Lamb Chili with Chickpeas, Raita & Basmati Rice
Indian meets American is what this dish delivers. Complex flavors of Indian spices mingle to make a classic American comfort food even more comforting. It's just one of the great recipes from one of my favorite chefs, Andrew Caremellini. I've made a couple of changes, but the biggest one is that the original recipe calls for 1 cup of coconut milk to be added to the chili. I've made it with and without and it is by far better without. Because of the long simmer time, the coconut milk breaks down and causes the chili to become very oily. It honestly doesn't add much to the flavor profile of the dish, as much as it seems like it would. If you do try it with the coconut milk you'll need to increase the total cooking time by about 1/2 hour in order for the extra liquid to cook down.
By the way, this recipe is one of our meal kits so if it sounds good and you want all the fixings delivered, we can do that!
Slightly adapted from American Flavor by Andrew Carmellini
For the Raita
1 medium English cucumber
Juice of 1 lemon
1 cup of plain yogurt
6 large mint leaves
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
For the Chili
2 pounds ground lamb
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1 medium red onion, diced
one 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled, sliced thin and diced.
1 clove garlic, minced
3 tsp. garam masala (included in your kit!)
1 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
One 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes with their juice
3 cups low chicken broth, water, or vegetable broth
1 medium red bell pepper
One 15 ounce can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained
To finish the Dish
1/2 cup torn fresh cilantro leaves
Hot basmati rice
To make the raita
Peel the cucumber. Cut it in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Using a box grater or large flat grater, grate the cucumber into a bow. Squeeze the extra liquid out of the shredded cucumber and mix with the yogurt, lemon juice and spices. That's the way Andrew has you do it. If you are short on time of like chunky raita (like we do) just cut up the cucumber in small chunks, seeds and all and mix with all of the ingredients. I sprinkled a little extra cumin on top.
To Make the Chili
Heat the oil in a large saucepot over medium high heat. Use your hands to break the ground lamb into small pieces and then add the meat to the pot. Cook for about 2-3 minutes; use a wooden spoon to keep breaking the meat up and stir it constantly so that it browns evenly.
Turn the heat down to medium. Add the red onion, ginger, garlic garam masala, chili powder, salt and pepper. Mix everything together so the meat is well coated in the spices and the oil and then saute the mixture a minute or so , nil the spices release their flavor. Add the tomatoes, broth, and bell pepper. Mix everything together, turn the heat up to medium-high and bring the chili up to a simmer. Let it cook, uncovered, at a low bubble, stirring occasionally.
While the chili has been cooking for and hour , stir in the chickpeas, and cook for another 30 minutes or so, until the chili has thickened and the flavors are rich and well combined.
To finish the Dish
Ladle the chili into bowls over freshly cooked basmati rice. Add a spoonful of raita on top and sprinkle with fresh cilantro leaves.
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