Category Archives: Lamb
Lamb is one of those meats that you either love it, or you hate it. Folks that don’t like it usually suggest that the meat is too gamey for their taste. This can be true in some cases, but not all. Read the rest of this entry
I have had my problems cooking lamb racks in the past. They turned out either too rare, or overcooked. Then, finally after a lot of trial and error my last 3 attempts at cooking lamb rack were very successful. I got the result I wanted; perfectly cooked juicy medium-rare rib chops and a nicely seared crust. One of the keys to success was using a cooking thermometer the last few times to keep tabs on the doneness of the meat (I hardly ever use one). My target temperature was 135 degrees Fahrenheit, and using a thermometer helped me achieve the perfect results. Here is my recipe for a perfectly cooked rack of lamb, enjoy! Read the rest of this entry
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground cloves
1 pound of the meatiest lamb breast you can find.
5 tablespoons honey, divided
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp canola oil
1 small onion sliced thinly
Preheat the oven to 300°F. In a large Ziploc bag, shake together the pepper, cinnamon, nutmeg, garlic powder, and clove. Add the ribs to the bag, and shake to coat. Marinate in the fridge for 6-8 hours or overnight. In a small pot, heat 3 tablespoons honey with the vinegar and oil, until the consistency is runny. Line a baking pan well with foil. In a large bowl, toss the ribs with salt, sliced onion, and the honey mixture. Arrange the ribs in a single layer on the baking sheet, and cover tightly with foil. Bake for 2 hours, turning twice during cooking. After 2 hours, take off the foil, and bake an additional 30 minutes until nice and browned. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons honey in a small pot until runny. Brush the finished ribs with the hot honey, and serve. Bon Appetit!
While in the market last week I came across an interesting cut of meat, lamb necks. Now I know every part of the animal is used in the food world, but this was new to me. I decided to challenge myself and cook this part of the lamb, so I grabbed a couple of packages of it. Also it didn’t hurt that this cut of meat was quite inexpensive. This is not uncommon with unusual cuts of meat such as necks, shanks, liver, and tongue; all are usually cheaper. With cheaper prices comes the challenge of cooking these items properly because the meat is usually tougher.
The great thing about this meal is that you can turn $10 ingredients into a restaurant quality meal! I decided to cook the neck the same way I would prepare shanks. The dish I decided on had a Middle Eastern flair with spices such as cumin, coriander, and turmeric. Since I’m a fan of the bold flavors from the Middle East. I then paired it with a bright saffron cous cous cooked with golden raisins. The verdict = Thumbs up! You should try this recipe at home and tell me: Should I pay for this in a restaurant or cook it myself? Bon appetit!
1 tbsp olive oil
2 pounds of lamb necks
1 onion, halved, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tbsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp turmeric
3 cups chicken stock
1 can diced tomatoes
fresh coriander leaves, to serve
greek-style yogurt, to serve
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper
First season the lamb necks with the salt & pepper. Heat the oil in a stockpot over medium-high heat. Add the lamb necks and cook, turning, for 5-7 minutes or until brown. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion and garlic to the pan and cook, stirring, for 4-5 minutes or until soft. Add the cumin, ground coriander, cinnamon and turmeric and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds or until aromatic.
Return the lamb necks to the pan with the stock and tomato. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 1:30 – 2 hours. Uncover and cook, stirring, for 30 minutes or until the lamb is tender. Transfer the lamb necks to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm. Increase heat to high and bring the stock mixture to a boil. Boil, uncovered, for 10-15 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Skim any fat off the top and discard. Plate the lamb with the cous cous and drizzle with the pan sauce. Serve with Greek style yogurt and garnish with Coriander or parsley leaves.
Saffron Cous Cous
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon crushed saffron threads
1 medium onion, sliced into crescents
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chicken stock (you can use reduced sodium if you prefer)
One 10-oz. box couscous (1 1/2 cups)
1/3 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a medium frying pan (with sides at least 2 in. high) over medium heat, melt butter. Add saffron and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add onion and salt and cook for 3 minutes. Add the raisins and cook, stirring often, until onions are translucent, about 7-8 minutes.
Add chicken stock and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Add couscous, stir, cover, and remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes.
Fluff couscous with a fork, then gently stir. Garnish with parsley or coriander leaves and serve.
Ok home cooks & foodies, we will prepare a classic Greek dish. I love Greek food, and a couple of my favorite meals to eat on the go are a Greek Gyro and Soulvaki. These quick meals are pretty popular here in NYC and we have food carts all over the place selling these treats. But enter one of New York’s Greek restaurants and you will encounter a variety of very good dishes from Greece such as Αρνι με Πατατες στο Φουρνο (roast lamb with potatoes); απάκι, which is a famous Cretan specialty of lean pork marinated in vinegar, then smoked with aromatic herbs and shrubs, and packed in salt; Χταποδι στη σχαρα (grilled octopus in vinegar, oil and oregano); and the dish I will prepare tonight: μουσακάς 0r moussaka.
I must admit that prior to this experiment I had never tasted this dish. But after talking to my friend Rena, who lives in Athens, Greece, and she has a website called “Cooking in Plain Greek” (which I love), she gave me the all the motivation I needed. We will use the recipe from her site for this classic Greek dish. The first thing I noticed is that this dish is prepared similar to lasagna but the flavors are different. Instead of using pasta for layers, you use long eggplant slices, and I used ground lamb instead of beef. Another thing that makes it different than lasagna is the spice mix. This dish contains nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice, which is unheard of when making Italian lasagna. You also must make a Greek bechamel sauce to top the dish with before baking, which consists of milk, flour, butter, and kefalotyri cheese. Unfortunately, I could not find this specialty hard cheese, but Rena gives us a pass and recommends parmesan for those of us outside of Greece :). If you haven’t tried cooking Greek food, head over to http://cookinginplaingreek.com/traditional-moussaka-recipe/ and try your hand at this dish. Bon Appetit!