As a young fella growing up on the islands I recall lamb not being a very popular choice when it came to meats we prepare (quite honestly.. our mom never made it). Back then and today goat still is the champ when it comes to a good curry. With variations on the recipe itself, you can find curry goat cooked on just about every island in the Caribbean and on the menu in every Caribbean restaurant outside the Caribbean.
I’m no fan of lamb due to a terrible experience I had with grilled lamb I purchase a few years ago (leathery), but this recipe is simply delightful and will become a hit in your home.
5 lamb chops (about 3 lbs)
2 tablespoon veg oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 grape tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon curry powder
1 1/2 cup coconut milk
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
3 cloves garlic crushed
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1 tablespoon shado beni chopped
1 cup water
1/4 scotch bonnet pepper (finely diced – no seeds)
1 shallot finely chopped (or onion)
2 tablespoon chopped parsley (flat leaf)
Note. If you don’t have grape tomatoes, use 1 medium tomato chopped. If you don’t have shado beni use 2 tablespoon chopped cilantro. I used a madras blend curry powder out of the Caribbean (much different than the stuff you get from India).
Wash and pat the lamb chops dry with paper towels, then heat the oil in a deep/heavy sauce pan on med/high heat. Add the chops, so they brown on each side for a few minutes (you may need to turn the heat down to medium).
Remove the browned lamb chops and set aside. Turn the heat down to low and add a tablespoon more oil if necessary. Toss in the diced shallot (on onion) , crushed garlic and grate the ginger directly into the pot. Let that cook on low for about 3 minutes (be sure to move around) so you get that wonderful flavor base. Now add the curry powder and cook for a couple minutes (stir well). It will go grainy and darker as it cooks. You’ll be hit by a wicked tsunami of flavors at this point. Now add back the browned chops and if there’s any liquid from them..add also. Move around the pan to try and pick up some of that curry base we created.
Now toss in the chopped shado beni, scotch bonnet pepper, scallions, thyme and black pepper. Give it a good stir, then add the salt, coconut milk and water. Turn the heat up so you can bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat to very low so you have a gentle simmer. Cover the pot and let that cook for about 1.5 hrs or until the lamb is tender and falling off the bones. Remember to stir the pot every 10-15 minutes.
Here’s where you may need to personalize this dish a bit. I like my gravy thick, so I turned up the heat to burn off any excess liquid (you can leave gravy or burn it all off) and remember to check to see if it has enough salt for your liking. When the gravy is as thick as you want, toss in the chopped parsley and the grape tomatoes, turn off the heat and cover the lid for about 3 minutes..
The tender pieces of this lamb cooked in the coconut curry sauce will be outstanding as a side for roti, ground provisions, rice, dumplings or even something as simple as a side salad. If you’re adding a little Caribbean flair to your normal dinner, this curry lamb would make for a great addition. If you’re concerned about heat, don’t use any of the seeds of the scotch bonnet pepper as that’s where most of that raw heat is. The earthy flavors from the spices which make up the curry will work well with the mellowness of the coconut milk and the fresh herbs will truly take this dish over the top.