Category Archives: Meat CSA

French Fridays with Dorie: Braised Cardamom-Curry Lamb

This week, for French Fridays with Dorie, there’s another main dish on deck. This time, it’s a one-pot dinner, my favorite kind of thing: braised cardamom-curry lamb.

This hearty stew was perfect for the cold snap that just arrived. The curry flavors in this stew aren’t ones I usually cook with, but I liked the variety it added to the week’s meals.

After the deception I tried to pull with last week’s soup, I didn’t think I would be able to sneak most of the fruity ingredients into the lamb stew. Miraculously, Howard does eat figs, dried or fresh, but I knew the raisins and apples were out. I had to come up with a different plan.

When making stews, I will typically halve the meat and double the vegetables that the recipe calls for. For this recipe, I started with about 2 pounds of lamb shoulder chops I had from our meat CSA. There were more bones than I expected, so I ended up with only about one pound of lamb cubes. As a substitute for the apples, I used a butternut squash cut into one-inch cubes and left out the potatoes.

With its braising time of over an hour plus prep time, this recipe is definitely not after-work-weeknight cooking. I ended up making it last night, but we didn’t eat it yet.. The steps were straightforward, though there was a lot of chopping. First, onions and garlic were slowly cooked with curry and cardamom until they softened. Then, the cubes of lamb were stirred in until lightly browned. Water, honey, figs, mint, and squash were added and then braised in a tightly covered Dutch oven until tender, about an hour for me.

I keep calling this a stew, but braise is more accurate. The meat and vegetables were tender like a stew, but there wasn’t much liquid left in the pot. I tasted a few bites of lamb, squash, and liquid, before I put this away last night. I liked the warm, spicy flavors from the curry and sweet vegetables. We’ll have this for dinner tonight, and I plan serve it over egg noodles with a green salad on the side.

If you’d like to see how other versions of braised lamb came out, check out the links of other creative bloggers’ posts at French Fridays with Dorie. The recipe can be found in Dorie Greenspan’s book Around My French Table.

I want to wish a happy Thanksgiving to all my FFwD friends and their loved ones. One of the many things I’m thankful for this year is the opportunity to meet (virtually, anyway) so many other cooks that share my passion for food and cooking. I’m enriched by the experience.

What’s that Nip in the Air?

Wilson Farm Gets Ready for Fall

Fall doesn’t officially start for another week or so. How does the weather just know? I know, I know. Its nature, and there’s a cycle to the seasons. But as soon as Labor Day weekend is over, there is a noticeable nip in the air that says “summer’s coming to an end”.

The arrival of apples at the farm stands and farmers market says it too. We picked up a bag of Red Gravenstein apples. These are tart and sweet, good for cooking and eating. It’s one of the old-fashioned apples that you don’t see much anymore. Gravensteins are a particular variety that my father remembers from his own childhood, not from some bucolic farm experience, but something his produce seller father (my grandfather) used to bring home in late summer. My dad’s memories of these apples are strong, and he has (mostly unsuccessfully) sought them out. I’ve been slightly more successful. This year, I saw an ad in the local Maine paper, we so stopped by Sweetser’s Apple Barrel and bought a bag.

Closer to home, as of last week, the caramel apples at Wilson Farm are in. These are my fall indulgence. Who can resist a juicy, crisp apple enrobed in caramel and then rolled in chopped peanuts? I know I can’t. I limit myself to one a week, and I savor it by cutting it into quarters and eating it over several days. So, so good!

As the end of summer rapidly approaches, we are making the most of the corn and tomatoes, and the grill. We are a “charcoal” house, so once the weather gets cold, outdoor cooking ends until spring. It’s just too hard to keep the fire going when you’re fighting with the weather. We talk about getting a gas grill to use in the winter, but never seem to justify it. There is still another month or so to grill outside, but the days are numbered.

Howard grilled a top round steak from Chestnut Farm. It was a little chewy, not the most tender cut of meat, but tasty. It was a big steak, too big for one meal. With the leftovers, I made this Latin-flavored salad that we always enjoy.

Latin-Flavored Steak Salad
Serves 4
Adapted from The Thrill of the Grill by Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby

1 – 2 cups (or more) diced leftover steak, ½-inch cubes
½ cup diced red onion
5 – 6 scallions, sliced thin
1 red bell pepper, seeded and diced
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
10 – 12 radishes, halved, then sliced thin
1 (15 oz) can black beans, drained and rinsed well
¼ cup chopped cilantro

¼ cup olive oil
¼ cup lime juice
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
1 Tbsp cumin
1 Tbsp chili powder
½ Tbsp Tabasco

Place steak, onions, scallions, peppers, radishes, black beans, and cilantro in a large bowl.

In a jar, make the dressing by combining olive oil, lime juice, garlic, cumin, chili powder, and Tabasco. Shake it until combined well.

Pour the dressing over the ingredients in the bowl and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper to taste.