Chapter 9 Lamb and Other Meats

When I was growing up, lamb came in two versions - roast or chops. I liked them both very much and have occasionally cooked them as an adult, but in recent years my tastes have run more to Mediterranean or Asian stews and curries, as well as to ground lamb for meatballs or burgers. One limitation to lamb is its availability - it shows up infrequently in our local supermarkets, and when it does I buy as much as I can afford. This is a somewhat eclectic collection of recipes, with those using stew meat first, followed by those using ground meat.

9.0.1 Lamb Rogan Josh

This is a dish that I’ve always enjoyed but have had limited success with cooking it. Penzey’s sells a spice mix that makes for fairly easy preparation, but my results have been so-so. However, Indian Instant Pot® Cookbook by Urvashi Pitre came to the rescue. This book contains recipes for most standard Indian favorites, but uses ingredients that are by and large easy to find and work with. I recommend it highly.

The following is simple and excellent.

Ingredients

1 medium sized onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 inch ginger root, peeled and minced
1/4 cup plain yogurt (whole milk if you can find it)*
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp half sharp paprika
1 tsp garam masala*
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cayenne or pepper flakes
3/4 cup water, divided
1 lb. lamb stew meat

  1. Combine all of the ingredients except the lamb and 1/2 cup of the water in a small bowl.
  2. Add the lamb and stir to get it evenly coated. Marinate for 2 hours to overnight.
  3. Place the mixture in the inner pot of your Instant Pot®. Add the additional 1/2 cup of water and pressure cook on high for 20 minutes.
  4. Allow natural release to occur for 10 minutes, and then vent the remaining steam and remove the lid. If the sauce seems too thin, set IP to sauté and cook for a few minutes until the desired consistency is reached.

* So far I’ve achieved excellent results using all storebought ingredients. However, the book contains recipes for both garam masala and IP yogurt. Both recipes seem straightforward.

9.0.2 Lamb Vindaloo (Goa style)

From Batra, adapted for the Instant Pot.

Ingredients

4-6 dried peppers (chile de arbol or other red) broken into pieces
1/4 cup white vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
5 slices peeled ginger
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground mustard seeds
2 tsp garam masala
1/2 tsp salt or to taste
1/2 tsp turmeric
1 lb lamb stew meat
2 tbsp oil
20-30 fresh curry leaves (optional)
1 can tomato sauce
3/4 cup water or chicken broth

  1. Soak the chilis in the vinegar for 1-2 hours.
  2. In a food processor, puree the chilis, vinegar, garlic and onion until fine.
  3. Add the cumin, mustard, garam masala, salt and turmeric. Process again.
  4. Add mixture along with lamb to a bowl and marinade as long as possible.
  5. Add the water or broth to the liner of the instant pot, followed by the lamb mixture and the tomato sauce.
  6. Pressure cook for 20 minutes, followed by 10-15 minutes of natural release.
  7. Serve over rice.

9.0.2.1 Notes

This recipe proved to be excellent when made with some dried Sanaam peppers from Penzeys (I used five). For a spicier alternative, I may try their Tien Tsin in the future. The vinegar adds a nice tang.

9.0.3 Lamb (or other meat) Ragu

This recipe calls for wild boar, something I need to try. In the interim, I’m going to try it with lamb, and cook it in the instant pot (alternative recipe here)), although this recipe lacks some of the more interesting spicing of the Epicurious one. Note also that I despise anchovies, even though they are recommended highly.

Ingredients

1 large Spanish onion (chopped)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound boneless wild boar meat (cut for stew)
1 can diced tomatoes
2 bay leaves
1 cup red wine
3 cloves garlic, crushed
3 dried chili peppers (crushed)
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
3 sun-dried tomatoes (optional - perhaps substitute 1 tbsp. tomato paste)
3 anchovies or 1 teaspoon anchovy paste (optional)
1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
Salt and black pepper to taste

  1. Set IP on sauté. Add the oil and onion, and sauté for ~5 minutes.
  2. Add the meat and brown lightly.
  3. Add the canned tomatoes, wine and bay leaves.
  4. Add the remainng ingredients.
  5. Pressure cook for 25 minutes, followed by at least 10 minutes of natural release.
  6. If necessary, cook for a few minutes on sauté to thicken the sauce.
  7. If possible, shred the meat with two forks.
  8. Serve over papardelle or fettucine.

9.0.4 Lamb Kofta

Actually this one calls for ground chicken; I want to try it with lamb. And a couple of tips from the comments:

  1. Add an egg to the meatball mixture.
  2. Make the sauce in advance and puree it.
  3. In IP, try 7 minutes with 5 minutes natural release.

