How to cook and enjoy lamb
The greatest treat of the year is the first roast of Spring lamb, delicate, succulent and tender. Whatever joint you choose to cook, remember that lamb benefits from slow, even and longer cooking. Unlike beef, which may and should be served rare and underdone in the centre, lamb is perfectly cooked only when evenly browned on the surface and uniformly roasted throughout. However, this is very much a question of taste, and many prefer their lamb pink in the centre. For smaller joints allow 25 – 30 minutes 450g and 20 minutes extra. For larger joints allow 25 minutes per 450g and 20 minutes extra.
Lamb should be served as hot as possible, so take time to heat the serving platter as well as the plates.
Allow the meat on a joint of lamb to relax after cooking and to be more uniform in colour and tender, let it rest for at least 15 minutes in the oven, with the heat turned off and the door partly open.
Thanks to the tender and tasty meat, lamb has always had a reputation as a refined dish. It occupies an important place both in fine cuisine as well as in everyday cooking (there are many recipes included to illustrate this). While there may be noting like a stuffed leg of lamb to delight your dinner guests, nothing will please your children more than a nice tender lamb chop, particularly on the bone.
Lamb is particularly tender meat, and all the joints can be roasted. This is because lambs are slaughtered before their connective tissues become tough, so tissues dissolve easily in the meat’s natural moisture during cooking. Cuts such as chops and cutlets from the neck are also suitable for grilling or frying. Other neck cuts are ideal for casseroles, stews, and pies. Lamb should be roasted at no higher than 350°F (180°C / gas mark 4) or it will gets tough and smells and tastes strong.
At Fieldstown Farm, we aim to produce lamb so that it is available to you, the customer, for most of the year. Over the last decade, the fat in lamb has been greatly reduced because of improved breeding, and high quality butchering methods. Farm fresh lamb is available for you to buy direct from the farm.
How to select cuts of lamb
Lamb meat, being from a young animal, should have white fat and pink meat. Yellow fat and red meat indicates that it is an older and tougher lamb. We will never sell you an old lamb. That is why our lambs are only available for sale from May to January.
Many people do not know what to look for when buying cuts of lamb, or how to cook it properly. At Fieldstown Farm, we want you to get the most out of your purchase of lamb. That is why we will never sell a ram lamb over 6 months old. Ram lamb over this age can smell and taste strong. That is also why we took the time to produce these many lamb recipes and this guide of how to choose lamb cuts, store lamb, and cook lamb.
When you buy boxed lamb direct from Fieldstown Farm, we ensure that the lamb is locally slaughtered, travelling no more than 35 minutes. The lamb is hung for a minimum of 10 days, ensuring that it has the best possible flavour. In addition, you choose the the cuts of meat. You have the following choices for cuts of meat:
- Legs of lamb (choice of fillet and shank, or whole legs, or butterfly leg).
- Centre loin chops.
- Rack of lamb (whole racks, or cutlets)
- Forequarter (shoulder, or boned and rolled shoulder, or gigot chops)
- If you want, you can even choose to have the heart, liver, kidney, or lap of lamb.
How to store your lamb
Depending on the cut, lamb will keep for 2 to 4 days in the coldest part of your refrigerator. If you buy a whole lamb, or half a lamb from Fieldstown Farm, you will need a reasonable amount of freezer space. You can store lamb in your freezer at -8°C (18°F). A cut of lamb will keep for 6 to 9 months – ensuring that you can always have something on hand to prepare for that impromptu meal.
You should keep minced lamb for no more that 4 months in your freezer. Store all cuts of lamb in tightly closed freezer bags.
Always label and date your food for freezing and use your oldest pieces first.
How to thaw lamb
To defrost a 1.8kg joint of lamb, you should allow 12 hours to defrost in your fridge overnight. You can defrost it in the microwave, but make sure it is defrosted right through.
Lamb is an excellent source of high quality protein. As a result of improved breeding, and high quality butchering methods lamb fat has been greatly reduced in the past two decades.
Lamb is an ideal source of iron. An average portion can provide 20% of the recommended daily intake for men and 12% for women (women need more iron than men). Iron found in lamb is in a form that is easily absorbed by the body. Iron in the diet is vital for the formation of red blood cells.
Lamb can provide 45% of the daily requirement of zinc, essential for growth, healing, and a healthy immune system. Like iron, the zinc found in lamb is more readily absorbed by the body than zinc found in other sources.
Lamb is a great source of B vitamins, essential for metabolic reactions in the body. It can provide over 100% of the daily requirement of B12 and is a good source of thiamine.
Lamb also contains trace elements such as copper, manganese and selenium.
Half the fat in lamb is unsaturated, which is good for you. Most of the unsaturated fat is monounsaturated, commonly found in the healthy ‘Mediterranean-type diet’.