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Curried Lamb with Apricots and Almonds

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Serves 6

  • by Mark Scarbrough, Bruce Weinstein from Web only

This sweet and aromatic curry is based on the traditional sali boti of Parsi cuisine in western India. For the best flavor, use dried Turkish apricots, which will provide a sweet, smooth finish to balance the many spices. You can also use shoulder chops for the lamb, if they are easier to find.

  • 4 lb. lamb shoulder with bone, cut into 2-inch pieces, excess fat trimmed
  • 1/4 cup cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbs. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tbs. ground coriander
  • 1 Tbs. ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1-1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp. fennel seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cardamom
  • 1/8 tsp. crushed saffron threads (scant 1/2 tsp. threads)
  • 1/4 tsp. ground cloves
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 Tbs. peanut oil
  • 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced (about 4 cups)
  • 2 Tbs. minced peeled fresh ginger (2-inch piece)
  • 1 Tbs. minced garlic (3 medium cloves)
  • 2/3 cup packed dried Turkish apricots
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup no-salt-added canned tomato sauce (from an 8-oz. can)

In a 6-quart slow cooker, stir together the lamb, vinegar, brown sugar, coriander, cumin, cinnamon, pepper, fennel seeds, cardamom, saffron, cloves, and 1 tsp. salt until the meat is thoroughly coated in the spices.

In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onions, ginger, and garlic. Cook, stirring often, until the onions are translucent, about 3 minutes.

Scrape the contents of the skillet into the slow cooker. Stir in the apricots, almonds, and tomato sauce. Cover and cook on low until the meat is very tender, about 6 hours. Remove the meat with tongs and separate the meat and bones, discarding the bones. Degrease the sauce, if necessary, by laying a paper towel on the surface to soak up the fat, then remove and discard it. Repeat with another paper towel, if needed. Return the meat to the sauce and season to taste with salt. Serve.

Serving Suggestions

Since the curry is sweet, serve it over cooked long-grain brown rice for a nutty, earthy flavor, or with couscous or steamed, stemmed spinach.

Photo: Scott Phillips

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