- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 lb boneless lamb shoulder  or beef chuck, trimmed of fat and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 cup finely diced onion
- ½ cup finely chopped celery
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 3 tbsp curry powder
- ½ tsp ground cumin powder
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 4 cups chicken broth
- ¼ tsp dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 2 cup peeled carrots, cut into ½-inch dice (4 medium)
- 3 cup peeled, all-purpose potatoes, cut into ½-inch dice (1½ pounds)
- ½ tsp salt
- ¾ cup coconut milk, regular or light
- 2 tbsp fresh lime juice
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro, for garnish, optional
- cooked rice and cilantro for serving
- In a saucepan large enough to hold the lamb in a single layer (or in batches) over moderate heat, heat the oil.
- Pat the lamb cubes dry with paper towels and brown them, over medium high heat, for about 10 minutes until brown on all sides.
- As each batch is done, remove them to a bowl.
- When the lamb is brown, discard the fat from the saucepan and replace it with the butter.
- Melt the butter over moderate heat, then add the onion and celery and cook uncovered, stirring once or twice, for about 5 minutes or until tender.
- Add the garlic, curry powder and cumin and saute for about a minute to cook the spices.
- Add the tomato paste to the curry, then whisk in the chicken broth, thyme and bay leaf.
- Return the lamb to the saucepan and add the carrots and potatoes and season with ½ teaspoon of salt.
- Bring the liquid to a boil over high heat, cover and simmer, over low heat, with the lid ajar, for 1 to 1¼ hours or until the lamb and the vegetables are tender.
- Strain the solids, and thoroughly degrease the juices.
- Discard the bay leaf and return the degreased juices to the saucepan.
- Over high heat, boil the juices down until 1 cup remains.
- Add the coconut milk, return the meat and vegetable solids to the pot and simmer the stew to reheat.
- Stir in the lime juice and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve over plain boiled rice and garnish with cilantro.
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