Thursday, September 27, 2012

Indian-Spiced Lentils and Lamb Stew




This Indian spiced stew with lentils and lamb is a perfect dish to usher in a little cool weather that many of us have been experiencing. It’s not a heavy winter stew that needs a long simmer and warms your bones. It’s more of what I call a “transitional” dish that bridges the gap between summer and fall.

I completely re-wrote the order of cooking this stew and I’ll tell you why. Lamb can be fatty and leave a heavy after-taste. You’ll hear people say they don’t like lamb. There are many reasons, but I believe that one of the reasons is it's the fatty flavor of the lamb that they don’t like.

The original recipe called for browning the lamb, then adding the vegetables to the skillet, and cooking them together. I reversed the process and cooked the vegetables first, then set them aside. Then I cooked the lamb separately, strained it well with paper towels to remove any fat, and added it to the cooked vegetables to eliminate any fatty flavors associated with the lamb.

And here in lies a question - do you ever make a decision to cook a recipe differently than how it was originally written? I’m not talking about substituting or changing ingredients. I’m talking about actually re-writing the recipe’s instruction. I would love to hear your thoughts.



Regarding ingredients. The recipe called for red curry powder, which I couldn’t find at our local supermarket. I substituted yellow, but I might seek out the red next time. Here’s a link for information about the difference in curry powders. If you don’t like it too spicy, go light on the red pepper. At the end of the cooking time the stew was drier than I liked, so I added the juice from the tomatoes and more coconut milk.

We love lamb and we thought it brought an incredible amount of flavor to this, but ground turkey or lean ground beef would also work. Ordinary brown lentils were called for and I don’t think it’s necessary to use the French ones in this. Save the good ones for when they are the star of recipe, not a secondary player.



Indian-Spiced Lentils and Lamb Stew
Adapted from Cooking Light – serves 4

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 ½ cups chopped onion
¾ cup peeled and chopped carrot
1 jalapeno pepper, seeds and ribs removed, finely diced
5 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 teaspoon curry powder, red if you have it
1 teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
¾ cup brown lentils
2 teaspoons olive oil
6 ounces lean ground lamb
1 cup water
¾ cup light coconut milk, plus more if needed
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained and chopped, (save juice to use later if needed)
¼ cup fresh cilantro, chopped plus 4 sprigs for garnish
Reduced fat Greek yogurt or low fat sour cream

Add the olive oil to a 10” non-stick skillet, swirl to coat, and turn heat to medium-high. When hot, add onions, carrot, and jalapeno and sauté about 10 minutes until vegetables soften and begin to brown. Add garlic, curry powder, cumin, salt and pepper and stir well. Sauté 30 seconds, then add tomato paste. Sauté about 2 minutes until tomato paste is well incorporated in the vegetables. Add the lentils and stir for a minute or two. Remove the vegetables and lentils to a stockpot.

Wipe the skillet out and add two teaspoons of olive oil, swirl, and heat over medium high heat. Add lamb, breaking it up with a spoon and brown for a few minutes until done. Strain cooked lamb in a strainer lined with paper towels to remove any of the fat. Add cooked lamb to the stockpot with the vegetables, then add the water, coconut milk and tomatoes and bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the lentils are done. Take care not to let the stew stick. You may need to add more coconut milk and/or the juices from the tomatoes. (I used both.) Add chopped cilantro and stir to incorporate.

Ladle one cup of the stew into each of 4 bowls and garnish with 1 tablespoon of yogurt and a sprig of cilantro. Serve right away.




This will be shared with Foodie Friday at Rattlebridge Farms, Miz Helen’s Country Kitchen Full Plate Thursday, Foodie Friday at Simple Recipes, Foodtastic Friday at Not Your Ordinary Recipes, Seasonal Sunday at the Tablescaper, Food on Friday at Carole's Chatter, and On the Menu Monday at Stone Gable.

Have a great weekend!

46 comments:

  1. This sounds delicious! Red curry is not as hot as the green curry. We enjoy them both. Thanks for the link about curries. I learned abaout the paste curries when I tried Thai cooking, which we love.

    We really like lamb and have it only for Easter these days as lamb is very expensive. I've not seen ground lamb in quite a long time, so don't know where I could get that.

    Thanks for this recipe.

    FlowerLady

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Flower Lady,
      We can occasionally find ground lamb prepackaged in our grocery store here in North Carolina, but the last time we had to ask them to special order it for us. When we're in Florida, some Publix stores carry ground lamb.
      Sam

      Delete
  2. A wonderful dish! Really mouthwatering and surely extremely tasty.

