A slow-cooked lamb curry may not sound like a summer dish, but when it's made with new summer spuds and local lamb, I can always make an exception!
I keep lamb in our chest freezer for whenever I might need it. When the new potatoes start to show up, I always make this curry on a rainy, grey day.
The spices used aren't hot - you can handle the spice level of this curry - but they're just warm enough to make for a comforting one-pot meal.
Lamb shoulder, in the butcher, will often come deboned and in a roast. I like taking the entire shoulder, taking out the bone and dicing the meat into large chunks. You can ask your butcher to do this for you.
Alternately, you can use the diced lamb you find at the supermarket - it will work perfectly for this dish, but I still like dicing the meat myself and making the pieces a bit larger.
As they slowly cook, the smaller pieces will break down. If they're larger, they'll get beautifully tender but stay whole.
The starch in the potatoes will naturally thicken the sauce as they cook together, so I don't use any kind of thickening agent - if you find the curry too runny for your liking, you can make a quick cornstarch slurry, but I try to avoid this in a curry (the sauce gets too gloopy when you use cornstarch).
The best way to thicken any sauce is to simply let it evaporate and reduce. The only way for this to happen is to take your time cooking.
The only thing with this method is, you shouldn't add too much salt in the beginning of cooking. Wait until the sauce has reduced and then adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if necessary.
New potato and lamb curry
1 lamb shoulder, deboned and cut into large chunks
500g new potatoes, cut in half or thirds (make them the same size as the lamb chunks)
2 Tbsp rapeseed oil
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and finely chopped
1 Tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 bunch fresh spinach, washed and coarsely chopped
1 Tbsp tomato paste
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1L hot beef stock
Salt, to taste
Juice of one lemon
Natural yogurt and fresh coriander, to serve
1 Heat a large dutch oven or any heavy-bottomed, large pot on the stovetop on high. It needs to be smoking hot before you start cooking.
2 When it’s well heated, add 2 Tbsp rapeseed oil, then add the chopped onion. Cook the onion for five minutes, stirring frequently to avoid burning. Then add the lamb to brown.
3 When the lamb is browned, add the garlic, ginger and spices. Cook an additional 2-3 minutes, until fragrant (don’t get scared if the bottom of your pot is starting to look brown – as long as it isn't completely black, that’s all flavour).
4 Add the tomato paste and mix thoroughly through the other ingredients, cooking an additional minute. Then add the hot beef stock. Bring to a boil.
5 Turn the heat down so the curry is at a simmer. Cook until the lamb is slightly tender and the sauce has reduced by half (about an hour), then add the potatoes. If you need to add more stock at this point, go ahead. Even some hot water is fine, if you think the sauce is too thick.
6 Continue to simmer until the potatoes are fork tender, the lamb is completely tender and the sauce coats the back of a spoon. Add the fresh spinach and stir through until wilted.
7 Season to taste using the salt and lemon juice. I like lots of acidity, but some don’t. Just go with your gut.
8 Serve over hot rice or warmed flatbreads, a dollop of yogurt and a sprinkling of fresh coriander.