[Smashy the Hammer] [An Aspiring Luddite]
I carry no phone
An aspiring Luddite
In a wired world.
[Jeff Berry]
Jeff Berry is an early adopter of the Internet and the Web, a late adopter of Twitter, and declines to adopt Facebook. With the death of Google+, he's experimenting with federated platforms. He admins a medievalist Mastodon instance, and can found on the PlusPora diaspora pod. He hates cell-phones.

Lamb Curry
25 October 2013

Let me begin by apologizing for not having pictures of the actual final product this week. Either I took the pictures and lost them, or, more likely I got so carried away with cooking and eating that I forgot to take any. It's happened before. Still, the pictures I do have are from the process, and aren't they lovely, folks? Moving on ...

One of the reasons I like independent butchers is that sometimes, not every time, but some times, I wander in and there are odd little bits and bobs, and I think to myself, 'Hmm. I wonder what I can do with that?' or, even better, 'That looks great, I could do This Thing with that!' So it was when I saw the lamb neck at the butcher. Now, regular readers will know that odd cuts call to me with a nigh-irresistible siren song. Neck! Like tail only at the other end! Something that cries out for long slow cooking. Lamb, not mutton more's the pity, but still pretty good. Needless to say, I bought it. The butcher offered to cut it up for me, and having spent far too much time in the past sawing through spines to get them to fit into my old crockpot, I said 'please,' and he whacked it in half. (Well, 'sawed' more accurately.)

My initial plan, knowing that I would get several meals out of this, was to braise the lamb with some vegetables, strip it off the bone and use it in quick soups or omelettes or other things of that ilk. The curry idea came later as one of that ilk. And quite a good ilk it turned out to be.

To be fair, you could probably use other bits of lamb than neck for this if you like, but if you can find lamb neck, this works brilliantly. [Lots of pictures]

Lamb Curry

Season your lamb. I used a mixture of salt, black pepper, cumin and chili powder. Then sear the meat on all sides. Unless you seared it in an oven safe dish, put it in one. Cut an onion in half and place it in top of the meat along with a bulb of fennel. Add water about half-way up the side of the meat. Cover and put the whole thing in a 350F/175C oven for an hour. Check on it in an hour to admire your handiwork, then return it for another hour. If all has gone to plan, at this point, your vegetables are soft, but have not disintegrated into your braising liquid, and your lamb is falling off the bone. Encourage this tendency in the lamb, and either discard the bones, or save them for stock.

At this point, you could make a quick soup. Indeed, I did. For mine, I cut up some cabbage, dumped it in a pot with the braising liquid and simmered it for ten or fifteen minutes, until the cabbage started to soften. Then I added a bit of the lamb, fennel and onion, heated it all through, corrected the seasonings and ate it. However, don't do that with all the lamb, there's yet a curry to make.

With your pre-cooking done, it remains only to assemble the curry. Cut a potato into medium dice. Treat an onion in like manner. Put a splash of oil into a pot and add the onion. Give it a few minutes, then add the potato. Add a cup or so of liquid - stock, water, or whatever you have to hand. Take some of the pre-cooked onion and fennel and add it to the pot as well. A bit of tomato paste would not be amiss at this juncture. Add the amount of curry seasoning you think is appropriate. I used the rest of my paprika mix from above, plus some coriander and some chili powder. Cover and simmer, stirring now and then. Cook until the potatoes are just about done, then add some of the chopped lamb. Check the seasonings and let it finish cooking.

The double-cooked onion and fennel should dissolve, thickening the curry sauce, as well as adding a layer of flavor underneath the more robust once-cooked onion. You could serve it over rice, or just eat it as is.

© 2013 Jeff Berry
The Aspiring Luddite