Tag Archives: lamb

Jamie Oliver and the Slaughter of the Lamb

World reknown Television food chef Jamie Oliver has found himself in a bit of hot water after slaughtering a lamb on a recent show of his.

Advocates for Animals, said Oliver should be “thoroughly ashamed” because the lamb was fully concious when it was slaughtered. But People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals have come down on Mr. Oliver’s side…sorta. They said “In slaughterhouses, the stun gun often misses the mark and animals remain concious. Showing this scene can hit home the message of cruelty.”

The press in Britain has been having a less restrained response, with editorials peppering the papers, mostly against The Naked Chef’s choice, adding that the slaughter should not have been on the television at a time when children could watch it.

Personally, I think it’s important for everyone, not just adults, to understand where their food comes from. Killing animals happens to be part of the process. The further away a person gets away from that fact, the less they understand food. Should a child watch it? That’s up for the parents to decide.

As for the humane treatment of the lamb? Do they think that the slaughter of animals is in any way a wonder to behold? Regardless of the method of the slaughter, it’s still a violent act, not one pleasant to behold.

Technorati Tags: Food & Drink, Food,Jamie Oliver,

Roast Lamb with Apples

This was so good, and came out near perfect. Granted the lamb is roughly 15 dollars a pound. If you’ve got the money, this makes the perfect Sunday dinner.

  • 2 lbs boneless loin of lamb
  • 1/2 lemon juice
  • 1 large apple, sliced (should be tart, but other than that whatever apple you like)
  • 8 prunes, halved and pitted
  • 1 Tablespoon sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon dried ginger
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons pepper
  • 2 cups apple cider

Pre-heat oven to 375° F.

Rub lemon juice on all sides of the lamb. Place slices of apples and prunes on the meat, sprinkle with sugar. Roll the meat up carefully and tie off with Butcher’s twine.

Slice one half-inch cut into each side of lamb. Insert a garlic clove into each cut.

In a small dish, combine ginger, salt and pepper. Set aside. Heat apple cider in sauce pan.

Oil the lamb, and then dust with ginger/salt/pepper mix. Place lamb in roasting pan. Place pan in oven and baste with heated cider, and repeat basting every 15 minutes. After an hour, remove lamb from oven and allow to set for 5 minutes.

Carve and serve.

Serves 6

North African Style Braised Lamb Chops

It’s not enough that I have to pack for a brief sojourn to our neighbours up north. Oh no. I have to make and post a recipe as well. And do laundry. Call me multi-talented. This recipe has been adapted from How to Cook Meat by Christopher Schlesinger and John Willoughby. They initially had the recipe serve six, and they used lamb shanks to boot, but I didn’t have 6 friends who wanted to eat lamb tonight, and the supermarket was fresh outa shank.

I improvised…sue me.

Here’s what you need

  • 1 1/2 lbs of lamb chops, preferably from the shoulder area.
  • Kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 sweet onion, peeled, halved and sliced
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 stalk of celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup of dry white wine
  • 1 cup of chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons of dried thyme
  • 1/2 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • 1 lemon, peeled and segmented
  • 1 large tomato, thickly diced
  • 1/2 cup green olives in brine. Rinsed, pitted and halfed
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Dry the lamb with paper towels and sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In a 5 inch deep dutch oven, heat the olive oil on medium high heat. Add the lamb chopsto sear on both sides, about 3 minutes apiece. Once browned, transfer chops to a platter for use later.

Pour off any fat or add oil so there’s two tablespoons in the pan. Add the onions and cook until they are just translucent, about 7-9 minutes. Add the garlic and celery and cook for another five minutes, stirring occaisionally. Add the wine and stock and bring to a simmer, scraping any remaining browned bits from the lamb into the broth.

Add the chops, along with 1 Tablespoon of the thyme, bay leaf, and clove. Salt and pepper again to taste. Once the broth returns to a simmer, remove from the stove top, cover with a lid and place in the oven for apporoximately 1 hour.

When the chops are done, place on a platter and cover with foil. Skim the fat from the braising liquid and reduce until it is slightly thickened. Season with more salt and pepper and strain into a new clean pot. Add the lamb chops, lemon segments, tomatoes and olives, and cook for five minutes. Remove from heat and add remaining thyme and parsley. Serve over your favorite starch, rice and/or couscous preferably.

Serves 2

Mary had a little lamb…

Lamb Cutting
…braised in a red wine sauce, with a side of ginger chutney. Yum.

Just what the hell is lamb anyway? Well, it’s not mutton. Rather, it’s mutton in training. Mutton is technically sheep, sort of making it the veal of sheep.

