Cortijo Curry – North Indian Goat (or Lamb) Curry and a Simple Raita

Without further ado, here´s the recipe for the beautiful curry we made recently when Best Buddy came to stay recently.

We adapted the recipe (just a little) from one in Anjum Anand´s book Indian Food Made Easy. She uses lamb, we used goat. We served it with roti, plain boiled basmati rice, tarka dhal, and poppadums. In the excitement I forgot to make a cooling raita to accompany it. As it turned out, the dish was not hot at all (I would add more chili next time, but that is just personal taste). However, this did allow all the beautiful and individual spice flavours to shine through.

Leftovers were to be for me, me, me. Unfortunately Big Man got in on the act and decided that it was really rather a fabulous tasting dish, so they ended up being for us, us us. This time without poppadums or roti, but with raita. Recipes for the tarka dhal, spinach and roti to follow soon.

Ingredients (the recipe says it serves 6-8 but we thought it was for 4, even with all the accompanying dishes we made)

  • 25g fresh ginger, peeled
  • 10 large cloves of garlic, peeled (to weigh about 30g)
  • 3 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 each black and green cardamom pods (we used all green)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 large onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 800g lamb cubes with bone in (I used goat with boneless meat from the leg and ribs, chopped into small pieces)
  • 1-2 whole green chilies (the recipe says optional – we used 1 but I would use 2 or 3 next time)
  • ½ tsp turmeric powder
  • 1 tsp garam masala (we used a garam masala spice mix made for me which we then ground)
  • Salt, to taste (we found it needed quite a lot)
  • 4 medium tomatoes, puréed (we used conserva)
  • 500ml water
  • Chopped coriander to stir in when dish is cooked

Make a paste of the ginger and garlic, adding a little water to help blend.

Heat the oil in a large non stick pan or pot. Add the whole cardamom pods and bay and stir into the warm oil before adding the onion. Fry until the onion starts to brown, then add the lamb and stir until the meat is sealed. Now add the ginger and garlic paste, the spices and a little salt (you can adjust the salt at the end of cooking). Cook for a few minutes until the pan is dry.

Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil then simmer for about 10-15 minutes. Add the water, bring back to a boil then simmer (covered) for about 45 minutes. Stir occasionally.  We removed the lid for the last 5 minutes as there was a lot of liquid. When cooked, taste and adjust seasoning and stir in the coriander.

To make a simple raita mix together about 2 tablespoons of finely chopped mint, a finely chopped (small) red or white onion, a finely chopped piece of peeled cucumber (about 10cm long), 2 tbs lemon juice, a good pinch of salt and half a cup of creamy natural yogurt.

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Braised Goat (or Lamb) with Squash and Red Wine

Finally we have had a small drop in temperatures and it looks as though rain may well be a real possibility in the next few days.  Me, a Chica who hates the cold and damp, breathing a sigh of relief at the thought of rain which is so badly needed for the olives, the fruit trees, the rivers.  What a long way I have come on my Andalucían journey!

Winter weather means warming winter food.  After having friends over recently, I was left with half a kilo of chopped goat which had not been cooked so I froze it for a rainy day. That rainy day came round and to make a change from the simple local way of cooking it with garlic, chilli, bay leaves, peppercorns and white wine I decided to make a stove top casserole.

We are still being supplied with squash by Big Man´s cousin and I wanted to use some of this too.  I also felt that if I “disguised” the squash slightly with lots of warming flavours, I might be able to persuade Big Man to enjoy it as much as me.  I think it worked, he ate it with gusto and even had seconds.  No leftovers for the dogs or to serve as tapas the next day with this dish!

Ingredients (to serve 2 if the meat has bones, 4 if it is boneless)

  • 500g chopped lamb or goat (use a cheap cut like neck which is full of flavour)
  • 500 squash or pumpkin, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
  • About 5 fat cloves of garlic, peeled and thinly sliced
  • 1 medium onion thinly sliced
  • ½ litre of lamb stock or use chicken stock plus a teaspoon of marmite or a beef stock cube
  • 2 glasses of red wine (or replace with stock if you prefer not to cook with alcohol)
  • 2 tsp of tomato purée
  • Salt and pepper
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves removed and finely chopped
  • Olive oil for frying
  • About half a cup of flour
  • 1 teaspoon of mustard powder
  • 1 dried red chili crumbled (optional)

Mix the mustard powder with the flour and season and toss the cubs of meat in it. Fry the meat until slightly browned and remove from pan.

Add more oil if necessary and gently fry the onions, garlic and squash until the onion is soft and transparent.

Add the meat to the pan, pour over the stock and wine, and add the tomato purée, rosemary and chili (if using). Let it bubble for about 5 minutes then reduce the heat and cover.  Cook gently for about an hour and half until the meat is tender and the sauce thickened. Taste and adjust seasoning.

We ate this with some fried polenta, but it would also be great with rice or mashed potato and a glass of that lovely red wine you opened to put into the cooking sauce.

Is the party over yet?

So, 5th January, the night before our celebration of Los Reyes or The Three Kings. Big Man and I sit quietly contemplating the last few celebrations that lie ahead over the weekend.

A family get together at our house the next day. Yes, we´re ready for that. Saturday a lunch with 10 friends in a nearby restaurant. Oh yes, we´re definitely ready for that. No cooking, no clearing up, and hopefully a lift there and back so we can kick back and relax.  And then Sunday, a meal with 10 other friends in one of their Cortijos in the Campo.  Cooking a celebratory goat.  It should be fun, the host is a butcher and a grower of grapes and producer of wines.  A recipe for a thoroughly good lunch.

