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.
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.
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.
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!)
From The Complete Meat Cookbook by Bruce Aidells and Denis Kelly
A roast leg of lamb is really something special. In The Complete Meat Cookbook there are many other rubs that can be used in lieu of the Mustard Rosemary Paste. Just one more reason to get this cookbook!
Adapted from Friday Night Dinners by Bonnie Stern
I like to make these as hors d’oeuvres when I’m feeling fancy. They knock everyone’s socks off! You can also use ground beef or chicken.