As silly as this sounds, there is actual debate on what defines a “lamb”. For some, a lamb is only the spawn of a sheep that is still taking nutrients from it’s mother’s milks. But considering many lambs nowadays are still suckling at their mother’s teats long after they’ve graduated from college, some in the meat world (mostly biologists and the lamb’s father) think this definition is outdated. They think that lambs should be defined by when they get its first pair of permanant teeth.

The culinary world recognizes two types of lamb. There is the sucking lamb, named after the aforementioned child who still likes mommy’s milk, and then the weaned lamb. The weaned lamb is between ages 4 months to 1 year, and takes it nutrients from other sources, most often grass and other similar vegetation.

After one year, lambs are considered “hoggs” or “hoggetts” (depending on gender) and their meat has to count as mutton. If a sheep makes it to its one year birthday chances are good it’ll be around for a while longer, as proper mutton only develops it’s flavor as the sheep gets older and older.

The French, choosing to be even more difficult, have another type of lamb, called pré-salé, meaning that the lamb has been fed on the grass of the salt marshes ever so popular in France.

As mentioned perviously, we in the west haven’t taken to lamb, for whatever reason. It’s not just Americans, as the the Western Europeans also don’t take to lamb as the do beef. Which is odd, as being a fatty red meat, it”s perfect for tocks and soups, as well as any dishes which rely on a sauce.

As it’s a fatty meat, it’s best with a sharp ‘acid’ ingredient to cut through it, either vinegar or wine based, although one could perhaps use mint if one were so inclined.

So what is what on a lamb? refer to the crappy graphic that I lifted from another location…

  1. Neck
  2. Rib
  3. Loin
  4. Sirloin
  5. leg
  6. Breast
  7. Foreshank
  8. Shoulder

Most people get the rack of lamb, which is the ribs and find it quite tender and tasty. The loin is another tender cut, while the shoulder (or chuck) is less tender (making it perfect for roasting), but still quite flavorful. The leg of lamb is an oddity however, in that it is quite tender (which is the opposite of beef, where the leg can be quite tough).

Buying sheep isn’t the issue it is with beef, at least here in America. Although there are Prime, Choice, and Select as grades, the differences are so minute, that it essentially makes them worthless.

There are two things you should keep in mind however:

  1. If you want the deep gamey taste of lamb, buy organic, grass-fed lamb. Grain fed lamb leads to less gamey taste and most American Lamb (80%) is raised this way.
  2. American raised lamb are more fatty than imported lamb, but provide larger pieces of meat. This is simply due to the breeds of sheep throughout the world, and no other reason.

This gives us a good start on what lamb is and isn’t. Hoepfully I’ll be able to conjure up a few good meals involving lamb over the next couple o’ weeks.

Wither sheep?!?

We here in the America love our beef (sounds a bit dirty, don’t it?). So much so, that it pushes most other red meat way, way to the background. And that’s a shame, as lam and goat are just as tasty, if not moreso in some instances.

Mostly we are a beef eating society because we have wide open spaces within our country that allows us to feed the cattle behemoths (In fact, I recommend annexing the entire state of Texas for cattle grazing. It would be good for agri-business and prevent me from ever having to visit Dallas ever again). Sheep however (from which lambs come from), can thrive most anywhere, including countries that have limited space…like Greece, New Zealand, and the Falkland Islands.

It’s easy to see why humans domesticated sheep prior to cattle. Sheep, being naturally inclined to herd together, were probably standing around one day in central Asia the Greek Isles, eating grass and wondering what those on the other side of the flock were doing, when man came across them in their search for food and said “Hey look! Wild sheep! get the hell out of my way! I’m looking for food here!” When the ferocious, feral sheep moved in the way that the human suggested, a light bulb (or perhaps a small torch) went off in the human’s head.

“Heeeey. These animals will do what I ask them to!” And with that, the first shepard was created.

When he guided the sheep to the village, the rest of his clan gathered around him and said “We thought you were looking for food. Why did you bring back all of these walking cotton bushes?”

But the shepard was smart. He pulled out his trusted wooden sword and cut a swath of wool from the sheep, exposing the flesh of the animal.

“I’m just betting”, he said matter of factly “that this animal will go good with a nice curry, or perhaps a bit of mint jelly”.

“Curry? Mint Jelly? What the heck are you talking about? This is 9000BC, and We don’t even know what the BC stands for!”

The shepard responded slyly…”That’s okay. I’ve got plans.”

“Listen here you sheep!” shouted the shepard turning around and facing his charges. “I want you to go into those pens so we can shave you for your wool and then kill you for your meat.”

The sheep looked at the newly created shepard and then at the pen. They blinked their eyes and paused for a second. They then shuffled, en masse, into the pen…because they aren’t the brightest of creatures.

But they do taste good in curry or with a little mint jelly.