Coconut Lamb Stew

Last Monday, Calvin’s granddad Greg came by to meet the grandson and drop off a care package loaded with red meat (yay!) and hard cider (yay!). The cider has come in handy after particularly stressful fuss-feedings (Calvin’s a comfort eater already! I’m a failure!), and the red meat keeps my energy up while I’m healing from childbirth and producing milk.

At least, that’s the theory. In practice, actually using the raw materials in our fridge to make food has become The Impossible Dream. This past week buzzed by, loaded with Calvin’s fussy spells and funny smells, and four out of six of our dinners at home turned into “where should we order from?”

So on Saturday night, we found ourselves with 2 pounds of lamb steaks in the fridge that absolutely had to be used that night, along with numerous vegetables with no plan. Greg, though, had planted a good idea in our heads: a lamb stew made with coconut milk and plenty of turmeric, chili powder, and cumin.

I had no idea how to actually assemble this stew. So I took some inspiration from this Lamb and Coconut Milk Stew on examiner.com, an Anglo-Indian concoction that seemed to have the right idea. I doubled some quantities, mixed in the spices I wanted, and it all turned out pretty great.

Really great, actually. A+++ Would Cook Again… Calvin-allowing, of course.

So here’s my own version — a warming, mildly spicy, very creamy lamb stew. The cinnamon gives it a mildly Moroccan flavor; you could push it further in that direction by adding raisins.

Ingredients

2 in square fresh ginger, chopped
1/3 C fresh garlic, chopped
2 Tb turmeric
1 Tb cumin
1/2 Tb red pepper flakes
1 Tb whole peppercorns
2 cinnamon sticks
6 whole cloves

2 pounds lamb
2 medium potatoes
2 large carrots
2 cans coconut milk (14oz each)
1 Tb fresh lime or lemon juice
Oil for frying

Getting On With It

  1. Peel and finely chop garlic and ginger.
  2. Cut the potatoes into quarters.
  3. Peel the carrot and cut into medallions.
  4. Wash, drain and pat dry the lamb and cut into 1 inch cubes. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Use about twice as much salt than you normally would to coat the typical steak.
  5. Heat oil in a pan. Crackle the whole spices: Whole peppercorns, cinnamon, cloves and bay leaves.
  6. Add the chopped ginger and garlic. Saute well.
  7. Add the lamb cubes and saute till the meat is seared.
  8. Add two or three cups of water, enough to cover the lamb.
  9. Add cumin, turmeric, and red pepper flakes.
  10. Bring to a boil, close the lid and simmer for 30 – 45 minutes.
  11. When the lamb is approximately half done, add in the potatoes and carrots. Simmer for approximately 10 minutes.
  12. Pour in both cans of coconut milk. Mix well and cover with lid and keep simmering for another 10 – 15 minutes.
  13. Add lime juice.
  14. Test for adequate saltiness and whatnot. Needs something? A dash of tabasco sauce? Try it.
  15. Continue to cook until the lamb and vegetables are “done”.
  16. EAT. Avoid burning mouth. This stuff has a hella high specific heat.

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