Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Lamb Recipes

Lamb is a popular meat world wide, except for here in the United States. It is so delicious. It is a red meat which we Americans love, and it is nutritious.  I wonder why it has not been popular in this country.

In fact, I actually wondered that in a Facebook status a while back and got some good feedback.

#1 The cost.
Yes, lamb is more expensive. The cost of lamb puts it in the category of a special occasion meat for most family budgets. I know it would be if we didn't raise it ourselves.

#2 Never Had It
Well that is an easy fix. Go try it. But then we get back to #1. Most of us aren't going to spend the money on pricey meat we aren't sure we'll like. *sigh* I wish I could invite you all over to try some lamb.

#3 Didn't Like It.
What??? Lamb is tender. It has a wonderful flavor that isn't too strong. I don't know how you could not like it, unless you just don't like red meat in general. But then a friend pointed out, and I think he is likely right, that perhaps people have actually tried mutton, not lamb, and not liked it. That does make perfect sense.

When comes to sheep a little bit of time makes a huge difference in taste. Lamb is a sheep less than a year old. It has a wonderful flavor. Mutton is a sheep over a year old. Mutton has a stronger taste. The older the sheep the stronger the taste.  At its worst it tastes almost a metallic. I do not like it at all.

So people, if you try lamb make sure it is really and truly lamb. Lamb will make your mouth water. Mutton does not sit well on the unaccustomed American pallet.

Those were the main objections to eating lamb. Well, except those who said lambs are just too cute. Lambs are terribly cute, but then so are calves, piglets, and chicks. They all are adorable, but then they grow up and lose their visual attraction to become much more attractive steaks, hams, chicken, and lamb chops on our dinner tables.

Cooking lamb really isn't much different than cooking other red meats. In fact, I use beef, venison, pork, and lamb interchangeably in a lot of our meals. The techniques are essentially the same. The tastes are a bit different, and different herbs and spices may work a little better with one than the other. The differences are subtle. If you can cook beef, you need not be afraid of cooking lamb.

A couple of tips about lamb. It pairs well with mint. It will get tough and dry if cooked to well done. Lamb will also cool quickly. Keep it moist and hot by cooking it to medium at the most, and serving it with the cooking liquid.

Curried Lamb Chops
I fix lamb chops on the grill most times, but last week I was in the mood for curry. Lamb pairs well with curry. I tried to look for a recipe, but couldn't find exactly what I wanted, and ended up combining two recipes to create the dish you see on the left. Below is how I made it.

Lamb Chops
Curry Powder (or make your own)
2 Carrots chopped
1 Head of Broccoli chopped
1 Onion, chopped
1/4 C Flour
4 C milk

Heat about 2 TB of oil in a large skillet on medium high. Sprinkle both sides of the chops with curry powder. Brown chops in hot skillet for about 2 minutes on each side. Remove chops. Add onion to skillet and sautee until onions begin to soften. Add carrots and broccoli. cook about five minutes. Sprinkle flour over the pan contents. Stir and cook about a minute. Add milk slowly stirring constantly. Bring to a simmer and add the chops back to the pan. Continue to simmer for about 15 minutes for medium cooked chops. Serve over rice.

Leg of Lamb
If this were pork, it would be an unsmoked ham. My favorite way to do any large piece of meat is in the crock pot. Season it. Turn on the crock pot and forget about it until dinner. This particular leg half is about five pounds, and is seasoned with salt, pepper, and mint. It cooked in the crock pot for about 8 hours on low.

I love how tender meats come out cooked this way. Crockpot roasts aren't quite as visually appealing because the meat doesn't brown nicely. You can sear the outside of the roast in a hot skillet first to brown the meat. Or if you want to roast the leg, do so at 325 for about 30 minutes per pound for medium.

I thoroughly enjoy lamb. It is certainly an under rated meat in this country. I encourage you to give lamb a try if you have the opportunity. I don't think you'll be disappointed.


  1. Great post! Makes me want to try some lamb. Here in Alaska healthy meat is very expensive. I'm going to need to put some lamb on my want list.

  2. Hi there. I love your blog and the post you wrote about lamb meat. You are right, even in Europe, France for instance, lamb meat is not cheap at all, but it is so tasty that it's worth the buy anyway. Thank you for posting those recipes. I will try one one day and will tell you how it is. Have you tried to cook lamb offal?

  3. Personally, I find our home grown lamb to be far superior to the New Zealand lamb in the grocery store. I'm in Ontario, Canada, and I just can't find home grown lamb in any of the major supermarkets!

  4. Ok, someone gave us some lamb a while back. It's been in my freezer because I didn't know how to fix it. I'm going to give it a shot. Crockpot, here we come. lol