Ceylonese Lamb Curry

Course : Curry
Serves: 8
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4 pounds breast of lamb cut each rack into 1 inch strips -- * see note
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons Madras-style curry powder
1 teaspoon crushed dried hot chiles
1/2 teaspoon anise seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon dried dill weed
8 cloves garlic -- finely minced
2 tablespoons grated fresh ginger
1 large onion -- chopped
2 cups light beef broth
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup distilled vinegar
1 medium additional crushed dried hot chiles -- optional
2 medium onions cut into bite-sized chunks
1 large bell pepper seeded and cut into strips
2 medium cooking apples peeled, cored, and cut into bite-sized chunk
2 medium seedless oranges cut into thin slices with peels on
1/2 medium fresh ripe pineapple cored and cut into bite-sized chunks
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
1 teaspoon salt and fresh ground black pepper
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint leaves
4 medium green onions and tops -- minced and peeled
1 medium pineapple spears and mint sprigs -- for garnish

Preparation / Directions:

Put the meat in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and drain. Heat the oils over high heat in a large skillet. If they begin to smoke, reduce the heat slightly. Add the herbs and spices, garlic, ginger, and onion. Stirring rapidly, cook for about 2 minutes, or until a paste is formed. Add the meat and stir to coat all evenly. Pour in the broth, reduce to a rapid simmer, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is exceedingly tender. Add the brown sugar and vinegar and taste. If you want a more distinctly sweet and sour taste or more heat, add additional sugar, vinegar, and red pepper at this time. Add the onions, pepper, and fruit and continue simmering until the apples are tender but not falling apart. Stir in the cornstarch mixture and continue to simmer, stirring gently, until the sauce is thickened and glossy. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add the cilantro, mint, and green onions and stir lightly. Pour into a heated serving platter. You may cut the remaining pineapple into spears to use for garnish along with sprigs of mint. Sometimes I set the spiked top of the pineapple in the center of the dish and ladle the curry around it. This makes an attractive display. Serve with steamed white rice or saffron rice and hot steamed chapatis. (Chapatis and flour tortillas are very similar.)

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