Thursday, August 23, 2012

Butternut Squash and Lamb Curry

This is probably the best curry I've ever made.  The lamb we've been getting from our CSA boxes is deliciously tender as long as you cook it long and slow, perfect for curry.  The addition of the butternut squash adds a slight sweetness and a velvety creaminess as it starts to melt into the curry as it cooks.  I highly recommend the combination, especially as we begin to usher in fall and all of the winter squashes it has to offer.  
-2 tsp cumin seeds
-1/4 tsp cardamom 
-1/4 tsp cinnamon
-2 tbsp garam masala or other good quality curry powder
-1/4 tsp cayenne
-3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
-1 inch ginger, peeled and minced
-1 lb lamb kabob meet, cut in 1-2 inch cubes
-4 cups broth
-3 tbsp ghee 
-1 1/2 c brown jasmine rice
-1 butternut squash

->  Toast 1 tsp of the cumin seeds, cardamom, cinnamon, and garam masala over medium heat in a dutch oven or large pot until fragrant.  *Do not add cayenne yet or it will get into the air and will not feel very nice when you breath it in.*  Crush spices together in a mortar and pestle.  Add cayenne, garlic, ginger, and two good-sized pinches of salt.  Continue to grind into a paste using the mortar and pestle.  

Meanwhile, coat bottom of dutch oven with oil.  While oil heats, season lamb with salt and pepper.  When oil is hot but not smoking, add lamb and brown.  Then add spice paste and stir.  Allow to cook for a few minutes.  Then add broth and 2 tbsp ghee and bring to a boil.  Reduce and simmer for about 30 minutes.  

While lamb simmers, prepare the rice and prep the squash.  

For rice, toast remaining 1 tsp cumin seeds over medium heat in medium pot.  Once fragrant, add rice and toast rice with cumin until it gives off a nutty smell.  Add 3 1/4 c water, a pinch of salt, and remaining 1 tbsp of ghee.  Bring to a boil, stir, and then cover and reduce to low.  Allow to simmer gently covered until all water is absorbed (30-40 minutes).  

For butternut squash, peel and remove seeds.  Cut into 1-inch cubes.  Add to lamb after the lamb has simmered for 30 minutes.  Allow to simmer uncovered for another 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until broth has reduced to a thick gravy and squash is fork-tender.  Check broth for seasoning and adjust if needed.  

Serve over rice.  Feel free to garnish with chopped fresh cilantro.  

~*TIP:  Double the ingredients for the paste, and save half in the refrigerator for another curry recipe in the future.  Use within two weeks.  Any longer and the flavor will fade too much for it to be worth it.  *~

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