Lamb and Lamb Recipes

Spring is right around the corner.  Did you know that? I sit here looking out at snow piled at least two feet deep on our deck, and the driveway becoming less passable by the minute. But, yes, I have lamb on my mind.

Many of you know that Greg, our son, lives in Springfield, Missouri with his wife, Tracie, three children, chickens, guinea hens, a couple of parrots, a parakeet, a lama, two goats, dogs, forty sheep, (who keep his lawn mowed,)  and a couple of “rammy” rams. Although he’s not really a farmer, but a professor of physics at Drury University, he ends up with lambs, and not just in the spring.

At Christmas, he arrived with five lambs, professionally butchered, in standard cuts, shrink wrapped, labeled and frozen.  It didn’t take much time to find takers. With that, I am posting lamb recipes. Some I have tried, some I haven’t, but they come great sources.

The first comes from Penny Morton who said that lamb “slippers” are to die for. I’ve made these and totally agree.

Slipper Lamb Burgers

These are supposed to be shaped like a slipper.

1 pound ground lamb
1/2 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 to 2 serrano or other hot peppers, minced (use the seeds for even hotter flavor)
1/4 cup minced cilantro
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
14 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Mix all together well, knead and press to blend.  Shape into 4 oval shaped patties. Grill and serve in chapatti breads.  Serves 4

The following recipe is a flavorful way to handle a rack of lamb or lamb chops. The aromatic mixture of yogurt and spices is enhanced by being smokily charred on the grill, something I’ll have to wait to try until we find the grill under all that snow.  But I couldn’t wait to taste this, and had to settle for roasting the lamb. The recipe is an adaptaion from Steven Raichlen’s The Big Flavor Cookbook.


Lamb Roast with Indian Spices

3 to 4 pounds lamb roast (from the fore quarter)
2 small onions
6 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2 cups nonfat yogurt
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 teaspoons ground turmeric
4 teaspoons smoky paprika
4 teaspoons ground cumin
4 teaspoons ground coriander
2 teaspoons salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper and cayenne pepper
1/2 cup chopped cilantro for garnish
1 lemon, cut into wedges for garnish

Trim off as much fat as you can from the meat. Combine the remaining ingredients except for the garnishes in a large bowl. Whisk to make a smooth paste.  Marinate the lamb for 8 to 24 hours, the longer the better, turning 3 or 4 times.  Preheat the grill and grill the lamb over medium-high heat basting with the marinade until cooked to your liking.  Or, roast in a 400*F. oven for 20 to 30 minutes until medium rare or 130*F.  Garnish with the chopped cilantro and the lemon.  This serves 3 or 4

Bobby Flay comes up with flavorful and easy recipes. Here’s one that I enjoy, although it does require making jalapeno preserves, which also makes a great glaze on boneless pork chops.

Lamb Chops with Jalapeno Preserves

8 loin lamb chops
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup jalapeno preserves (recipe below)

Prepare a wood or charcoal fire and let it burn down to embers; or preheat the broiler.  Brush the chops with oil and season with salt and pepper.  Grill or broil 4 minutes on each side for medium rare or to your liking.  Bring preserves to room temperature and serve with the lamb chops, 2 tablespoons per serving.  4 servings

Jalapeno Preserves

3 medium red bell peppers, seeded and coarsely chopped
6 jalapeno peppers, minced
4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups red wine vinegar
1/4 cup liquid pectin

Combine the peppers, sugar, and vinegar in saucepan; bring to a boil and boil 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.  Turn off the heat and add the pectin, mixing well. Turn heat on again and bring to a boil. Pour into sterilized jars and seal. Or, keep the preserves refrigerated.  Makes 6 cups

Here’s another recipe is made with lamb shoulder, shanks, or other cuts of lamb that need to be cooked in moist heat. This is adapted from Steve Raichlen’s book, “The Big Flavor Cookbook.” Serve over rice, orzo, couscous or another grain.

Braised Lamb

4 lamb shanks or 4 to 5 pounds lamb roast
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion finely chopped
2 carrots, finely chopped
2 stalks celery, finely chopped
1 (28-ounce) can plum tomatoes, chopped
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken stock, veal stock or water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
Bouquet: bay leaf, thyme, parsley
Salt and pepper
1/4 cup minced flat leaf parsley for garnish
Freshly grated zest of lemon for garnish

Put the lamb into a big pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook 3 minutes. Rise under cold water and drain. With a small, sharp knife, cut off all visible fat.  Preheat oven to 350*F.  Heat oil in sauté pan and add the onion carrots, celery and garlic. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes or until lightly browned. Stir in the tomatoes and cook 1 minute. Stir in the flour.  Add the lamb and wine; bring to a boil; stirring. Add the stock, tomato paste, bouquet of herbs, salt and pepper. Bring back to a boil and cover tightly. Place in the oven and bake for 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until meat is fall-off-the-bone tender. Uncover for the last 45 minutes to allow excess liquid to evaporate. You need about 2 cups of sauce in the end. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed. Sprinkle with parsley and zest mixture and serve at once.  Serves 4

This recipe for braised lamb is an excellent one for lamb shanks, or any cut that’s best cooked until it is “fall off the bone” tender.  I first wrote it in my Gourmet Cooking For Two cookbook, published in 1970! Lately, I’ve added more and more garlic and sprigs of fresh rosemary as well to the recipe.

Braised Lamb

2 lamb shanks or 2 to 3 pounds less-tender cut of lamb
salt and pepper
white cooking wine
1 clove garlic, crushed
Basil and oregano or fresh rosemary

Roll the meat in flour and sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Place in a greased heavy casserole or Dutch oven and add the wine, garlic, basil, rosemary. Cover tightly. Bake at 350*F. for 2 hours, or at 300*F. for 4 to 5 hours.  Serve with rice, orzo, or cooked wild rice.  Serves 2 to 3

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Beatrice Ojakangas

Food writer Beatrice Ojakangas grew up as the oldest of ten on a farm in Floodwood, Minnesota and learned to cook and bake on a woodstove. Author of 31 cookbooks, Beatrice has a degree in home economics, has been inducted into the James Beard Cookbook Hall of Fame, was awarded an honorary doctorate from the University of Minnesota, has written for magazines such as Bon Appetit, Gourmet, and Woman's Day, and appeared on the television shows of both Julia Child and Martha Stewart. Her specialties include baking, Finnish and Scandinavian cooking, and writing well-tested, simple recipes that use wholesome ingredients. She lives in Duluth, Minnesota.

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