Big Man gives our butcher pal a call to finalise the arrangements for Sunday and I can tell by his face and the conversation that something is amiss.  He gets off the phone and says “you know we thought we were going to Rafael´s Cortijo…” Mmm, yes I think, where is this going?  “Well, it seems everyone thinks they´re coming here”.

Oh dear. Oh well. Here we go again. Big Man does a mad dash on Saturday morning for the extras we need, I crank up the oven and get baking, and it all turned out fine in the end.

No recipes today, more of those in a later post, but I thought you might like to share a little in the celebration…and our exhaustion today.

We enjoyed a lovely ham and cheese board with Spanish curado and semi curado cheeses, tetilla (do click on the link if you share my childish sense of humour), a gorgeous stinky stilton my parents bought over, and an amazing hard cheese (rather like a fresh parmesan) which is rolled in rosemary.

We ate home cured olives which the Spaniards were most impressed with. They thought Big Man had made them as they didn´t think a “guiri” or foreigner could make them taste so good…huh!

A chicory (or endive) salad with walnuts and blue cheese dressing lightened things up a bit.

Our butcher pal, Rafael, got to work in the garden doing his job. He looks fierce, but he´s really a gentle giant.

Look at the size of his hands – he couldn´t have been anything BUT a butcher!

Jointing the meat.

Working on the ribs.

Another pal took charge of frying the goat pieces in olive oil, bay leaves, chillies, peppercorns, garlic and white wine.

We tucked into a plate of Rafael´s “embutidos” – chorizos and morcilla.

Of course we ate desserts too, but more of those another day as I´m feeling full up again just thinking about what we ate.

And drank.  A very messy but happy table by the end of the day.

Ok, I think I need another lie down now.

Barbecued Shoulder of Goat with Za´atar

 
So tasty!

When my pals came over from the UK recently they came bearing gifts, just like the wise men.  One package was from my lovely mother and she had made up Za´atar and Dukkah for me.  What a lovely mum I have!  We can´t get them or all the ingredients to make them up here.  At least, I can´t seem to track them down, and it´s always lovely to have a gift like this as every time you use it, you think of the person who gave it to you.

We had a very small shoulder of goat in the freezer (enough for two hungry people or two regular appetites with enough left over for sandwiches) and I thought I´d do it on the barbecue.

It was very easy to pull together and quick to cook.  I made a package with a double layer of foil to put the meat in the seasoned the meat with salt before sprinkling over and rubbing in the Za´atar.

Give it a little massage...

I wrapped it up and put it onto the barbecue at a low heat for about 40 minutes and that was it.

Oh go on then....just one more slice!

We ate it with lemon juice squeezed over, a big salad and some cold runner beans from the garden dressed with lemon juice and olive oil.  Oh, and a glass of wine of course!

Kid (or lamb) with rosemary and garlic

Simple and tasty

We´re very lucky here to be able to get hold of the freshest, free range goat and lamb. I know that most lamb is free range anyway as it needs to graze, but I guess we can never be too sure if there have been chemical sprayed on what they eat or if they are getting food supplements. When I first arrived in Spain my only experience of eating goat was in a plate of curried goat at an ethnic restaurant in London.  It was alright, I suppose, but apart from a delicious sauce, the meat was rather tough and greasy.

I read somewhere that more goat is consumed per person in the world than lamb, and I guess it makes sense.  They are hardy creatures, can survive in very rough terrain and can climb to what we would consider inaccessible heights to reach their food.   Once I had tasted good kid (or young goat) out here, I realised that taste wise, it´s very, very similar to young milk fed lamb.

When you see the flocks of goats going past your house daily, you know they´re well fed and looked after.  We buy direct from the goatherd who slaughters for you and then you have to prepare it for the freezer.  I´m sorry if this all sounds a bit gruesome to anyone who either doesn´t eat meat or is a bit squeamish, but it´s what has to happen if you choose to eat meat.  And I do, and luckily I am able to eat the freshest most organic, free range meat possible.  Whew! Hope that didn´t sound like I was on my little soap box.

Anyway, one of the cuts of meat you get is neck of kid -and I know that in the UK at least, you can buy neck of lamb. It used to be one of those cheap cuts, but has now become trendy. It´s cooked in the oven simply and then depending on the weather I serve with salad or vegetables and plenty of crusty bread to mop up the juices.  It´s best picked up and eaten with your fingers!

It´s an incredibly quick and simple dish to prepare if the meat is young and tender and lamb can be substituted for goat.  If it´s a little older, just add more liquid and cook for about 30 minutes longer. You´ll need the following:

  • Neck of lamb for 2 people (I think mine was about 800g)
  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • A large spring of rosemary
  • Coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • A glass of white wine
  • A glass of water
  • Half a lemon

Rub the lamb with seasoning and roughly chop the rosemary and mix it in with the lamb.  Peel and half the garlic cloves and add them in.  Pour over the wine and if you have time to leave it for a couple of hours, so much the better.

Leave for a while if you can

Put into an oven dish where it will fit quite snugly and put into a high oven for 10 minutes.  Lower the heat to medium, cover with foil and cook for a further 45 minutes approximately.  After about 20 minutes check the liquid – you don´t want to casserole it but you want some at the bottom of the bowl to cause a slight steam effect under the tent of foil.  If necessary add more water.

When it´s done (you can check by prodding with a skewer to see if the juice run clear), remove and leave it to sit for 10 minutes still under the foil.  Squeeze over a little lemon juice, then serve and enjoy!

PS. Sorry for blurry photos, they were taken with my old camera which was on its last legs!