Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Curry for Leftover Lamb or Beef

The 1964 edition of Joy of Cooking was my very first cookbook, an engagement present from a college friend named Helen, who was from Cincinnati. She left Oakland University and transferred to B.U., where I visited her for an afternoon when I found myself in Boston. She was small and fierce with a helmet of shiny dark hair. I don't know what happened to her. She might be surprised to learn that giving me Joy (no pun intended) was the first step in my lifelong passion for cooking and collecting cookbooks. Thanks, Helen.

I don't know if the 1964 edition is still available in paperback or not. It used to be easy to find as a two-volume set. The most current edition is the 75th Anniversary Edition, considered by many to be the quintessential American cookbook, but the 1964 edition is still my favorite.

This combination of meat and fruit and vegetables is delicious and a great way to use up leftover lamb or beef.

Curry for Leftover Lamb or Beef
Adapted from the 1964 Joy of Cooking by Irma S. Rombauer and Marion Rombauer Becker

Serves 4

1 large onion, roughly chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons butter or vegetable oil (I use grapeseed or peanut)
2 cups cooked lamb or beef, cut into medium pieces
2 teaspoons flour, Wondra is best
1½ cups hot chicken broth (you can use beef broth, but I always use chicken)
1 tablespoon curry powder (I use Sun Brand)
2 tart apples (Granny Smith are good), peeled and cut into wedges
1 tablespoon raisins (whatever color raisins you keep in the pantry)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ cup diced celery
Salt and pepper

Heat 2 tablespoons of butter or oil in a sauté pan or saucier. Add chopped onions, and cook until the onions are tender and just beginning to brown.

Add the curry powder, and cook for about 1 minute to release the flavor of the curry, being careful not to burn it. Add the apples and celery. You want them to stay crisp, so cook for about 2 minutes, no more than that. Using a slotted spoon, remove the ingredients from the pan to a bowl, leaving behind any juices that have accumulated.

Add the additional tablespoon of butter or oil, if necessary, to the pan, and brown the meat. Add the flour to the pan, sprinkling it over the meat. Stir to coat the meat thoroughly with the flour, and pour the hot broth in slowly, stirring the whole time.

When the sauce is smooth and boiling, add the apples, onions, and celery from the bowl along with the tablespoon of raisins to the pan. Stir in the lemon juice, and season carefully with salt. The amount of salt in the broth you use will make a difference. Pass the peppermill at the table.

This goes well with Basmati Rice Pilaf, buttered green peas, and Cucumber Salad.

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