Easter lamb dinners are traditional for Palm Sunday. Many Easter Sunday meals can include the lamb roast, chops or shank recipes. A favorite in Europe, lamb is savored for its delicate flavor and killer nutrition. The traditional lamb meal has crossed over into many current American menus. If you are lucky to have good spring lamb supplied locally, we suggest taking advantage of lamb that is grass fed and raised naturally for scrumptious flavor
When choosing your lamb, pink color is a good indicator of age. The lighter the color, the younger the meat. Baby spring lamb should be pale pink. Regular lamb is pinkish-red. Best tip; do not overcook that beautiful tender lamb. Cook lamb to a rosy-pink, medium-rare for full flavor and tenderness.
For a quick lamb chop recipe marinate in a white wine (a pinot grigio works well) with rosemary, sage and a touch of lemon zest. Remove chops from marinade and braise in extra virgin olive oil (evoo) and a bit more white wine until medium rare. Chops are best sauteed hot on the stovetop or broiled. Chops cook very quickly, usually less than 10 minutes!
Leg of lamb or lamb shanks are best braised with veggies or roasted in the oven. Create a rub for the meat of garlic, rosemary, sage or thyme, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Some folks like a bit of light mustard in their rub. Allow the meat to soak in the rub for 24 hours. To roast the shank place in roaster pan and cook uncovered at 350 until the meat thermometer reads 130 degrees (for medium rare). To braise, place the shank in a glass pan, surround it with onion, celery and carrot. Pour enough stock (or a mix of stock and wine) to cover the veggies and braise covered. Again the meat thermometer will be your friend to prevent overcooking. Four shanks will take about 1.5 hours at 350. People tend to over cook lamb which detracts from its natural flavor. Lamb cooked past medium will be tough, dry and chewy; think pink!.
Side lamb with asparagus, mashed cauliflower or a green bean almondine to maximize the herb flavor. Some folks like to serve lamb with a mint or jalapeno jelly.
Color is a good indicator of age in lamb. The lighter the color, the younger the meat. Baby lamb should be pale pink. Regular lamb is pinkish-red. Best tip; do not overcook that beautiful tender lamb. Cook it to a rosy-pink, medium-rare for full flavor and tenderness. Here in Utah we are fortunate to have an excellent quality local lamb available. Grass fed and unadulterated by hormones, we can attest this is a great locavore product.
Nutritionally lamb is a total winner. Low in fat (all types) and high in protein. Lamb packs a good variety of vitamins and minerals. Lamb is a good source of absorb-able calcium and potassium. Other benefits include, iron, zinc,riboflavin, vitamins B6 and B12. With 3oz containing containing a whopping 43% protein and only 7% calories, lamb is really a dieters dream.