- strawberries (for my oatmeal in the morning)
- Indian lamb curry with spinach
- green salad with cucumber and peppers
So, we have this new fancy butcher in Harlem. It's all grass-fed, organic, etc. and being the good hipster liberal that I am, I feel the need to buy something from the shop every once and a while to show my financial support and hopefully help quality businesses like this thrive in my neighborhood. We hardly ever cook red meat at home because we see it as an expensive and unhealthy treat that is better at a restaurant or dinner party. When we buy something from Harlem Shambles it's usually a couple of their breakfast sausages. We eat them on Sunday morning along with some fluffy pancakes and all the fixins'. But this Sunday I wanted to make something special for dinner and I chose a lamb curry recipe from our slow cooker cookbook. Surprisingly, we had all of the spices and vegetables in the house already. The only thing I had to buy were the chiles and the lamb. I expected the lamb to be kind of pricey but I figured that even if it's $9 or $10 a pound I'd still get at least 8-10 servings out of the pot so in the end it's still more economical than getting Indian take out. Anyway, I went to the shop and asked for exactly what the recipe called for "3 lb. boneless leg of lamb of lamb." The only lamb they had on the display case had bones. I noticed it was $9/lb and I mentally prepared myself to pay over $30 for a hunk of meat. But, the butcher went to the big walk-in fridge to get "the cut you need" and proceeded to cut it up into cubes for me. After carefully trimming and cubing the lamb for me he plunked down and neatly wrapped package and chirped, "that'll be $54.26 please." Guys, I nearly keeled over and died!!! Once I regained my composure I sheepishly handed over my debit card while furiously calculating the price per serving of this now VERY IMPORTANT curry. I made a little joke to him that now I have to find a reason to celebrate something since I just paid celebration prices for this meat. I don't think he laughed. Needless to say, I walked out of there feeling a bit crestfallen. I was almost afraid to tell Mr. Man how much I paid for 1 meals worth of meat. He is even more miserly than I am and would not be at all embarrassed to march right back to the shop try to return it. The main point is that I should have asked how much it was before anything went down. I hate feeling like an uniformed consumer. Besides, the lamb was really delicious and perfect and I would not have bought it any place else. Harlem Shambles is a great butcher shop and I still plan on buying meat from there. But we're back to our breakfast sausage budget for the foreseeable future.
Try this recipe:
Indian Lamb Curry with Spinach*
- 3 lb boneless leg of lamb, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 yellow onions, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 small fresh hot green chiles, seeded and minced
- 1-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated (I used 2 tablespoons of this instead)
- 1 tablespoon brown mustard seeds
- 1 tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 tablespoon ground coriander
- 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom (I substituted a teaspoon of ground ginger since, who has cardamom?)
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
- 6 cups pre-washed baby spinach leaves
Put the lamb in a big bowl and season with salt and pepper. Warm the oil in a large frying pan and add the lamb (medium-high heat). Brown until even on all sides for about 5 minutes. Place the browned cubes in the slow cooker to wait for the other ingredients. Add the onions to the same pan and sauté over medium-high heat until golden brown (about 7-10 minutes). Add all the other ingredients to the pan, except the spinach and chicken broth, and stir until the the spices are fragrant and evenly coat the onions. Pour in the broth and deglaze the pan.
Pour the onion/spice/broth mixture over the lamb in the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 8 hours on the low heat setting. A few minutes before it turns off, add the spinach to the slow cooker and stir until completely wilted. I wanted to serve this with some brown basmati rice, but I couldn't find any of the pre-made frozen stuff at Trader Joe's so I boiled up a few small potatoes and poured the curry over that instead.
*This is how I decided to make this recipe. It's not exactly the way it is written in the book, but it's the way that worked for me.