When my kids are old enough to do the grocery shopping, I want them to know that meat comes from animals, not from plastic-and-polystyrene packaging. I want them to know that an animal died for their appetites. And I want them to know that that animal had a decent life before it went to slaughter. Then again, perhaps they’ll become vegetarians, in which case, they won’t need to bother about any of the above.
In the meantime, though, I take them to my local farmers’ market so they can see what meats looks like and find out where it comes from. And there is nothing quite like the experience of seeing the stuff freshly butchered in front of your eyes.
That’s the inspiration for this recipe. I wanted a half shoulder of lamb to make this Thai Lamb Yellow Curry with. There wasn’t one on display, so the butcher went into his van and brought out a whole lamb carcass (minus the wool and innards).
“Wow, Dad, that’s so coooooool,” said my eight-year-old.
“Is that a real lamb?” asked the five-year-old. “Did it go baa?”
‘Did’ – past tense.
Yup. Indeed it did go Baa. And it also frolicked and gambolled in open fields until it found itself in the sorry predicament it faced right now.
Anyway, pictures tell the story better than words, and I hope this recipe does justice to the life that was given for it. My wife loved it – and the kids loved it, too.
2 tbsp sunflower oil
Half shoulder free-range lamb, trimmed of fat and sinew and cut into 2.5cm chunks
1 onion, sliced
4 tbsp Thai yellow curry paste
1 can coconut milk
1 red pepper, deseeded and sliced
100g green beans, trimmed
1. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large frying pan and brown the lamb chunks all over. Remove from the pan and transfer to a plate. Wipe the pan clean.
2. Add 1 tbsp oil to the pan and then the onion. Gently cook for 5-6 mins until tender. Add the curry paste. Stir fry for 1 min to release the aromas.
3. Return the lamb to the pan and stir through. Add the coconut milk and bring to the boil, then transfer to a slow cooker and cook on LOW for 4-5 hours, until the lamb is very tender. (Or you could cook it in a lidded casserole dish, in a 160C/Gas 2 oven, for 2 hours). At this stage you can transfer the lamb to a container and let it cool, then leave in the fridge overnight.
4. When you’re ready to eat, transfer the lamb curry to a large saucepan and heat through. Add the peppers and green beans and cook for around 15-20 mins, until the vegetables are tender.
5. Serve with plain boiled Jasmine rice.