Welcome fall with October’s Sandy Spice, Vadouvan N.28. This French colonial inspired version of Indian curry spices is deliciously mild and conveniently approachable. Chunks of toasted onions and spices are blended into a coarse, sweet-savory composition that works well in an array of dishes.
Lamb and Spinach Parmentier
Makes 6 to 8 servings
13 medium Idaho potatoes (4 pounds), peeled and diced
5 sprigs thyme
3 garlic cloves, peeled and halved, plus 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
Freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the casserole
1½ cups finely chopped onion
5 ounces baby spinach
1 pound ground lamb (preferably shoulder meat)
3 tablespoons Vadouvan N.28 spice blend
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
½ cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
1. Make the potatoes: Place the potatoes, thyme and halved garlic in a stockpot and cover with water. Add a pinch of salt, bring to a simmer and cook until tender. Drain the potatoes and discard the thyme, then pass the potatoes through a food mill or mash until smooth. Stir in the butter and season to taste with salt and pepper.
2. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet. Add the onion and chopped garlic and cook over medium-high heat until the onion is translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the spinach, lamb, Vadouvan spice blend and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring frequently, until the lamb is cooked through, about 6 minutes. Season to taste with salt.
3. Preheat the oven to 325° and grease a casserole or 8-by-12-inch baking dish with olive oil. Spread half of the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Top with the lamb mixture and spread into an even layer. Add the remaining mashed potatoes and smooth the top with a spatula.
4. Sprinkle the top of the potato pie with the Parmesan and bake for 25 minutes. Turn on the broil the potato pie until the top is golden brown, about 5 minutes. Serve immediately.
Photography by Thomas Schauer.