For a traditional Easter meal, special dinner party or to liven up the usual backyard barbecue, learning how to cook lamb expands your menu choices throughout the year.
Not everyone likes lamb, but people who do love
it. It has a very distinct flavor that people either like or don’t. For those who like it, it's an amazing treat and a great addition to your cooking repertoire.
There are several ways to cook lamb, none of which should be out of the ordinary for those used to roasting and grilling.
If you’re not sure if you like lamb or not, cooking up a couple of simple chops is a great way to try this meat without costing a lot. Lamb chops
cook up quickly when pan-fried. Start with 1 tbsp. of olive oil and a little salt, pepper and fresh rosemary. Heat the oil until it slides easily in the pan and add the chops, turning the heat down just a little once you’ve added the meat. Cook the chops for three to five minutes on each side and serve immediately.
Another quick and simple way to cook lamb is to skewer five or six thick chunks of lamb stew meat and get it ready for the barbecue. Lamb kabobs
are often served in Middle Eastern restaurants and you can get the same type of flavoring by rubbing the meat with a little curry or cumin, olive oil and minced garlic. Grill for about five minutes and serve over a bed of basmati rice.
Rack of Lamb
One of the fancier ways of serving lamb, this is actually several lamb chops served whole, allowing the server to slice off a chop at the table for the guests. You can ask the butcher to cut a rack of lamb in the “frenching” style to get that nice, fancy appearance with the cleaned bones rising out of the meat.
To cook rack of lamb, rub olive oil, fresh minced garlic, rosemary, salt and pepper on the meat. You can also add a little spicy mustard to the mix if preferred. Place the lamb on a roasting pan, and set it, uncovered, in a preheated 400 degree Fahrenheit oven. Cook for about 25 minutes – a little more if you like your meat cooked to medium – and serve immediately.
Leg of Lamb
Another popular cut, particularly for large dinners, leg of lamb
presents very elegantly at the table and leaves plenty of leftovers for later meals. Like for the rack of lamb, create a rub with fresh herbs and olive oil, adding balsamic vinegar for a bit of tang and rub it generously on the roast. Other herbs and flavors that go well with lamb include mint, basil, thyme and clove. This is a very flavorful meat, so it’s best not to use too much of the stronger herbs, such as rosemary or clove, that also carry a prevalent flavor.
Heat your oven to 450 degrees F and place the leg of lamb in a roasting pan, preferably one with a rack so the meat doesn’t rest in the juices while it’s cooking. Roast it for 20 minutes and then turn the heat down to 350 degrees F for the remainder of the cooking time. A boneless leg of lamb will take about 20 minutes per pound to cook to medium-rare, while a bone-in cut takes about 12 minutes per pound. Always remember to let the lamb rest for about 10 minutes when it comes out of the oven to allow the juices to redistribute before carving.
Lamb is delicious, flavorful and definitely worth trying at least once. What other recipes can you find on Tablespoon that go great with lamb?