Friday, 9 September 2011

The morns are meeker than they were

I hate to say it folks but the weather has turned. It's over. Summer is gone. Adieu.

Back in April I commented blithely that we appeared to be having our summer 3 months early and now I am proved to be some kind of omniscient being, worshipped and adored by many. We've just experienced the coldest August in 17 years which was also 46% wetter than normal. I witness this every day at work in my lovely Surrey country estate. The leaves are turning, the nuts are starting to fall and the squirrels, rabbits and hares engage in a whirlwind of autumnal organisation. Not to mention the woodpeckers. I'm not 100% sure what it is woodpeckers do in Autumn but seeing the greater spotted woodpeckers and green woodpeckers going about their business everyday has improved my quality of life immeasurably. Not to mention the fact that I get to dig out my Autumn wardrobe, buy cords, scarves and wear those lovely little wrist warmer things that look like half a glove.

All of this has put me in the mood for comfort food. Something hearty and warming, ideally in vast quantities so that I can freeze up for those tired evenings that I just can't be bothered lifting another knife. This next recipe combines two of my favourite things after mushrooms, spinach and lamb. It's a simple enough process to make and uses cheap cuts of meat so you can keep your budgets down. I'm using lamb rump offcuts that are incredibly fatty so I rendered the stew down for far longer than stated here  in order to skim off the excess. The resulting curry is not too spicy although it does warm right through to the fingertips with a soft fiery tingle. The sharp iron flavour of the spinach compliments the combined sweetness of the lamb and the coconut. Obviously this is a saag gosht but I make no claims as to authenticity, so I'll stick with a plain ol' spinach and lamb curry.

This recipe serves approximately 6, with rice or naan bread.

Spinach and lamb curry
  • 800g lamb in 2cm chunks (shank, chump or neck are all perfect for this slow cooked dish)
  • 2 tblsp vegetable oil
  • 5 cloves
  • 5 cardamom pods, crushed
  • 2 pepper corns
  • 2 tblsp ginger and garlic paste (I just throw peeled ginger and garlic into the processor and blitz - finely diced would work just as well)
  • 2 white onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tblsp tomato purée
  • 1 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 500ml water
  • 500g chopped fresh spinach
  • handful chopped fresh coriander
  • 5 tsp plain yoghurt
  • 2 tblsp grated coconut (or dessicated)
  • pinch garam masala for decoration
  1. Heat the oil and fry off the cloves, cardamom and pepper for a couple of minutes.
  2. Add the onion and garlic and ginger paste and cook until soft and translucent before stirring in the meat, all the dried spices (except the garam masala) and the tomato puree. Cook for 5 mins until the lamb is browned and the puree has completely cooked out (until it no longer tastes sharply of tomato)
  3. Stir in the water, lower the heat right down and leave to simmer for 1 hour, skimming off any fat as necessary.
  4. Now add the yoghurt in thirds, fully incorporating one batch before the next is added. Add the spinach and the ground almonds and cover. Simmer for a further 30 minutes.
  5. Remove the lid, stir the contents and simmer until any excess liquid has evaporated leaving you with a thick, spinachy sauce. Serve and sprinkle with a pinch of garam masala.
As the spinach cooks it will soften to form the sauce


  1. Weird, I made my first spinach and lamb curry last night. I didn't cook it down long enough, but it was quite tasty.

  2. Love this idea, I'm always buying lamb in curries when we get a takeaway and spinach is - of course - a regular too.

  3. I know it's not even 11:30am yet, but I could scoff a bowl of that right now. Looks delicious!

  4. Thanks guys. I just had the leftovers for a late supper (due to a very late wedding at work) and it was just as nice second time round.

  5. Phil, you could use frozen blocks of spinach as well, which would cook down much faster and you'd need a fraction of the amount.