Lamb, Lentil and Baby Spinach Curry

Ok, for those that follow the blog on a regular basis…….you know how I roll.  Love lamb. Love curry. Love lamb in a curry with flat bread on the side and a lovely dollop of yoghurt on top.  You may think the Afghani lamb curry is the bomb, but I appeal to all lovers of lamb curry to try this one.  A little more work involved e.g. toasting of spices but the end result is well worth the effort my friends.  My husband deemed it “The Most Fragrant Curry He Has Ever Had!”…….enough said.

Prep time:  20  Minutes               Cooking time:  21/2 Hours                $  Low Budget

Serves 4-5

Olive oil for frying

1kg diced lamb shoulder

1 tsp of fennel seeds

2 tsp cumin seeds

2 tsp of coriander seeds

2 tsp of turmeric

1 tsp of fenugreek*

3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped

5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1 large brown onion, finely diced

2 red chillies, finely chopped  (seeds removed if you so desire)

1 cup of chicken stock

1 x 400gm tin of diced tomatoes

1 x 400gm tin of brown lentils, drained and rinsed

100gm of baby spinach leaves

250gm of natural greek yoghurt

2 ripe tomatoes, finely diced

Steamed brown or basmati rice to serve

1 x packet of multigrain flatbreads to serve (sprinkled with a little water, wrapped in foil and warmed in a moderate oven for approx 5 mins)

Heat a small frypan to a moderate heat and pop in the cumin, coriander and fennel seeds. Swirl the pan around continually for about 2 minutes or until spices are fragrant.  It is important to keep it moving so the spices don’t burn.  When the spices are toasted place them in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder with a pinch of sea salt and pound or blitz them until fine and very fragrant. For best results with the mortar I tend to use a circular grinding motion and grind the spices right into the mortar.  Add the turmeric and fenugreek and mix well to combine. Set aside.

Heat a large heavy based pan and add the olive oil, onion, garlic, ginger and chilli.  Gently fry until fragrant and the onion is translucent.  Add the lamb and fry until browned on all sides, keeping the heat of the pan fairly high.  When browned, add the spices and fry for a further 1-2 minutes.  Pour in stock and tomatoes and bring to the boil.  When bubbling away nicely, pop a lid on and reduce to a simmer for about 11/2 hours, stirring occasionally.

Remove the lid and pop in the lentils, give the curry a really good stir to combine.  This is a good time to have a taste and adjust any seasoning.  Leave the lid off and simmer for a further 30 minutes to allow the curry to reduce.  Add the baby spinach, pop the lid on for a few minutes to allow it to wilt and give it a final stir to combine.

Serve immediately on a bed of brown or basmati rice.  Pop a generous dollop of yoghurt on the top and top with the finely diced tomatoes.  Don’t forget your flatbread!