-6 cups chicken or vegetable stock or water
2 tablespoons of tomato paste
1 pound potatoes or boniatos (caribbean
sweet potatoes), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 pound Butternut squash or Calabaza (West Indian Pumpkin), peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch pieces.
1 tablespoon of fresh lime juice or to taste.
Note: The traditional meat is either cabri, young kid, or mouton, Caribbean lamb. You also can make an excellent columbo for Christmas with modern lamb, as long as you trim the excess fat. This version is a little wetter than most to have plenty of gravy to spoon over the rice or couscous.
1. Trim the fat and the fell, and cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large sauté pan. Season the meat with the salt and pepper and brown on all sides over high heat, working in several batches to keep from crowding the pan. Transfer the meat to a platter with a slotted spoon.
2. Pour off any fat. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in the pan. Add the onion,garlic, chives and ginger and cook over medium heat until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Stir in the Poudre de Columbo and cook for about a minute, or until fragrant.
3. Return the meat to the pan with the thyme, stock and tomato paste. Bring the mixture to a boil, reduce the heat, and gently simmer the meat until nearly tender. Add the potatoes amd the calabaza/squash
and continue cooking for approximately 30 minutes or until the meat and vegetables are very tender. Add stock or water as necessary to keep the stew moist. The stew can be prepared in advance at this stage and reheated.
4. Just before serving, stir in lime juice to taste. Correct the seasoning. Spoon the columbo over a mound of rice or couscous. Sprinkle the cilantro on top and serve at once.
Approximately 6 servings.
Poudre de Colombo
¼ cup white rice
¼ cup cumin seeds
¼ cup coriander seeds
1 tablespoon mustard seeds
1 tablespoon black peppercorns
1 tablespoon fenugreek seeds
1 teaspoon whole cloves
¼ cup turmeric
Note: Columbo is a French version of curry powder, which originated with the Sri Lankan indentured workers in the FWI. it does not carry the heat of many of the other islands. This mixture carries off-beat ingredients such as roasted rice. Roasting gives the rice a nutty flavor and makes it easier to grind. The rice acts as both a flavoring and a natural thickener.
Poudre de Columbo makes a great holiday gift, being one of the lesser-known cuisines of the Caribbean. You also can use it as you would any curry powder.
1. Cook the rice in a dry skillet over medium heat, shaking the pan frequently, until a light golden brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the rice to a plate and let cool.
2. Add the whole spices to the skillet and cook over medium heat, shaking the pan until lightly toasted and fragrant, about 2-3 minutes. Transfer the spices to the plate to cool.
3. Combine the rice and roasted spices in a spice mill, blender, or coffee grinder and grind to a fine powder. Stir in the tumeric.
4. Store the powder in a glass jar (fancy if used for a gift). Keep away from heat and light. It will keep for several months. Makes about 1 cup.
Note: Black mustard seeds are hotter than white (white can be used in a pinch).
2¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon Jamaican or Columbo spice blend (or curry powder)
½ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
¾ cup vegetable shortening (chilled)
1/3 cup ice water
1 pound ground lamb (lean)
2 Tablespoon butter (unsalted)
1 medium onion (chopped)
½ hot & fresh chile pepper (preferably a
Scotch Bonnet or milder if you prefer)
1 garlic clove (minced)
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons Jamaican or Columbo spice
blend (or curry powder)
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon thyme (dried)
¼ teaspoon cilantro
¼ teaspoon allspice
2 Tablespoons tomato paste
2 Tablespoons water
1 large egg (well beaten)
In a medium bowl, stir the Jamaican spice blend or Columbo powder, flour, salt and cayenne together. Using a pastry blender (or just two knives, which is a lot more work), cut in the shortening until the mixture looks like coarse meal. Tossing with a fork, gradually sprinkle in the ice water, mixing just until the mixture is moist enough to hold together when pinched between you thumb and forefinger. You may need to add a little more water.
Gather the dough and form it into a flat disc, wrap it in waxed paper, and refrigerate over night.
Heat the butter in a larger skillet. Add the lamb, onion, chile pepper, garlic, and brown well over medium-high heat, stirring often, for about 5-8 minutes. Drain and discard all the fat.
Now add the flour, Jamaican spices (Columbo powder), salt, thyme, cilantro, allspice, and stir for a minute. Stir in the tomato paste and water, and cook until thickened. (These are all one minute steps.) Remove from the heat and allow the filling to cool completely.
Position the rack in the top third of the oven, and pre-heat to 400 . Lightly grease the baking sheet.
On a lightly floured work surface (like the counter top), roll out the dough to form a 12 × 14 inch rectangle about 1/8 inch thick. Cut this into eight, 6 × 3 inch rectangles. Place about ¼ cup of the filling in the center of each rectangle, fold it over to enclose the filling, and press the edges with a fork to seal them in.
Transfer to the prepared, baking sheet, and brush them lightly with the beaten egg. Bake until golden brown. (about 25 to 30 minutes). Serve hot, warm, or at room temperature.
Combine cumin, paprika, coriander, pepper, cayenne pepper and cinnamon in a bowl and mix thoroughly. Set aside. Trim excess fat from lamb and slice the meat into thin strips. Then toss lamb with the spice mixture until evenly coated. Carefully skewer each piece of seasoned lamb with a wooden skewer that's been soaked in water overnight. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to cook. Place on pre-heated grill for about 2 minutes, flip and cook for about 1 minute more. Serve hot.
Mint Yogurt Dipping Sauce
2 cups (500 ml) plain yogurt
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
½ lemon, juice only
¼ cup mint, freshly chopped
salt and pepper to taste
In a small bowl, combine all the ingredients and mix thoroughly. The dip tastes best if refrigerated for a few hours before serving.