Quick Prep Items:
Rack, Chops, Sirloin:
These cuts are tender and do not need a whole lot of prep. Treat them like a you do a t-bone beef steak. Prepare rack, chops or sirloin by brushing a light coat of high heat vegetable oil(canola/safflower/peanut) over the meat. Minimal seasoning could be kosher salt, freshly ground pepper, sprinkled over the cutlets at least 5 minutes before cooking, or go big and dry rub with garlic, herbs, or do a light marinade (they are tender already and do not need marinating.) Sear on a hot flat iron plate, 30 seconds each side, then place in a hot over (450 degrees) 2 minutes a side depending on thickness and desired doneness. Recommend medium-rare (internal meat temp is 140degrees). On the Grill: brush lightly with high-heat oil and season, place on preheated grill, turn once, careful not to burn, medium-rare is best!
Ground lamb patties:
Mix your favorite seasonings with the ground lamb in a bowl before making patties. Use just the basic S & P and treat like a beef burger or spice it up with a dash of garlic, onion powder & cumin for a Mediterranean flare, top with a cucumber/yogurt sauce, lettuce, sliced onion, and tomato on a Kaiser roll. OR, using same seasonings, brown the ground lamb loose in a skillet and serve in a soft tortilla, with toppings, for a savory Greek wrap!
Slow Prep Items:
Boneless Shoulder, Shank, Riblets, Neck Chops:
You will need a covered Dutch oven, or similar vessel for the oven, or foil and deep dish, or a plug-in slow cooker, or cast iron kettle with lid over a fire…
These items do best with a 5-6 hour slow heat (low oven at 250 degrees), low heat setting on plug-in crock, or a well-tended campfire with a steady supply of glowing embers…A cup of water or beef, chicken, vegetable broth, or lamb stock (see below) is added to the vessel with the lamb and the key is to be tightly covered to retain moisture.
Seasonings: Salt, freshly ground pepper, garlic and rosemary are the traditional choices. Cumin, cinnamon, coriander in dashes add a Mediterranean flare. Like Curry? Use in moderation, as even a touch of curry can overwhelm the delicate lamb flavor so be careful (curried lamb prep goes well with rice!!)
Other spice options: Thyme, Sage, Oregano, especially if freshly picked and available at the Livingston Farmers’ Market!! Toss in locally grown carrots, onions, parsnips, spuds, parsley… cook until tender, yum!
For a tangy twist add dried apricots, raisins, or dried cranberries to the mix!
Oh, what to do with a Leg o’ Lamb:
Marinate or rub it, spice it up or go minimal. The key is medium rare doneness, best gauged with a digital/wire thermometer so as not to open cooking vessel to check, delaying cooking time. A 3-4 lb leg may take less then 2 hours in a 325 degree oven. Bake uncovered, and for a medium rare leg (140 degrees) in the last 10 mintues or so (when leg is around 135) increase oven to 450 degrees to put a nice crispy crust on the outside.
Debone, marinate and grill for a summer time party. Careful not to burn while grilling. The bone? A raw bone is the better choice for your canine companion, or make your own lamb stock! (see below)
A rotisserie set-up is ideal for Leg in maintaining even-heating, and the end result is exceptionally juicy!
Allow finished Leg to rest a few minutes before carving, and slice across the grain for a delicious presentation. Serve with your favorite pasta, spud or rice, grilled Farmer’s Market veggies, and a bottle of your best local blush wine or light amber brew!
Got time for stock?
Continue to capture the goodness of grassfed…Brown the leg bone in the oven (in a cake pan) until golden and sizzling. Add to a soup pot, cover with water. Add onions, carrots, celery parsley and a ¼ cup of vinegar. Bring to rolling boil then reduce to simmer. Skim foamy top during simmer process. Best if simmered for 12-24 hours on low heat. Water can be added before bedtime to avoid over-simmering while you sleep! After desired time, pour liquid into another bowl thru a colander to catch bone and veggies. Ta Da! You have a stock! Allow to cool before storing. OR, make soup with freshly thawed lamb, or freeze and save stock until the fall weather begs for Irish Stew!