My friend, Melanie’s brother recently turned 32. It is a family tradition to take him for supper on his birthday. This year he told their mother that he does not want to go out for supper, but that she must make him a pizza; the way she used to make it when they were young. He told her to please not change the recipe, but it should be made exactly like she used to make it. Their mother obliged and he thoroughly enjoyed the pizza!
I could only smile at this story, because it reminded me of myself and this old fashioned lamb stew that my mother used to make. Even after I was married and had my own family, I would request my mother make this lamb stew when visiting. It must have been frustrating for her to always cook the same dish and now I can understand why she always told me that she would like to make something new!
I’ve changed this recipe from time to time and sometimes use tinned tomatoes, but fresh tomatoes are definitely more authentic. This stew must be cooked long and over low heat. Like with most spicy stews, it tastes better the next day; after all the spices had time to infuse.
My mother served the lamb stew with rice, chutney, sliced bananas and a tomato and onion sambal. She never cooked with fresh coriander leaves but I like to garnish with them. I serve the dish with chutney, poppadums and a tomato sambal. This is excellent winter food!
- 1.2kg lamb neck slices
- 30ml vegetable oil
- 30ml butter
- 1 large onions, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 10ml freshly grated ginger root
- 15ml cumin powder
- 15ml coriander powder
- 5ml cayenne pepper
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 2 bay leaves
- 5ml sugar
- 4 ripe tomatoes, peeled and grated
- 15ml turmeric
- 400ml beef stock
- 60ml chutney
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 6 potatoes, peeled and quartered
- fresh chopped coriander leaves for garnishing
- Heat the oil and brown the lamb neck slices on all sides in batches. Remove from the pot.
- Add the butter to the pot and brown the onion rings.
- Add the garlic, fresh ginger, cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, cinnamon stick, cloves, bay leaves and sugar to the pot and cook for a couple of minutes taking care not to burn the spice mixture.
- Add the grated tomatoes and the turmeric and return the lamb to the pot moving around to cover all the lamb pieces with the tomato mixture.
- Add two of the quartered potatoes (this will thicken the sauce), beef stock and chutney.
- Simmer for 1½ hours.
- Add the rest of the potatoes.
- Season with salt and pepper and simmer for another hour.
- Garnish with fresh coriander leaves.