Note: this recipe was part of a book I wrote called Eat Like A Maisel.
I don’t know whether this recipe is easier with or without a food processor. On the one hand, it speeds up cutting the onions and ginger. On the other, you have to clean the food processor. Your call!
I like the smoother consistency that pureeing the ingredients gives. Also—and promise me you won’t tell all your professional chef friends—but you can skip the browning the meat if you really want to. I live in a tiny apartment, and there are some nights I’d rather not set off the smoke alarm.
I like serving this with white rice, pita, a simple salad, and wine (my favorite part). I prefer a glass of sparkling rosé such as the Italian Franciacorta, a Grüner Veltliner, or an Alsatian Riesling.
My wife thinks I’m crazy, but whenever we order Indian food, I love having cold leftovers the next morning. So I tried the same with this. And it was fantastic. If you’re anything like me [insane], you don’t normally like stewed dishes in the summer. But give this a shot; I think you’ll enjoy it.
1 pound (453 g) onions
2 tablespoons fresh ginger
6 cloves (30 g) garlic
1 pound (453 g) boneless lamb
1⁄4 cup (55 g) cream
2 teaspoons (5 g) ground turmeric
2 teaspoons (5 g) cumin
14 ounces (400 g) canned tomatoes
16 ounces (500 g) lamb stock If you don’t have lamb stock, you can substitute Chicken Stock
Kosher salt, as needed
Oil, as needed
1 cinnamon stick
Flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped (optional garnish)
Crème fraîche (optional garnish)
Food processor method
Remove the skin and root ends of the onions and cut into large chunks. Peel the ginger and cut into small chunks. Use a large chef’s knife to lightly crush the garlic cloves. Peel them and discard the skins. Rough chop the onions, ginger, and garlic, add to the food processor. and process until pureed. Reserve.
Non–food processor method
Cut the onions in 1⁄4 inch dice. Peel the ginger and grate it with a fine grater. Lightly smoosh (technical term) the garlic under the broad side of your chef’s knife to loosen the peel. Remove the peel, and mince the garlic. Reserve.
Brown the lamb. Use paper towels to pat dry the lamb. Then cut the lamb into 1-inch cubes. Sprinkle plenty of kosher salt over the lamb. Heat a large enameled Dutch oven over medium- high heat. Add enough oil to cover the bottom the pan with about 1/8-inch deep. Working in batches, add the lamb and brown on all sides, about 2 minutes per side. Don’t add it all at once unless they all fit in one layer. If you add it all at once, you run the risk of cooling the pan so much that the meat takes longer to brown. The longer it takes to brown, the more you risk overcooking the lamb. Use tongs to turn the lamb. If they stick to the pan, give them another minute or two. Remove the lamb and reserve.
Remove the pan from the heat and use a spoon to remove the oil from the pan. This stuff is spent, and we don’t want it messing up the flavor of our curry.
Sweat vegetables. Add the pureed or diced onions/ginger/garlic mixture and sweat over medium- low heat. We’re not looking to brown the onions and garlic. We want to cook or “sweat” them until they turn translucent, about 10 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 300 ̊F.
Add cream, turmeric, cumin, tomatoes, stock, cinnamon stick, and lamb to the Dutch oven containing the sweated onion mixture. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and transfer to the oven. Braise in oven until fork-tender, about 2 hours.
Serve with basmati rice and warmed pita or as cold leftovers. Either way, garnish with parsley and/or a dollop of crème fraîche.