Keema Matar

Keema Matar
(literally: mincemeat and peas)

Ingredients

1 tablespoon grapeseed or olive oil
1 medium sweet onion, diced fine
4 cloves garlic, minced
1-inch piece ginger, peeled and minced
1-1/2 pounds ground chicken or lamb
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon garam masala
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (or to taste)
1 14.5-oz can petite diced tomatoes
1/2 cup water
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 cup frozen peas
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup minced cilantro

Method

In a large deep skillet, warm oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook until golden. Add garlic and ginger, and saute for another minute. Add meat, breaking up lumps with a wooden spoon, and saute until meat is no longer pink.

Add the spices, and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes, water and salt. Stir well and simmer, partially covered, about 10 minutes. Stir in the peas, and cook another 2 minutes, until heated through.

Stir in the vinegar and finish with the cilantro. Serve with warm pita and/or basmati rice.

NOTES

Another dish from my favorite Indian place that compelled me to try my own hand at it – and it only took me two tries to get it how I wanted it! Crazy good. Quick and simple, huge on flavor: the best kind of weeknight meal.

Both times I’ve made it I’ve used chicken, but I promised Steve I would try it with lamb next. Lamb is more traditional and I also think it would be a good testing of the waters to see if might like lamb these days. We shall see!

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Herb and Spice Lamb Chops

These are the best lamb chops you will ever eat. Cross my heart.

Herb and Spice Lamb Chops
slightly adapted from Food and Wine

Ingredients

1 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves, thickly sliced
1/4 cup rosemary leaves
3 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley leaves
2 tablespoons mint leaves
2 tablespoons oregano leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cardamom
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
12 lamb loin chops, 1 1/2 inches thick (or, alternatively, about 2 pounds double rib chops, cut into individual chops)

Method

In a saucepan, combine 1/4 cup of the oil with the garlic and cook over moderate heat, stirring frequently, until golden, 4 minutes. Transfer the garlic oil to a blender. Add the rosemary, parsley, mint, oregano, salt, pepper, fennel, cumin, cardamom, vinegar and the remaining 3/4 cup of oil and puree until relatively smooth.

Arrange the lamb chops in a shallow baking dish. Pour the marinade on top, turn to coat and refrigerate overnight.

Return to room temperature before grilling.

Light a grill or heat a grill pan. Remove the lamb chops from the marinade and grill over high heat, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes for medium-rare.

NOTES

My old readers may remember me screaming about this recipe long ago. To be more precise, I actually said “make this or I will hunt you down and kick you in the shins!” Krysta and I still make jokes about recipes like this, calling them “kick you in the shins” recipes. But really, it’s that good.

The first time I made these, Steve said that this is what lamb chops “should” taste like. Something about the combination of herbs and spices from various parts of the world that really know what they’re doing with lamb… it all just works. They’re beautiful. And nearly addictive. Considering how iffy I usually feel about lamb, trust me, I do not say that lightly.