I took a stroll through the Cedar Rapids Downtown Farmer’s Market this morning and spoke briefly to a vendor selling lamb. I am always on the look out for a local vendor for my meats and this guy had some great prices on lamb, goat, pork, grass-fed beef, and duck. Forest Hill Farm As of August 13, 2013, Forest Hill is a certified organic farm.
Here is a great way to prepare a rack of lamb.
Note: This can also be cooked in a 375° F oven. I cooked this on a gas grill on a slate plancha.
Racks of lamb, 8 bones, chine bones removed and rib bones frenched
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
5 large rosemary sprigs
3 cloves garlic, smashed and minced
1 teaspoon finely chopped thyme
1 teaspoon finely chopped mint
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
Light a grill and heat to 375°. Season the lamb with salt and pepper. If using a charcoal grill, coals are ready when covered in white ash. Push all the coals over to one side of the grill.
Melt the butter in the olive oil in a small saucepan. Add two of the rosemary sprigs and minced garlic to the olive oil and butter and heat until butter mixture just begins to brown and is very aromatic. , grill the lamb over indirect heat for about 40 minutes, turning every 10 minutes and brushing the racks with the rosemary sprigs dipped in the butter mixture. The lamb is done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the thickest part of the meat registers 125° for rare.
When the lamb reaches about 120°, turn the rack bone side down and pour any remaining butter mixture over the rack and place the rosemary sprigs used for basting on top. Cook until the rack reaches 125°F.
Transfer the lamb to a cutting board, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 10 minutes. Carve the racks into chops. Sprinkle with the chopped thyme, mint and parsley and serve.
In my opinion, Americans should eat more lamb. From a health standpoint it’s leaner, has fewer calories, and less cholesterol than beef. This is due in part to the fact that lamb is grass fed. Beef should be this way, and in fact, much is being made of the benefits of grass fed beef over grain fed beef as of late.
The biggest obstacle to eating more lamb is availability. Luckily, Hy-Vee, a local grocery chain here in Iowa, has begun selling lamb from Strauss Farms, making obtaining lamb much easier.
Tonight I made lamburgers and topped them with crumbles of feta cheese, Kalamata olives, red onion, and oregano. Here is what I did:
1 pound ground lamb
4 ounces Greek feta cheese
2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
1/8 cup Kalamata olives, chopped (approximately 8 olives)
Heat grill to medium heat.
Meanwhile, form ground lamb into three equal patties. Season with salt and pepper and set aside.
Combine feta, olives, and oregano in glass bowl mixing well.
Grill burgers to desired doneness. During the last few minutes of cooking, divide feta mixture onto burgers. Remove from grill placing on buns and top with onion.
Okay, so it’s the week of Saint Patrick’s Day and there are all these recipes for foods to make on that day. Here is a delicious stew that is so good it is a shame not to make it anytime. Yes, it contains the obligatory Guinness.
½ cup all-purpose flour
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 – 3 pounds boneless lamb stew meat (preferably shoulder), cut into cubes
3 tablespoons canola oil or whatever you prefer to cook with
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
12 ounces Guinness Extra Stout or similar beer
1 ½ pounds medium new potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut ½ inch thick diagonally
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Season flour with salt and pepper in a large bowl. You may find it easier to mix in a gallon size storage bag and simply add the lamb to the bag and shake. Either way, dredge lamb in flour mixture, shaking off excess. In a Dutch oven, heat oil over medium heat. Working in batches, brown lamb on all sides, about five minutes per batch. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Pour ¼ to ½ cup water into pot, scraping up browned bits from bottom with a wooden spoon. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until water has evaporated and onion is beginning to soften. This will take about about 5 minutes. Return lamb to pot and stir in thyme, beer, and 1 ½ cups water. Cover and simmer until lamb is tender, approximately 1 hour.
Add potatoes, carrots, and an additional ½ cup water if needed. Cook, covered, until vegetables are tender and stew has thickened, about 1 additional hour. Season with salt and pepper. Stir in parsley just before serving.
Lamb is very wine friendly. Almost any good red wine will pair well with this dish.