Whether roasted, broiled or in a stew, lamb hints of springtime. Lamb plays a large role in the upcoming holidays of Passover and Easter, and is a key component in foods from the Meditteranean region and the Middle East.
Lamb has a very distinct flavor that is very savory and resembles wild game. The meat tends not to be very fat, but is still quite tender owing to the young age of the animal.
Most lamb that is available in the grocery store was raised in New Zealand, a country that dominates the global market for both lamb and wool. However, there are several sheep farms in the Indianapolis area, and many of these sell meat on farm or at winter farmers' markets.
Lamb marries very well with a number of herbs; the one that is most closely linked to it is spearmint. Generally, mint jelly is used as a glaze, or fresh mint is added to the marinade in which the lamb is soaked. However, fresh mint isn't readily available to most Hoosiers. Not to worry - lamb also tastes wonderful when seasoned with rosemary, lemon-pepper, garlic or topped with a chutney.
The easiest lamb cut to prepare are the chops. Choose between the loin or the shoulder chop, and then grill or broil 4" from the heat source until the chops are browned through. This generally takes only 20 minutes to 40 minutes; the shoulder chops are thinner and require less time. Allow one shoulder chop or 2-3 loin chops per person. Prior to grilling or broiling, season with the following mixtures:
1) create a light sauce of kosher salt, lemon juice, black pepper and olive oil; baste prior to broiling and after removing from heat, while meat is resting.
2) baste with garlic-infused olive oil; season with salt and pepper after broiling.
3) Simmer 1 tsp. dried rosemary in 1/4 c. red wine vinegar; allow to cool, and then mix in 1/2 c. olive oil. Marinate chops in this mixture in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (overnight for greater flavor) prior to broiling.
4) Top grilled meat with your favorite chutney - mango for a Caribbean flavor, tomato for a Meditteranean or Indian flair.
Wednesday: Using ground or cubed lamb