I love to choose Lamb for a delicious change of pace. It is perfect for spring. Keller’s lamb is tender, flavorful, easy to prepare, and very versatile. Keller’s young, tender lamb is an excellent source of protein and necessary trace minerals such as iron and zinc. Because it is young and of excellent quality it has not built up fat in the tissues, and any outside fat is easily trimmed. When you come into Keller’s, you can choose from a wide selection of cuts, prepared fresh daily. Or if you would like to have lamb cut to your personal specifications—you need only ask! Our experienced and caring staff is happy to make special cuts and explain how to prepare any selection. I would like to share three of my favorite lamb recipes with you. They are fancy enough for special occasions, yet simple enough for a weekday dinner. (I am planning to make the Leg of Lamb for my Easter celebration with my family this year.)
Leg of Lamb with Garlic, Potatoes, and Onions
1 Leg of Lamb
4 Medium Cloves Garlic
6 Tablespoons Butter or Margarine
½ Teaspoon Dried Thyme
2.5 Pounds White Potatoes
2 Tablespoons Oil
2 Large Onions Thinly Sliced
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Cut 2 of the garlic cloves in thin slices lengthwise, then in slivers. Make slits in the lamb about 1 inch deep, spacing them fairly even. Insert garlic slivers in slits. Chop the remaining 2 cloves of garlic. Mix with butter, thyme, and salt and pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature. Peel the potatoes, halve them lengthwise, and cut each in crosswise slices about ¼ inch thick. Set lamb on a rack in a large heavy roasting pan. Spoon oil over lamb and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 15 minutes. Reduce oven heat to 350 degrees and roast, basting lamb occasionally with juices, for 20 minutes. Remove lamb and rack from pan. Put potato and onion slices in lamb juices in pan and mix well. Scatter garlic and butter mixture over potatoes. Replace lamb on rack in pan over vegetables. Continue roasting, stirring vegetables until lamb is done. To check, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of lamb. Lamb is rare at 135 degrees, medium rare at 145 degrees, medium at 150 degrees and well done at 160 degrees. Transfer lamb to carving board, cover loosely with foil, and let stand 10 minutes before carving. Bake vegetables until tender to taste.
Roast Leg of Lamb, Lamb Shoulder, Rack of Lamb, or Lamb Breast
Rub Lamb with 2 Tablespoons of oil and season with desired spices. I love to use Keller’s Spring Lamb Rub. It is my absolute favorite. Another suggestion is 1 Teaspoon Salt, ½ Teaspoon Rosemary, ½ Teaspoon Black Pepper, ¼ Teaspoon Oregano, ¼ Teaspoon Basil, ¼ Teaspoon Paprika. Lamb’s flavor stands up well to exotic seasonings, garlic, mustard, rosemary, thyme, oregano, savory, fennel, paprika, or pepper.
You can season the lamb before, during or after roasting (salt only goes into the roast ¼-1/2 inch). For a quick seasoning, 4 or 5 small slits can be cut in meat with tip of sharp knife and slivers of garlic inserted- be sure to remove garlic before serving. Place meat fat side up on rack in open shallow roasting pan. The rack keeps the meat out of the dripping. (In roasts, such as rib roast (rack), the ribs form a natural rack.) It is not necessary to baste; with the fat on top the meat does its own basting. Insert meat thermometer so the tip is in the center of the thickest part of the meat and does not touch bone or rest in the fat. Do not add water and do not cover. Roast the meat at 300 degrees. It is not necessary to preheat the oven. Use a meat thermometer to check for desired doneness. Lamb is rare at 135 degrees, medium rare at 145 degrees, medium at 150 degrees and well done at 160 degrees. Roasts are easier to carve if allowed to set 15-20 minutes after removing from the oven. Since meat continues to cook after removal from the oven, if roast is to “set”, it should be removed from the oven when thermometer registers 5 degrees lower than the desired doneness. If desired you can use a cooking bag. This allows the lamb to cook more quickly and keeps the lamb moist and tender.
Rack of Lamb with Mint Béarnaise Sauce
4 Racks of Lamb
2 Tablespoons Dijon-Style Mustard
1 Tablespoon Oil
Spread mustard over both sides of meat, brush with oil. Place meat in baking dish, bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes and serve with Mint Béarnaise
1/3 Cup White Vinegar
1 Green Onion
6 Black Peppercorns
4 Egg Yolks
1 Cup (2 sticks) Butter
½ Cup Firmly Packed Mint Leaves
Place vinegar, chopped green onion, and peppercorns in a pan, bring to a boil. Boil rapidly until volume is reduced by half. Strain liquid into top of double boiler. Add egg yolks. Beat over simmering water 1 minute. Add cooled melted butter gradually, continue beating until thickened. Remove from heat, place in blender with mint leaves. Blend 30 seconds.
No matter what cut or recipe you choose lamb is the perfect way to make your Spring Holiday special. Do you have a favorite lamb recipe? Comment below and tell me about it.