The first attempt was ok, but the cumin was overpowering. Here’s how I’ll try it next time:

Ingredients

For the Kofta
1 pounds ground lamb
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (optional)
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 tablespoons poppy seeds (optional)
1/2 tablespoon white or malt vinegar
1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoons fine sea salt
1 teaspoons ginger paste or freshly grated ginger
1 teaspoons garlic paste or freshly grated garlic
1 3/4 teaspoons Kashmiri or other mild red chile powder (or 1 teaspoon red-pepper flakes)
1 egg
Vegetable or other neutral oil, for greasing hands

9.0.4.1 Masala

3 tbsp ghee or neutral oil
1 large yellow or red onion, finely chopped
1½ teaspoons ginger paste or freshly grated ginger 1½ teaspoons garlic paste or freshly grated garlic
1½ teaspoons Kashmiri or other mild red chile powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin powder
¼ teaspoon turmeric powder
4 Roma tomatoes, finely chopped, or 1½ cups canned crushed tomatoes 
1 teaspoon fine sea salt, plus more to taste
3/4 cups unsalted chicken stock or water
4 Thai green chiles, sliced
¼ cup full-fat plain Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon poppy seeds (optional)
½ teaspoon garam masala
2 tablespoons roughly chopped cilantro
Rice, roti or naan, for serving

  1. Combine all of the meatball ingredients, except the oil, and shape the mixture into eight balls. set aside
  2. Set your instant pot to sauté and add the oil.
  3. Add the onions and sauté for 5-7 minutes until soft and transluscent.
  4. Add the red pepper, cumin and turmeric and stir for thirty seconds.
  5. Add the tomatoes and salt. Cook for 5-7 minutes.
  6. Add the chicken stock and chopped peppers. Hit cancel on the IP.
  7. Remove the inner lining and when boiling has ceased stir in the yogurt.
  8. Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce and return the liner to the IP.
  9. Pressure cook for 7 minutes, followed by 5 minutes of natural release. Vent the remaining steam.
  10. Serve over rice, garnishing with poppy seeds, garam masala, and/or cilantro as desired.

9.0.4.2 Notes

This is the first IP recipe I prepared which resulted in the dreaded “Burn” notice. I’m assuming that was because there was not enough thin liquid (and because tomato-based recipes are apparently prone to these notices). To address this, I’ve deleted the cook down called for after adding the chicken stock. I may also increase the stock somewhat. The sauce can always be thickened after pressure cooking is completed.

I highly recommend using Kashmiri chilli powder in this recipe. It’s not too hot, but it adds a wonderful flavor. Indeed, I may start using this in all of my Indian cooking.

This sauce, without the lamb, is very tasty - could be used for chicken tikka masala. If so, cooking on the stove top might be the best option.

9.0.5 Lamb Meat balls

Below are two recipes, one from Turkey and one from Morocco. The Turkish one is an old standby; the Moroccan one a new one. As you can see, the flavoring and preparation are similar. Both can be made with other meats (beef or pork), but lamb is what makes these recipes sing.

9.0.5.1 Turkish

This one comes from Turkish Cookery by Gülseren Ramazanoglu, a small book that my first wife picked up while touring Turkey 30 years ago. It’s a great little book, however it is not available in the US.

Ingredients

1 lb ground lamb or veal
1 medium onion, chopped finely
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 clove garlic, chopped finely chopped
1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp baking powder

  1. Preheat your oven to 350o F.*
  2. Combine all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl, blending them together with your clean hands.
  3. Shape them into six sausage shaped meatballs and place on a foil covered sheet pan that has had a light coat of spray oil applied
  4. Bake for 12-14 minutes

This goes well with rice.

*The original recipe calls for the meat ball to be fried. That is certainly an option, but it is rather messy and tedious.

9.0.5.2 Moroccan

This comes from the Limerick Lane Winery site. Such sites can be an interesting source of recipes - of course they are trying to sell their wines, but many of the better ones provide recipes with suggested wine pairings as well. I have made a couple of changes, adding panko bread crumbs and deleting the salt (1 tsp) called for in the original recipe.

Ingredients

For the meatballs

1 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup onion, chopped finely
1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves (I usually don’t bother with parsley - to me it adds color but not flavor)
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

For topping (optional)

1/2 cup chopped mint leaves
1.2 cup Greek yogurt

  1. Preheat oven (or toaster oven) to 350o F.
  2. Combine all of the meatball ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Form the meat mix into balls. The recipe recommends making 15-18 one ounce balls, but there is nothing wrong with making fewer, larger ones.
  4. Cover a sheet pan with foil and spray it with oil
  5. Place into oven and bake for 12-14 minutes.
  6. If you are making the topping, mix the ingredients for it together.
  7. Serve however you want - I usually do so with rice.

9.0.5.3 Tunisian Meatball Stew

This calls for a 50:50 mix of lamb and beef; I would likely make it with lamb only. Like Harrisa Glazed Sticky wings, it calls for Harrisa paste, something definitely worth purchasing rather than attempting to make from scratch.

9.0.6 Elk Burger

I hadn’t eaten elk in nearly 50 years, but I remember it fondly. The partner of a friend had the good fortune of bagging one and thus had a LOT of meat to share. I, being a low paid VISTA volunteer at the time, jumped at this free food opportunity, and I didn’t have cause to regret it.

Recently, Thermoworks posted this interesting recipe, one that uses a novel cooking - grilling indirect until the burger is partially cooked and then doing so directly until it is done. I tried it, and it was wonderful. Inde ed, while I don’t eat hamburgers much anymore, if I do so in the future, I’m going to use this approach.

But how does one do indirect cooking on a Green Egg? A little searching on Amazon led me to this device. It’s a bit pricey, but it works like a charm for the purpose. It also results in improved air circulation and thus cleaner burning charcoal.

Big Green Egg set up for indirect and direct cooking. A single elk burger is on the indirect side, and grill and internal temperature probes are in place.