Cooking with Matthew: Lamb Curry

Lamb curry warms me twice, once as I’m cooking it and then again when I eat it.

August 15, 2013 | | Cooking with... | Departments | Food | FOOD Autumn - Winter 2013 | In Every Issue

Everything in its place, Chef Matthew Jamieson gets ready to prepare his favourite curry.

Everything in its place, Chef Matthew Jamieson gets ready to prepare his favourite curry. Photo by Pete Paterson.

I’ve always loved lamb. It was the first dish I ordered at a restaurant while spending a month in Istanbul when I was 16. I had lamb kabobs and will never forget it. Lamb curry warms me twice, once as I’m cooking it and then again when I eat it.  I like to use many traditional French techniques to make this classic Indian dish.

Before I start I prepare the mise en place. The phrase, which means “putting in place,” refers to the setup, preparing all the ingredients – preheating the oven, cubing the meat, chopping the vegetables, measuring out the liquids and dry spices. This process helps me get into the mood by imagining the final outcome. Then I can proceed with gusto. It also means I do not have to stop and assemble items during the cooking process.

Another classic French technique is the mirepoix. Sautéeing chopped onion, carrot, celery, and garlic in oil over low heat until they are soft and aromatic will add body to any soup or stew. With the curry, I like to reserve a few chunks of vegetables to add later for texture and colour.

I use a lean leg of lamb and preheat the pans before adding the oil to reduce the oil’s tendency to smoke. I then add the cubed lamb to the hot oil, making sure it browns well on all sides. I try not to have any of the spices overwhelm the others, which means it’s important to taste and adjust the seasoning as you go. And I like the sauce to be a little thinner than for a beef stew.

The trick is to cook the lamb so it holds its shape without falling apart. I think this dish is great to eat any time of the year.  Every time you make lamb curry, the more fun it becomes.

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Lamb curry warms me twice, once as I’m cooking it and then again when I eat it.

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