Recipes

 

Lamb Shoulder Recipes

One of the greatest injustices in the meat world is that lambs only have 2 shoulders. And yet there are so many amazing lamb shoulder recipes!  Braised shoulders, slow-roasted shoulders, and of course you can always cut the shoulder into stew-sized chunks and use in stews and many Middle Eastern and Indian dishes. If you prepare a lamb shoulder using a recipe that doesn’t make you weak in the knees, you need a new recipe.

One amazing lamb shoulder recipe is Jamie Oliver’s Incredible Roasted Shoulder of Lamb with Smashed Vegetables and Greens.   The sauce uses fresh mint, which pairs beautifully with lamb, but I rarely see it in forms other than jelly, which doesn’t excite me.

Another good one is the Rosemary and Thyme Braised Lamb Shoulder .

Finally, if I haven’t yet convinced you that you need to buy The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, there are two insanely good recipes for lamb shoulder in there:  the Basque Sheepherders Lamb Stew and Lamb Braised with Fresh Coriander and Fenugreek.

Slow-Cooked Grassfed Lamb Ribs

Also known as breast of lamb,  this is a cut you don’t see very often, but they are undergoing a renaissance as people start to remember how delicious they are!  A few years ago I had a hard time finding recipes online, but that is starting to change. Unfortunately I can’t remember the source for this recipe, but it’s very good.  If you want more ideas I recommend googling ‘slow cooked lamb ribs’ for good results. Whatever recipe you go with, be sure it involves slow cooking to allow the fat to melt away from the meat.  Any recipe that works for lamb shanks will work beautifully for lamb ribs. This recipe makes enough for 4 lbs of lamb ribs, so if you have a whole lamb, you should use them all.  You can cut it in half if you have less, or follow the recipe as is….you’ll just have extra sauce.

Lamb Chops and Leg of Lamb Primer

It’s a tough call, but I’m pretty sure that of all the cuts of all the meats we produce, lamb chops are my favourite.  I have brought tears to peoples’ eyes upon serving them perfectly seasoned and grilled lamb chops.  Plus that beautiful rind of grassfed fat which you can enjoy knowing all the benefits grassfed fats have to offer is irresistable.

I like to make a salty paste of garlic, rosemary and/or thyme, olive oil, salt and pepper, and usually a bit of lemon peel or lemon juice and coat my lamb chops in before cooking.

Here’s a combination that can also be rubbed on a leg of lamb, which is one of the most impressive roasts you can serve.  Feel free to play around with the proportions and ingredients.

Pork Chop Basics – Brining and Cooking indoors

Brining pork chops is a great way to ensure your chops are tender, very juicy, and full of flavour.  In this recipe, I explain how you can cook your chops inside, but you can also grill them as we do here.   This brine makes enough for 6 chops.

Pork Chop Basics – Herb Rub

Thick, pastured pork chops are a thing of beauty.  Unfortunately many of us were raised on overcooked pork chops as a preventive measure against trichinosis.  The good news is that cases of trichinosis have all but disappeared, and the trichinae are killed at 137˚F, so if you cook your pork to 148˚F, you are guaranteeing safety from pathogens and ensuring your pork will be juicy. We like to rub our chops with an herb or spice rub, like the one below and then grill them, but brining, as well as pan-frying will also yield delicious results, and you can learn those techniques here.  This herb rub is found in The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly, and they provide several other rub and brine recipes in their book as well.

Green Lentil and Bacon Salad

from Bon Appetit, May 2001

Yes, a “salad” made with ham and bacon!  But lots of parsley and plump little lentils add balance, resulting in a very tasty, substantial dish. This recipe sounds a whole lot more delicious in french: “Salade de Lentilles Vertes au Lardons”, but it is fantastic no matter what you call it.

Red Wine Braised Short Ribs

Probably any recipe for short ribs that involves braising will yield succulent, fall-apart-on-your-fork tenderness and be worth trying.  Braising is essentially slow cooking in liquid, and works wonders on tougher cuts like ribs and shoulders.  Another indicator that a braising recipe will be good is if it tells you to brown the meat first.  Also, if it includes red wine you can almost never go wrong!  This is a classic example of a perfect short-rib recipe that would also work well with lamb shanks, lamb ribs or even pork ribs.  It comes from Epicurious, probably my favourite online source for recipes.  Here it is:  http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/red-wine-braised-shortribs-367736 .  Note:  if you are not making your own beef stock, see if you can find some from Stock Exchange.  They make very high quality broths from bones coming from ecologically and locally raised animals (including ours!)

Steak Fajitas

Just because you have a steak doesn’t mean you have to have it straight-up!  I love turning my steaks into fajitas…a little goes a long way.  Skirt steaks and hanger steaks are traditionally used because they are thin and need a marinade to tenderize them, but I will also happily use a sirloin.  This particular marinade comes from Good Eats, and if you want to follow the full recipe using a grill, you can find it here: http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/2013/06/grilled-skirt-steak-fajitas-food-lab-recipe.html .  I will often make fajitas on the stovetop when I’m looking to make something quick and easy.   If you don’t have enough limes for this recipe, don’t despair, there are lots of recipes on the internet that use less lime juice, and if you’re using a smallish steak, you can easily halve this recipe.

Heavenly Green Stew

This is SO good, and is a nice departure from your typical beef stew.  It’s Indian cuisine, and I love how much spinach goes into the sauce, and how creamy it all seems, even though there is only yogourt being used.  This recipe comes from Pure Beef, a very comprehensive cookbook by Lynne Curry, with the subtitle “An Essential Guide to Artisan Meat with Recipes for Every Cut”.

Worcestershire Marinade for Steak

This marinade comes from Bonnie Stern’s “Friday Night Dinners” where she uses it on Hanger steaks, which benefit from the tenderizing action of a marinade.  I find that this marinade is excellent for any steak at all, whether they need it or not!  It just complements the flavour of the beef so perfectly.  I have included directions on grilling and cooking steaks indoors.