    Cheers,

    Rosa

    ReplyDelete
  3. Very delicious and looks awesome ...in India we also use goat meat to make this dish!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I hope you are sharing this tomorrow on foodie friday... this is such a fantastic recipe for chilly weather.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I think what you did would work for me:)

    I don't think I rewrite..but I do change them..the most frequent thing I do is use less bowls and pots and pans that the recipe requires:)And I will often melt chocolate and other things in the microwave(y only use for it I think..to reheat things and this)instead of a bain -marie..I add cardamom often to a sweet cinnamon spiced recipe..use more vanilla than required..add chili peppers to sauces..that sort of basic thing:)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Unless I know something is wrong I usually make a recipe as written the first time and then start changing it. This beautiful dish is just what I'm craving as the temperature begins to dip here in the Northwest. Great photos, Sam.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Ah, fall in a bowl--delicious! I do rewrite a number of recipes. Some because I know (or think I do) a better way of preparing the meat or how to put the dish together, etc.. Of course, all that I learned from another recipe. With the exception of baking something that calls for a "chemical reaction", I probably change (a tad) almost every recipe I do--even my own. My husband, on the other hand, follows a recipe meticulously. The scientist in him I suppose.

    Have a great weekend.

    Best,
    Bonnie

    ReplyDelete
  8. The lentil and lamb stew sounds delicious...I can't wait to try it. I just made lamb stew and know what you mean...the fat can sometimes be strong. I make mine with chunks of shoulder or leg and trim off every bit of the fat just for that reason.

    ReplyDelete
  9. this looks so warming and flavorful, just lovely for this time of year!

    ReplyDelete
  10. I love lentils which I have in the kitchen, now I need to see if I can get hold of some lamb that does not break the bank. I have a good mincer so converting it to ground is no problem :-) Take care Diane

    ReplyDelete
  11. I actually thought I could smell this, when I first set eyes on the photo - it's that tempting. What a wonderful dish for autumn!

    ReplyDelete
  12. this looks wonderful and love that you made it healthier

    ReplyDelete
  13. Love this dish. It not only looks great, it contains some of my favorite ingredients.

    Sam, you know I'm a recipe rebel. I strongly believe they should be referred to, not followed to the letter.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This really looks good. My fiance really enjoys lamb - I bet he would love this.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I've bookmarked this as it looks so wonderful but I think you are so right about cooking the lamb separately. I almost always change recipes these days, I think if you cook a lot, you know a lot and what works for you and your family !! Lovely, lovely dish
    Mary x

    ReplyDelete
  16. Great stew...and I approve of your tweak in the method. I do that, too...like when a stew recipe doesn't have you brown the meat first. I'll always add that step.

    ReplyDelete
  17. That fatty lamb flavor is often referenced when people have a strong disdain for lamb. I laugh because it is the first part that I slice off and place into my mouth when I have a rack of lamb. This looks like a flavorful soup with lots of dimension. Delicious!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Dear Sam, I love lentils and don't make them often enough, considering how healthy they are. This dish looks wonderful. Blessings dear. Catherine xo

    ReplyDelete
  19. Your dish looks outstanding Sam and I'd say it's very similar to the fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, turnip greens, fried okra, and hot rolls I had a little while ago at Lamberts Cafe in Sikeston, MO - what a unique place. Hopefully home tomorrow.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Hello Sam

    This dish looks delicious and I am hoping to make it this weekend. We have just returned from Ireland where lamb is plentiful. When driving through the mountains it is not uncommon to have sheep graze by the roadside. The wild oregano and heather flavour the meat and grazing is organic.

    Have a wonderful weekend

    Helen xx

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love lamb and have slowly converted my husband to enjoying it. This is a beautiful dish, Sam. Love the colors, of course. I truly would love to taste this, and hope it'll be one of so many recipes I keep saving! Yes, of course, I've been known to adapt some recipe directions to what I think will work well. I'm a huge fan of searing and braising. The only thing I try not to do is to tweak too many ingredients, otherwise it's no longer that recipe and a whole new one. Then again, sometimes that works, too. With baking, though, I pretty much stick to the recipe. Otherwise, things can definitely go wrong!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Looks absolutely delicious and perfect for Fall. New follower from Foodtastic Friday! :)

    ReplyDelete
  23. This sounds wonderful and I love your revision! I think you're right about the fat, it definitely gives it a heavier taste. Love all the flavors going on here. I'm growing more and more fond of Indian cuisine!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I have never cooked or had lamb. The stew with lentils looks hearty and comforting. I would really love to taste it.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I saw this great recipe on Foodie Friday. Love it. Will try it soon

    ReplyDelete
  26. I'm probably in that group of people that don't care for lamb for the reasons you've stated. The only lamb I care to eat are grilled lamb chops with lots of seasonings. Friends of ours also do a delicious grilled leg of lamb. If it's grilled, I know I'm fine. I do love lentils, though and would probably make this with any other hearty meat.

    I have actually changed the cooking order in a recipe just because I felt it would turn out better. Good choice on your part!

    ReplyDelete
  27. As always, your recipe sounds so wonderful, my friend.

    I'm still not back to blogging, but I wanted to drop by and pay you a little visit and wish you a Happy Fall.

