Tuesday, May 4, 2010

An Easy Pea-sy Meal for A Cold Spring Night!

We're lucky here in Sonoma. The days are growing warm if not downright hot, and the nights are still briskly cool. We're also fortunate in that there's a whole lot of great stuff coming into season and readily available. One of those things is spring lamb from Sonoma Direct.  One pound of ground lamb makes a great and fast-cooking centerpiece dish for a simple spring lunch or dinner for the family.
  I love this dish because it's easy and one only needs to add one more vegetable or a salad and some chapattis and boom! The meal is done.
  It's called Kheema Mattar, mattar is peas in Punjabi...so, ground meat and peas. Here's how simple it is.
  Start with:
 1 lb of ground lamb
  In a food processor grind up:
2 chopped onions
4 shallots
A  2 inch piece of ginger peeled and chopped
1 serrano chilli. If you'd like it a bit hotter add one more.
  In a heavy skillet or kadhai heat:
2 Tbs of vegetable oil.
 When it's hot add in:
The onion mixture
2 Bay leaves
Stir it around for about 2 minutes or so until it's a nice golden color.
Then toss in the ground lamb stir fry it for 15 minutes or so, don't let it stick.
 Then add in :
2 Tbs of tomato paste
Lower the heat to a simmer.
Then add in:
1/4 tsp of turmeric
1/2 tsp of Kashmiri chilli powder
2 Tbs of ground coriander
2 Tbs ground cumin
Stir it around for 1 minute.
 Then add in:
2 Tbs plain yogurt
3 tsps of salt
1 tsp ground pepper
Keep frying for another 5  minutes.
Now, add in 3/4 cup of water just a bit at a time until all the water is absorbed.
 If you're adding fresh peas put 1 and 1/2 cups of them in now. If using frozen peas, hold off.
 Put the lid on the pan and simmer the mixture for 20 minutes or so. About 5 minutes before you're done, add in the frozen peas.
 Finish cooking.
 Just before serving, sprinkle in 1/4 tsp garam masala
 3 Tbs of chopped fresh cilantro.
 This serves 4 adults.
Bingo! A fast simple and inexpensive dish. Serve it wrapped in a chapatti with a simple green salad, or dress it up a bit if you're more ambitious.
 I wish I had prettier pictures of this Kheema Mattar to show you, but in the pantheon of dishes it may not be the most beautiful but this is the one with personality!


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