As a young fella on the islands, I don’t ever recall having lamb (had to call mom and she confirmed this). And to be quite honest, I didn’t even start eating goat until my adult years in Canada after living with my aunt, who’s a master at cooking it in a rich and spicy curry sauce. Today I’m not a huge fan of lamb, as I find the taste and texture turns me off a little (plus the price), but the odd time it is cooked in our home, this is my go-to recipe. Not necessarily “Caribbean”, but you’ll noticed a lot of flavor-adding ingredients being used as we would in the Caribbean.
5 Lamb chops (shoulder/cheaper cut)
5 allspice berries
1 small stick cinnamon
1 tablespoon veg oil
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups water
3/4 cup orange juice
1/2 med onion
2 cloves garlic
4 sprigs thyme
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 tablespoon tomato puree (concentrate)
2 slices ginger
1 scotch bonnet pepper
8 cherry tomatoes
Optional – pinch nutmeg
Note: If doing this recipe gluten free, be sure to go through the entire list of ingredients to make sure they meet with your specific gluten free dietary needs.
Usually we season and marinate meats first in the Caribbean, but in this case we’ll add the seasonings (herbs etc) a little later. Heat the vegetable oil on med/high and brown the pieces of lamb on both sides (takes about 8 mins). Then remove them and set aside.
Turn the heat to low and add the onion, garlic, scallion and thyme, let it gently cook for about 3-4 minutes, then add the tomato puree (concentrate) and cook another 2 minutes. It will go dark.
Now add the add orange juice, black pepper, ginger, allspice berries and bring to a boil. Then go in with the lamb, water, salt and place the scotch bonnet pepper whole. Stir, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to a gentle simmer and cook for about 50 minutes or until it’s as tender as you like.
After about 50 minutes, taste for salt and adjust accordingly as my tolerance for salt will be different than yours. Remove the lid and crank up the heat to help the gravy thicken to the way you want it. Here is also where I also add the cherry tomatoes (use chopped regular tomatoes if you wish). Stir every 10-15 minutes or so and try your best to NOT break that scotch bonnet pepper or you will release major heat… unless you want that heat.
Fish out the scotch bonnet pepper, stems from the thyme and all spice berries and discard before serving so no one gets the nasty reality of biting into them. Serve with rice, boiled provisions, flour dumplings or roti.