    Hope all is well with you two.

    xoxoxox,

    Sheila

    ReplyDelete
  28. that looks so delicious!

    i'm definitely going to try it out!
    thanks for sharing.

    have a great weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  29. This stew looks lovely. The Indian spices are delicious - very warming for a cool fall evening!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Hi Sam, I love how you've updated this recipe by removing the fat, I am one of those people who actually can't tolerate a high-fat meal, it truly makes me ill. I would try this, but I would probably have to substitue the lamb, for veal, my husband detests lamb . . . he's tried it many times and he just can't warm up to the taste.

    To answer you question, sometime I will change how a recipe is prepared, it totally depends the recipe as you know.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, thank you for stopping by this a.m. too! Glad you liked my pun! LOL!!!

      Delete
  31. Hi dear Sam,

    YES! I usually do tweak recipes after trying them a few times. You hit the nail on the head about the strange flavor that is associated with cooking lamb. I will try it and drain it thoroughly. Oddly, when we ate lamb in France we never had the bad tastes.

    I'll be working in North Carolina in October and am REALLY looking forward to it.

    Sending love across the miles,

    Sharon Lovejoy Writes from Sunflower House and a Little Green Island

    ReplyDelete
  32. Oh, I love the way this sounds -- and I adore lamb, even with the fatty taste. I often change recipes around to make the cooking suit my own style (rustic, peasant-y, careless.)

    ReplyDelete
  33. This looks so good. I have a bag of lentils that I had no idea how to prepare and I might give this a go. Although here in South Texas we are still burning up. And as far as lamb goes, I just love it! Especially when I find it at farmer's markets. so yummy.

    When it comes to following recipes, I try to follow but I jump around a bit with the instructions which has led to some bad meals but I still had fun in the process. I recently made some quinoa black bean burgers that I found on pinterest, followed the recipe to the T and they were God Awful and nothing like the picture!! But I've only been practicing my cooking skills for 5 years or so, so you win some, you lose some. Have a fantastic weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  34. This will play well in my house.

    And yes, I do change recipes like that. Especially when I have hunted through Epicurious, pulled up two or three that look good, and I wind up cooking an amalgamation of all.

    ReplyDelete
  35. Your photos of this spiced lamb stew look so appealing and it's a great idea to strain some of the strong flavored fat from the dish. I love lamb in any form but extra lamb fat-not so much! Wonderful lamb stew, I will have to try this one;-)

    ReplyDelete
  36. Hi Sam,
    What a beautiful way to welcome fall to your kitchen. We love lamb and this looks like a very flavorful stew that we would savor. I can almost taste it with the warm cozy flavors of fall.

    Hope you are having a great weekend and thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

    ReplyDelete
  37. When I make rice stuffing for chicken I use lamb shoulder and trim off every bit of fat. My great aunts taught me to do it, but until your post I did not know why! I also use ground lamb to make patties on the grill, but I guess the fat really drains off into the fire so there's no problem with the fat taste. We love lamb and eat quite a lot. Thanks for this recipe--I may try it this week! Linda

    ReplyDelete
  38. My mother made the best lentil soup I've ever had. But it was the old fashioned, basic kind and she always used ham.....even left over hot dogs! Your recipe shines, Sam! Love the flavors and your adaptation sounds delicious to me. I do love lamb (and the fat accompanying it), but agree many people do not. Super photos, too.
    (I've moved a lot too...in the Air Force, several times when we lived in Michigan, but the hardest was the move from Michigan to Florida 40 years ago. I've moved twice since I've lived here but this is the longest I've ever stayed in one place, so I've accumulated a lot of things I no longer use or need. Our life styles change as our kids move out and as we age, we simplify our lives.)

    ReplyDelete
  39. This looks absolutely delicious, Sam. I've pinned it to try soon! Thank you.

    ReplyDelete
  40. We've been so hot and dry for all of September - we are welcoming a bit of an autumn chill! It's supposed to happen midweek - and I will be ready - love the gentleness of the warmth in the dish.

    ReplyDelete
  41. Good Morning Sam, I have found you via Yvonne's On the Menu Monday. The spiced stew with lentils caught my eye and looks like an interesting dish to make. I tend to follow a recipe once, then I make the changes. I will either add or subtract ingredients to match my palate. This dish is perfect for our English weather and I look forward to making it. Best Wishes Daphne

    ReplyDelete
  42. This dish certainly has inspired me to try more lamb recipes that we somehow reserve only for Easter. What a beautiful fall you must be having in NC, Sam! We're just now starting to see some color.

    Ciao,
    Roz

    ReplyDelete
  43. Hi there. This week's Food on Friday is all about lamb! So it would be great if you linked this in. This is the link . Have a good week.

    ReplyDelete
  44. Hi Sam, thanks for linking in to Food on Friday. I have fixed the link up for you - no problems! Have a great week.

    ReplyDelete

I enjoy reading each and every comment. If you leave a comment with a question or that requires an answer, please leave an address or way for me to get in touch with you. I appreciate your taking the time to visit my blog and I hope you'll return again soon.
Sam