A mother-daughter conversation on food and cooking (mostly)

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Indian Lamb and Garbanzos

I've really missed cooking these last few months. I've had a lot of evening work -- mayoral debates, late nights in the office -- and haven't had time for the kind of messy, unfocused cooking I like to do. We've had a lot more pasta dishes and tuna melts for dinner. I've made good stuff, and so has Lawson, but it's been different. It'll get better after the April city election.

Anyway, last night was a completely sprawling, right-brain, organic (in the procedural sense) night of cooking, and it was wonderful.

We were going to have grilled wings, naan and salad, but it started raining. Bad weather for an outdoor fire.

I'd already made the naan dough, so I decided to build a meal around that instead. I started cutting up some lamb we needed to use, leafing through Indian cookbooks, seeing what we had and what would taste good.

Here's what we ended up with, clockwise from left:

- Swiss chard sauteed with garlic and chiltepins, finished with a big squeeze of Meyer lemon juice
- lamb with garbanzos
- Boddingtons Pub Ale
- naan
- yellow lentils with spices (cinnamon, ginger, garlic and coriander, mostly)
- pickled okra

Lawson made the spice blend for the lentils. I made the rest.

The lamb-garbanzo dish grew out of a lamb recipe in an old cookbook called "Classics of Indian Cooking." It was called Cumin Lamb but I left out the cumin, added garbanzos, left out the bell peppers, and more, so it really is a completely different dish. You could use a teaspoon or two of cumin seeds in the spice paste; I didn't use them because there was a lot of cumin in the yellow lentils.

Lamb and Garbanzos
Blend in blender until smooth:
  • 1" piece of ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • cardamom seeds from 10 pods
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 20 almonds
  • 1 t chile powder or cayenne
  • 1 t brown sugar
  • 1 t salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt
  • stock as needed to moisten (I used lamb cut from the shoulder, so I simmered the scraps and bones for an hour or so beforehand and used that. Chicken stock would work, too. Leftover lamb stock goes to the dog.)
Heat in casserole or Dutch oven with lid:
  • 3 T butter
Saute until golden brown:
  • 1 onion, diced
Add and brown:
  • 1/2 lb or more lean lamb, cubed
Add the spice mixture and fry it for a while, making sure it doesn't burn on the bottom. Add:
  • pinch of saffron (10 threads?)
  • 1 can garbanzo beans
  • Stock to moisten but not make soupy
Cover and cook on low until lamb is very tender, 75 minutes or more, adding stock or yogurt as needed.

The beans keep this from being too rich, but it stills needs to be paired with some bright flavors and green foods to balance it out.

1 comment:

Kris said...

Sounds excellent. We had food from Ali Baba last night with Grandma--lamb shank, chicken shish kebab, and a yellow pea and eggplant dish, very delicious.

There is always a lot of leftover rice with take-out food, so I'm going to make fried rice for lunch.