When it’s cold outside, I like to stay home and prepare a hot and hearty meat stew with a spicy and velvety sauce. I let the hot pot simmer for hours to diffuse the aroma throughout the house. It’s also a great way to make your place warm and inviting when you are expecting guests or visitors.
Just before visitors arrive, I seem to always, and un-purposefully, have a stew or a sauce simmering away on the stove, with mellow South-American music playing in the background. It so happens that many of the guests walk in with a pleasant smile that reads “mmmh, this is nice…” Good food and music can make any place cozy and homey.
This could be a useful tip to making your place welcoming whenever you’re receiving dinner guests…or when you’re putting your place up for sale.
As much as I love our home, we decided to sell it. Over the years, I grew very fond of this home but it’s time to move on. Excitingly, I found a place with an ideal kitchen space with abundant natural lighting, which is a food photographer’s main essential to taking breath-taking food shots. This kitchen is soon to become my escapism to creativity and food indulgence.
Preparation: 20 minutes, Cooking time: 1 hour
Recipe “au pif”:
1 lb lamb shoulder, cut in 2-in. cubes
2 medium sized yellow onions, thinly sliced in rings
2 medium-sized Russet potatoes, cut in quarters
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ tsp coarse sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp flour
2 tbsp Malaysian curry powder (found in Asian grocery stores)
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp hot chili paste
1 bay leaf
2 ½ - 3 cups hot water
2 tbsp chicken concentrate (or 2 ½ - 3 cups chicken stock)
3 tbsp canola oil (olive oil can also be used)
1 tbsp fresh mint, minced to garnish
3-4 baby eggplants, cut in halves
1 large green bell pepper, cut in quarters then halves (8 pieces)
Brush olive oil over eggplants. Grill veggies over hot grill or broil in oven on, until edges are slightly burned. Set aside.
In large and deep sauce pan, heat oil over medium high heat.
Add the onions and garlic and stir until they onions start to soften.
Add in the lamb, sea salt, black pepper and flour. Stir for about 5 minutes to brown the lamb or until lamb is well coated with the flour and the surface of the meat is cooked.
Stir in the Malaysian curry powder, the tomato paste and chili paste. Stir for about 2 minutes until well incorporated. Add in bay leaf.
Pour in the water and stir. Add in the chicken concentrate and stir for about 2 minutes.
Lower the heat to medium-low. Cover with lid (leave a small opening so that the steam can vent out). Slow-cook or simmer for about 30 minutes.
Then add in the potatoes, stir, cover and continue to simmer for another 30 minutes or until the lamb is soft.
Throw in the grilled veggies and ladle them with the sauce.
Sprinkle some fresh mint.
Serve hot with steamed white rice.
Serves 4-6 people.