21 October 2010

Curry lamb soup

With the leftovers of last week's curry goat I made a cold-weather soup so steadying and satisfying that it had to be recreated from scratch as soon as possible. It was a classic case of the humble successor dish being tastier and more enjoyable than the grander original upon whose remnants it is based. I thought I would go for lamb scrag this time as I have found it so good before under conditions of long cooking.

At Turkish Food Centre in Dalston, though, they had middle neck lamb for half its normal price. The middle neck is cut into chops, fattier by far than normal chops, but with the same bone up the side and an oval yellow cross-section at the bottom (spinal cord?).

Crazy cheap! Over 800g of lamb for just over three quid. I also purchased some dried peppers from TFC because they looked nice and I  felt they might be good for enriching stews.

    • lamb with plenty of bone
    • two onions
    • garlic, scotch bonnet, thyme
    • handful of lentils, barley or can kidney beans
    • carrots
    • tin tomatoes
    • curry paste

Following a similar recipe to the curry goat I sweated two onions with curry paste, chucked in some additional spices (scotch bonnet kept whole, couple cloves, some whole peppercorns) and a tin of tomatoes. I also added the dried peppers here so they had plenty of time to soften up and topped up the mix with boiling water. The aim is to cook down enough so the onions and tomatoes start to disappear and the soup is an oily red-brown.

After twenty minutes the lamb was added (brown if you fancy - I'm still on the fence) and four or five carrots cut large tipped in also. After fourty-five minutes a handful of green lentils were added and the soup simmered for another thirty minutes or so. Taste, correct seasoning and when it tastes ready then it is!

What I was looking to recreate here was the success of last week - a thick soup whose meatiness came not from big chunks of floating flesh but the deeply savoury stock. Think of the profound beefiness of the best pho as the cornerstone, augmented by a sweet richness of tomato, long-cooked carrot and meat fat and the heat of the chilli. I don't know if the extra day or two in the fridge for the ingredients of that previous dish meant the flavours had got to know each other more and had in fact become extremely comfortable in one-other's presence, but this attempt at recreation did not quite capture the savour and success of it, tasty though it was.


  1. Curries are always far superior the next day, so that's probably why it wasn't as good! Still, it looks lovely - a perfect winter warmer.

  2. Yep I think that was probably it, along with perhaps more bone in the goat version.

    It was nice two days later for lunch.