The secrets of lamb

So this is going to be lamb week. For multiple reasons. First, sunday is Easter and Easter means lamb. Second, yesterday I went to a great class at kitchen in the market were I learned how to perfectly french a lamb rack. Third, the wonderful people of Mountain State Rosen contacted me and sent me a wonderful leg of Cedar Spring Lamb to cook. So this week I am going to post about lamb. Multiple times. Today I am going to start by talking about what I learned about frenching and cooking a rack of lamb and on Sunday I am going to post a recipe for leg of lamb.

And as I mentioned, there is also a giveaway! The wonderful people of Mountain State Rosen are giving away a $50 gift card for Lund’s. That is plenty of lamb (or anything else you’d want to buy). To participate just leave a comment below. You can get extra entries by liking Mountain State Rosen’s facebook page and by sharing this post on google, twitter, pinterest or facebook. If you share the post on a social network remember to mention me (@italianinthemidwest) so that I can thank you and to leave a separate comment below to get that extra entry. The giveaway will close at Midnight (CST) on Thursday April 4th. The giveaway is opened to anyone, but Lund’s is only present in Minnesot amaking it difficult for some of you to use the card,  so let me know if decide to opt out of the giveaway.

As I said I went to this class about primal cuts. This time it was lamb and rabbit, next time it is going to be birds and finally there is cow class (I missed the pork one, but I am sure it was great). Chef Thomas of Corner Table taught us some great things on butchering. And some wonderful tricks about cooking lamb.

The art of butchering is difficult to explain without pictures, so I won’t bother you with meaningless descriptions of what we did, but I will show you a picture:

Frenching lamb

See that? That is how you french a lamb rack!

Yes, that is kitchen twine. And that is basically all you need to get perfectly cleaned ribs. This is what you do: first you cut out the meat by slicing with the knife as close to the bone as you can. Then you attache the twine to something fixed that won’t move (ideally something anchored in the wall. Finally, you wrap the twine around the base of the rib and you pull. The twine will strip all the flesh from the bone and you will have a perfectly clean lamb rib. And I suspect it might work on other animals bone too!

Aren’t these some gorgeous racks, all perfectly frenched?

Crusted lamb rack

As for the recipe of the duo, well that is for chef Thomas’ to disclose, but I will let you know that in that crust there are the trimmings from frenching the rack, plus herbs and breadcrumbs. And that crust is delicious!

Also while you wait for my lamb leg recipe to be posted on Sunday, here a couple of my recipes for lamb: stew, ragu‘ and something rather hearty….

Roasted leg of lamb for easter

Happy Easter! And as I promised, here I am with a recipe for roasted leg of lamb. And as you know this is not just a leg of lamb, but THE leg of lamb I got from the wonderful people at Mountain State Rosen.

For such a beautiful piece of meat, I wanted a simple recipe that could highlight the flavors of lamb, so I went for a simple roast. As an inspiration, I used a recipe I found in my grandma’s recipe notebook. As all of my grandma’s recipes this is a rather simple, if a bit long preparation: prepare a mixture of herbs, marinate overnight and then cook for hours.

And that is what I did. I added sumac to the herbs my grandma suggested, because its lemony tartness works well with the richness of lamb and I cooked the lamb for 3 hours. My place smells heavenly!

In the spirit of keeping it simple, I am serving it with simple roasted potatoes and sunchokes. Can’t wait to dig into lamb! And all the other fixings I prepared for easter lunch including colomba (which you might have seen enough of on Instagram) and muffins with lima beans, pecorino and salame.

Oh and remember that the giveaway for Lund’s gift cards is open until Thursday (April 4th) so remember to leave a comment on the giveaway post for a chance to win one.

Ingredients

  • 1 deboned leg of lamb, tied
  • 1 sprig rosemary
  • 6-8 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp sumac
  • 1 sprig sage
  • 1 bunch parsley
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 glass wine
  • salt
  • pepper

Directions

  1. Take all the aromatic herbs and half the garlic and chop them roughly.
  2. Mix the chopped herbs with the oil, the sumac, the salt and the pepper and rub the mixture on the lamb leg, putting some herbs also in the hollow where the bone used to be.
  3. Place the lamb in a covered container with the rest of the garlic and let it marinate overnight in the fridge.
  4. The next day, sear the lamb in a very hot pan on all sides. Once the lamb is well seared, deglaze the pan with a glass of wine (both red or white are fine so pick your favorite).
  5. When the wine is evaporated, transfer the meat in an oven dish with a rack, so that the meat does not sit in its juices.
  6. Cook at 400F for 2-3 hours depending on the size of your leg. Mine was almost 6 lb. so it took the full 3 hours.

Saucy Greek Burgers : Greek Recipes

Saucy Greek Burgers – This distinctive, delicious, Greek burger recipe is made with ground lamb, and served with a one of a kind, exquisite, mint yogurt sauce recipe included. Also served in Pitas, for more Greek tradition, these phenomenal, BBQ burgers are a “Must Try”.

Prep Time: 30 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Servings: 6
Main Ingredient: Ground Lamb
Difficulty Level: 2

Ingredients to make Saucy Greek Burgers

For yogurt sauce:
12 Ounces plain yogurt
2 Small garlic cloves
1/4 Teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons shredded fresh mint leaves, or to taste

For burgers:
2 Pounds ground lamb
1/2 Cup crumbled feta cheese
1/2 cup finely chopped pitted Kalamata olives, 12 to 15
6 small pita loaves
2 small vine-ripened tomatoes, sliced
2 small green bell peppers, cut in rings
1 red onion, sliced thin

Directions to make Saucy Greek Burgers

Step 1:Make yogurt sauce: Mince and mash the garlic with the salt. Drain yogurt in a sieve lined with a dampened paper towel set over a bowl 30 minutes. Transfer to a small bowl and combine with the garlic and mint.

Step 2:Prepare grill and oil rack. Set grill 5-6 inches from coals. In a bowl gently combine the lamb,feta and olives. Form into 6 patties about 1” thick. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Grill for about 7 minutes per side for medium-rare.

Step 3:Split pitas form a pocket.Transfer burgers to pita pockets and top with tomatoes, bell peppers and onion. Serve burgers with yogurt sauce.