Saturday, August 27, 2016

Curried Lamb Neck Meat

I just picked up a new cut of meat (new for me) from the Manager's Special (Translation: Needs to go today, and you'd better cook it today too!) case at Safeway.

It's lamb neck meat, which I'd never bought before, although I may have had it at my sister in law's place in Australia, given that they are sheep farmers.

Anyway I figured it would have to be cooked long and slow, and sure enough, my research efforts came up with only a few ideas, all stews or ragout. But no curries, and since that is my favorite, I decided to give it a go.

I didn't take a picture, but the meat was in big pieces, with quite a bit of fat and bones. I cut off as much fat as I could, and was left with about 3 pounds.

Anybody who knows me, knows I don't really measure when I cook, but I'll try to give you an approximation of what I used. Remind me to tell you what I do with garlic and ginger. And tomatoes.
Along with the 3 pounds of lamb neck meat, cut into smaller pieces if you can get through the bones:

  • 3  medium onions
  • 4 large garlic cloves, minced
  • About the same amount of grated fresh ginger
  • Cooking oil or ghee (about 3 Tablespoons)
  • Curry powder (about 5 Tablespoons)
  • Garam masala (1 teaspoon)
  • Lemon juice or white vinegar (about 5 Tablespoons)
  • Salt
  • 3 large tomatoes, skinned and chopped. Or a can of tomatoes.
First I seared the meat in my electric frying pan. This was to get some of that fat, to use along with the oil. Then remove the meat to a plate, pour the oil into the pan, and add the chopped onions, garlic, and ginger. Cook on medium until the onions are translucent, then sprinkle the curry powder over the mixture, and stir it all together. Add a splash of water if you need more liquid. Cook it stirring for about a minute, then add the lemon juice or vinegar, garam masala, and salt to taste. A teaspoon, maybe? You can always add more later. Add the meat, and stir it around until it is coated with the onion mixture and browning a bit, then add the tomatoes. Simmer for about 2 hours, covered, stirring and turning the meat occasionally, and adding a splash of water if necessary. It's done when you can easily pull the meat off the bones.

Remove the bones, cut the meat into smaller pieces, and serve over basmati rice. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

My staple- oatmeal!

I have never been a fan of sweet breakfast foods.

Many years ago we lived in Southern Africa, where maize meal is a staple food called mealie meal. I was delighted to discover that they often serve it at breakfast time as a base for a delicious "relish" of stir-fried onions and tomatoes. Most people enjoy their breakfast of mealie meal with milk and sugar, as with oatmeal in our culture.

But since my days in Southern Africa, I have been eating oatmeal with salt and pepper, chili sauce, and maybe a sprinkling of cheese.

Recently having a house guest who liked oatmeal for breakfast, I dug out my Costco sized bags of oatmeal. I have been trying to lose a few pounds, and I thought, what if I served my favorite "relishes" over oatmeal instead of rice, or potatoes or other starchy comfort bases?

And guess what? It's working! Not only is oatmeal lower cal, it makes a delicious creamy base for curry, veggies, Mexican- everything I've tried. And it is so filling!

Tonight's experiment:

I started with leftover oatmeal, added chicken broth from a carton, then chopped onion, minced garlic, and chopped carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and spinach. Simmered it all together until it was like a hearty stew.

Add salt pepper, and a sprinkling of shredded cheese, chopped coriander and chili sauce if desired!