Serves 6 to 8
6 pounds bone-in lamb shoulder
4 tablespoons vegetable or olive oil, plus extra if necessary
Salt and ground black pepper
2 large onions, cut into medium dice
6 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup curry powder
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
6 tablespoons flour
2 cans (13.5 ounces each) coconut milk
2 cups chicken broth
3 medium sweet potatoes, cut into large dice
3/4 cup frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Adjust oven rack to lowest and middle positions and heat oven to 450 degrees.
Heat a heavy-bottom roasting pan set over two burners turned to low heat.
Toss lamb, with 2 tablespoons of the oil, and a generous sprinkling of salt and pepper in a large bowl.
A few minutes before cooking, increase heat to a strong medium-high until wisps of smoke start to rise from the pan. Cooking in batches, if necessary, add lamb; sear, turning only once, until both sides form an impressive, dark brown crust, about 8 minutes. Transfer meat to a Dutch oven or soup kettle measuring 10- to 11-inches in diameter.
Add onions and garlic to empty roasting pan, adding additional oil if pan is dry; sauté until softened, about 5 minutes. Add spices; cook until fragrant, about a minute. Whisk in flour, then coconut milk and broth, seasoning with salt and pepper.
Pour roasting pan contents into kettle. Place a sheet of heavy-duty foil over the pot. Press the foil down so that it touches the stew. Seal foil completely around the edges. Place lid snugly on pot. Turn burner on medium-high until you hear juices bubble. Set pot in oven and cook for 1 1/2 hours.
At the 45-minute point, toss sweet potatoes with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil and a sprinkling of salt and pepper in a 13-by 9-inch pan. Set on bottom rack. Roast sweet potatoes and continue to cook stew until both are tender, about 30 minutes longer. Remove sweet potatoes and stew from oven.
Remembering that kettle and lid are hot, stir potatoes, peas, and cilantro into stew. Re-cover pot with foil and lid and let meat rest and flavors marry, about 15 minutes. Return stew to a simmer; serve.