Today is a good day! A local wine merchant called a few days ago to let me know a highly sought-after everyday wine (if there is such a thing) is finally back in stock. I whizzed by after work and picked up half a case and am enjoying a glass – or two – as I’m writing. It is a very economical ($12 for 750 ml bottle) French blend (Syrah/Merlot/Grenache/Carignan) from the Pays D’Oc IGP called Claude Val from les Domaines Paul Mas. Again, I digress – back to the food…
The very first food blog I subscribed to was the Bitten Word. It is authored by a couple (Zach & Clay) residing in Washington, D.C. who felt they were not particularly purposeful with their multitude of monthly food magazines. They vowed to use the blog as a vehicle to share their praise and disdain for features, recipes and overall concepts in their subscribed periodicals. There are a few interesting events through the year – Fakesgiving, where they cook competing recipes from the Thanksgiving issue of their subscriptions and host a feast for friends several weeks ahead of the actual American Thanksgiving. It is a clever concept providing side-by-side comparisons (including the recipes) so their readers can create the ultimate feast – unless you live in Canada and Thanksgiving has already passed.
A second concept they have explored through their readership is a cover-to-cover experiment. On the first go around, they recruited readers to complete every recipe from their dozen subscriptions. Each recipe was to be followed to the T and reviewed (would you make it again, what did you like, did you make any changes?). The second iteration (that I participated in) was again a cover-to-cover challenge – this time of a single magazine – where 5-6 readers made the same recipe. The reviews were presented with submitted photos.
The gentlemen recently reviewed a pressure cooker lamb curry. Frankly – they had me at pressure cooker! Or lamb! Or curry!
Upon reading their blog I knew I would make this recipe – and PDQ! I quite enjoy lamb. So when the opportunity presented itself to combine my ‘new’ favourite cooking tool (pressure cooker) with a favourite protein (lamb) – I couldn’t resist. I picked up some lamb, fresh cilantro and plain yoghurt a few days later (all other ingredients are pantry staples) and made the curry just after whipping up the pearl barley orzotto. Within 20 minutes, the pressurecooker was whistling away and the hard labour was done. After the prescribed 24 minute cooking time, I released the pressure, popped open the lid and tasted the second recipe of the night. I could barely contain myself – it was amazing! The Bitten Word boys sum it up nicely “This curry is flat-out delicious. The mix of Indian spices — cinnamon, cardamom, coriander, cumin, turmeric — is warm and comforting. The lamb is juicy and perfectly tender. Served with a dollop of yogurt, it’s darn near perfect.” We took a few photos of the dish thinking it would make a great dinner the following night – heck I practically devoured a serving on the spot! I shared the recipe with a colleague today and she suggested trying this with goat. I enjoy a Caribbean jerk goat – how do you think a pressure cooker goat curry would work?
Pressure Cooker Lamb Curry
- 3 tbsp safflower oil
- 2 onions, finely chopped (about 2 1/4 cups)
- 3 tbsp grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 3-ounce piece)
- 6 cloves garlic, minced (about 3 tbsp)
- Coarse salt
- 3-inch cinnamon stick
- 2 1/4 teaspoons cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds, crushed
- 3/4 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cardamom pods, crushed
- 2 tsp tomato paste
- 2 1/2 pounds lamb shoulder, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 12 ounces baby fingerlings (or Yukon Gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch pieces)
- 2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
- 1 bunch spinach, trimmed, washed well, and shaken to remove excess liquid (about 4 cups packed leaves)
- Cilantro, yogurt, Indian pickle or chutney, and flatbread, for serving
- Heat oil in a 6-quart pressure cooker over medium-high heat. Add onions, ginger, garlic, and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are translucent, about 3 minutes. Add cinnamon stick, cumin, coriander,turmeric, and cardamom. Cook, stirring, until spices are fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring, 15 seconds more.
- Add lamb, potatoes, and broth. Season with salt. Secure pressure-cooker lid and bring to high pressure over high heat. Reduce heat to medium to maintain high pressure. Cook 24 minutes; remove from heat. Vent pressure, then remove lid. Stir in spinach. Season with salt and serve with accompaniments.
NOTE: This recipe can easily be made without a pressure cooker – it will just need more simmering time (approx 60-90 minutes) to reach the same level of tenderness.