Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Lamb, Spinach and Chickpea Curry

I was talking online with a friend that lives in Florida about how we'd splurged and bought a boneless leg of lamb, but that I was ok with it because we'd get at least three meals out of it.  He gasped in horror and informed me  that the last time he'd priced that cut, it'd cost over $20 a pound and would have cost about $60 to buy the roast.  And then I gasped in horror right back!  Here in the DC area, I was able to buy my splurgy roast (just short of 3 pounds of boneless leg of lamb) for $21 total.  Which still is a splurge - but it's not insane.

So, if I am talking about lamb and prices in your area are as ridiculous as they are where my friend lives, please know I have not utterly taken leave of my senses!  For us, that roast actually added up to four meals, with zero waste - that's just about $2.50 in meat per person per meal. Not the most frugal, but not terrible either, especially as we are actively working on confining our eating out days to planned social activities and not just because we feel like treating ourselves or don't get around to making dinner.

Sadly, I was bad about taking pictures of all the lamby goodness.  On the first night, I simply roasted it following this recipe for Roasted Leg of Lamb.  It was incredibly good - rather like a good prime rib, actually. Tender, medium rare, and delicious with roasted red potatoes and roasted asparagus.

The next night was one of those 'too busy to cook' days, and we just put together a huge dinner salad, hacked off a portion of the roast and cubed it, scooping up some of the flavorful jelled sauce in the bottom of the dish, and quickly sauted those - the sauce glazed around the cubes, and we used them to top off our salads.

The last two meals involved this curry recipe - it made enough to feed us well for two days and because curry is one of  those things that tastes even better after an overnight in the refrigerator, not one bit of this felt like we were tolerating leftovers. If you don't used canned products, this isn't the recipe for you, but you probably have methods for adjusting recipes, right?  This makes a spicy curry - adjust seasonings as you need to! There is no one right way with curry.

Lamb, Spinach and Chickpea Curry

1 lb lamb, cut in 1/2" cubes (we used leftover leg of lamb)
1 T. fat (I used tallow - ghee, lard, or olive oil would also be fine)
1 onion, diced
2 cans chickpeas (or equivalent dried chickpeas, cooked)
1 can organic diced tomatoes
1 small can diced green chiles
1 small can organic tomato paste
1 bag baby spinach
1 T. cumin
1 t. coriander seed
3 T. curry powder (I used 1 T each of three Spice House curry blends I had on hand: Garam Masala, Vindaloo, and Rogan Josh)
1 t. cayenne
1 can coconut milk (or 1 cup thick yogurt)

Saute lamb cubes and onion until browned and tender.  Add chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and green chiles, and seasonings.  If too dry, add a little water or broth, and let simmer for at least 30 minutes (longer is fine), stirring occasionally.  Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Stir in tomato paste, add spinach (as it wilts, stir it into the curry), and simmer for another 15 minutes or so.  Stir in coconut milk or yogurt, let curry heat, but be careful not to scorch, and serve.

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