You may have noticed that this is the first Lamb recipe in my collection, and what a place to start! This slow-cooked curry uses neck fillet, braised in a lightly-spiced tomato sauce for well over an hour. This ensures that the meat remains tender and that its flavour is a key part of the dish. I really wanted this to be a lamb curry and avoid it being lost thanks to some over-eager spicing.
Lamb is a meat that I don’t cook with at home all that often. It’s mostly because Michael isn’t a huge fan of its slightly fattier nature. I enjoy a good lamb rack or some properly-cooked chops but can wait until we’re eating out for either of those. This recipe only came about after I went a bit rogue with the online ordering. I saw some great value, organic lamb neck fillet that was just too good to miss.
Neck of lamb is something that I think I ate quite a lot of a child. Mostly in stew form (!!!) with the bone still left in place, rather than the fillet used here. I actually quite enjoyed it, though I think I also tried to make dinosaur skeletons out of the bones from everyone’s plates, which is a bit horrific on reflection. Anyway, I knew that if I cooked my curry over a low heat for at least an hour I was going to get a melt-in-the-mouth texture.
The delicate flavour and texture meant that I also needed to tread carefully with my spicing. The first step was to marinate the meat in a lightly-spiced yogurt mixture. This both tenderises the meat and infuses it with a delicate flavour of its own. I left it for a few hours, but it’s clear that overnight would have been better.
For the tomato part of the sauce, I used a base of onion, ginger and garlic with a whole chilli thrown in to give a bit of heat without adding major burn… If you like food spicy (like me) then you could chop it up and mix it in properly. If you have someone with a bit of chilli intolerance (like Michael) then this gives some flavour without going too far.
I know that you could argue that using a pre-mixed curry powder is a bit of a cheat and I’d probably agree. But spices go off over time and I don’t like to keep a huge cupboard full that I know will go to waste. If you have a preferred blend of spices that you’d prefer to use then add them in at this stage. Whichever route you go down, just be sure to let the curry cook out and the spices meld together for at least an hour.
Patience is a virtue and here it is very much rewarded.
Slow-cooked Lamb Curry
for the Lamb
- 2 Cardamom Pods crushed
- ½ tsp Paprika
- ½ tsp ground Cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground Coriander
- ½ tsp Garam Masala
- 1 tbsp Natural Yogurt
- 300 g Lamb Neck Fillet cut into 2cm cubes
for the Sauce
- 2 tbsp Vegetable Oil
- 1 medium Onion peeled and thinly sliced
- 2 cm Root Ginger peeled and grated
- 1 Green Chilli see note below
- 2 cloves Garlic peeled and crushed
- 200 g Tomatoes deseeded and chopped
- 2 tbsp Tomato Purée
- ½ tsp Turmeric
- 2 tsp Curry Powder mild or hot – it’s your choice
Marinate the Lamb
- Mix together the spices and yoghurt in a bowl. Add the lamb and marinate for at least 1 hour (overnight if you have time).
Cook the Curry
- Heat 1 tbsp of vegetable oil in a large heavy pan over a medium-high heat. Add the lamb in batches and cook until browned all over. Remove from the pan and put to one side.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining vegetable oil, followed by the onion and ginger. Add the green chilli – chop it if you like a bit more heat, or prick it with a knife and put it in whole so you can retrieve it later. Cook for 5-10 minutes until the onion is browned and starting to soften.
- Add in the garlic and cook for a further 2-3 minutes until fragrant, ensuring the garlic doesn’t burn.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tomato purée, turmeric and garam masala to the pan and stir through the onion mixture. Pour in 100ml of water, mix well and bring to a simmer.
- Return the browned lamb to the pan. Make sure it’s covered by the sauce – add a little more water if needed. Reduce the heat to low, then cover the pan and cook for an hour until tender.
- Serve with steamed rice and the sides of your choice.