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Mild Curried Lamb Casserole with Almonds
Commonly referred to as bobotie in its native South Africa, this everyday dish is typically served over rice, with assorted accompaniments.
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 3 medium onions, finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger (1 1/2-inch piece)
- Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
- 2 pounds ground lamb
- 1/2 cup slivered almonds (1 ounce), toasted
- 4 slices white bread, crusts removed
- 1 3/4 cups whole milk
- 2 tablespoons apricot preserves
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
- 4 large eggs
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon zest
- 4 fresh or dried bay leaves
- Accompaniments, such as cilantro sprigs, lemon or lime wedges, mango chutney, sliced banana and unsweetened coconut flakes
- Cooked rice, for serving
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Heat a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil, then the onions and fresh ginger and season with salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onions are golden brown and tender, about 15 minutes. (Reduce the heat if the vegetables brown too quickly.) Mix the turmeric, cumin, coriander, cayenne, cinnamon, cardamom and ground ginger in a small bowl, then stir into the onions. Add the lamb, and cook, breaking up large pieces with a wooden spoon, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Stir in the almonds, and cook for 2 minutes more.
Tear the bread into large pieces, and place in a small bowl. Add 1/4 cup milk and 3/4 teaspoon salt, and let stand until milk is absorbed. Add the bread mixture to the lamb, and cook, stirring frequently, until the bottom of the pan begins to brown, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the apricot preserves and lemon juice, scraping up the browned bits from the bottom. Remove from the heat, and season with salt and pepper.
Spoon the lamb into a 6-cup baking dish. Whisk the eggs, nutmeg, lemon zest and remaining 1 1/2 cups milk in a medium bowl. Pour over the lamb. Place the bay leaves in the dish, pressing into the filling. Bake until the custard is set around the edges and the center is no longer runny, 25 to 30 minutes. Let stand for 15 minutes before serving. Serve with desired accompaniments and rice.
Recipe reprinted by permission of Martha Stewart Living. All rights reserved.
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