Archived entries for lamb/goat

Lazy Lamb Kabob

My 5 week long hiatus in the kitchen has finally come to an end.  Sort of.  I mean, if you consider grilling pre-made frozen meat patties, cooking.  Since I’ve been off my game for so long, I’ll say it does!  This week, I took some frozen lamb patties out of the freezer and grilled them up for a quick lamb kabob dinner.  It was delicious and quick, so I’d say it fits with my websites mission.  The original recipe has you mixing the kabob patties and chilling them for an hour to marinate.  I mixed it together and froze them, so they had a few weeks to stew in their spice juices.  The result was hot and tasty.  Here’s the scoop.

Lazy Man’s Lamb Kabob

  • 1 lb. Ground lamb
  • ½ medium onion
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1-2 jalapeno peppers
  • ¼ c. finely chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 T. fresh ginger
  • 2 tsp. coriander, ground or freshly crushed
  • ½ tsp. cayenne pepper
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tsp salt

In a food processor, pulse garlic and ginger until finely minced.  Add onions, jalapeno and cilantro, and pulse until well chopped and mixed.  (If you don’t have a food processor, just mince/chop all ingredients by hand- with a knife, dummy!)

In a bowl, mix onion mixture with spices and ground lamb.  Kneed and squeeze ingredients until well mixed.

Form mixture into 4-5 patties, about 5 inches long and ¾ inch thick.

Wrap each patty individually in plastic wrap and then put in a ziplock bag and freeze for up to 6 months.

When ready to cook, oil the grill grate over hot coals, or heat a cast iron skillet/grill over medium high burner. Arrange the patties on the hot grate and gill, turning with a spatula, until nicely browned on both sides and cooked to taste 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium.

Serve with Tzatziki sauce, fresh tomatoes and pita.

Questions From the Readers: Where Do You Get Your Lamb?

Since re-posting my lamb chili recipe, a lot of readers have been asking me where I get my lamb from. Well for Chicago readers, I get my lamb from Al Khayyam, the Lebanese market on Kedzie and Lawrence. I was able to get a lamb shoulder for $2.69 a lb! Of course, this includes the bones, but you can ask the butcher to grind the meat for you fresh and cut the bones up so you can use them to make soup.

Last year, I wrote a post pimping Al Khayyam, but to reiterate, I love this store! Its a great place to get exotic spices, delicious middle eastern yogurt, fresh baked pita (daily) for only $1, homemade baklava and of course, cheap lamb.

So what if you don’t live in Chicago or don’t want to go across town to this market? Here’s some tips to help you find good quality lamb in your area.

Tips for finding good quality lamb.

  • Avoid prepacked ground lamb at grocery stores. They usually sell ground lamb at most general grocery stores. However, its usually frozen, not fresh, and not of the best quality. It works for a last minute resort, but try to find something better.
  • Try to find a Middle Eastern ethnic market: ethnic markets of cultures which feature lamb as part of their regular diet is a great place to find cheap fresh lamb. If its part of the cultural diet, the market’s client base will demand good quality meat and know what they’re willing to pay, so you usually get the best quality for the least amount, and its usually very fresh because of a high demand. Middle eastern, Greek, South Eastern European and Northern African markets are a great place to check.
  • Ask your butcher to ground fresh meat from the bone: Leg of lamb is pretty common in general markets. Ask to find out if they can grind the meat fresh from a leg cut and how much they charge. It may be expensive, but its always good to ask and find out. Freshly ground meat will always be better quality then meat which has been ground and then frozen for a while.

Feel free to email me with any food related questions, and it may even be featured in an upcoming post!

How To Roast A Leg of Goat and Be Awesome!

Goat is a bit exotic. If you want to impress people. Exotic always works. So, roast a leg of goat and you’ll be awesome. Guaranteed. That’s a Forkable promise. You can also go off about how difficult it is to make goat and how its often tough, and then when people bite into the moist juicy meat this recipe will easily provide you, everyone’s brains will explode. Maybe that should be the title of this post: How To Make Everyone’s Brains Explode with Goat. Hmmm Anyway, onto the recipe.

If at any point during this recipe you ask Why? – here’s your answer.

Roasted Leg of Goat

  • a 4-5 lb leg of goat, bone and all
  • seeds from a large mature papaya
  • 1-2 Tbs kosher salt
  • 2-3 large onions for roasting
  • -for the marinade-

  • 20 limes, juiced
  • 1 c. rum
  • 1 c. white wine
  • 2 c. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 2-3 large beets
  • -for the dry rub

  • 2 Tbs dry ginger
  • 2 Tbs cumin
  • 1 Tbs coriander
  • 1/4 c. brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. kosher salt
  • 1 Tbs sumac
  • chopped fresh mint
  • head of garlic
  • fresh ginger knuckle- 2″ or so.

  • 1) Go out and purchase a fresh leg of young goat from your butcher.

    The night before you serve:

    2) Trim the roast. The roast may be covered by a hard white surface tissue. If so, you’ll want to trim this off. I found this to be a bit difficult, but just do your best to remove as much as possible without hacking apart the roast. Put your fingers underneath the tissue and see if you can work it away from the flesh and cut it off that way. Trim off any extra fat deposits. Reserve for later.

    3) Rub smashed seeds and salt on the leg to prepare it for the marinade. Take your papaya and cut in half. Take the seeds from half the fruit and using the flat end your knife, smash them until you can see the white insides. Mix with a few tablespoons of salt and rub over your meat. Chill while you make your marinade.

    4) Assemble your marinade. Freshly squeeze your limes. Mix lime juice together with your rum, wine, olive oil and brown sugar. Place your leg roast in your roaster and pour the marinade over the leg. Wash and peel your beets, slice and place the slices in the marinade with a few slices on top of the roast.

    5) Cover the roaster with cellophane and chill overnight. Check your roast every few hours to flip over. You don’t need to get out of bed in the middle of the night. Relax. It’ll be ok, just don’t forget to flip it at least once or twice. Now, go have a drink. You need it.

    The Day You Serve:

    6) Figure out what time dinner is and schedule cooktime. Once you have dinner time scheduled, figure out the timing of your meat. It will take about 3 hours with the dry rub, 20 min. or so on the bbq and ~90 minutes in the oven. It will be fine to sit for up to an hour after removing from the oven and still be warm. You’ll want to get the dry rub on your meal about 5-6 hours before dinner time.

    7) Remove the leg from your marinade. Reserve about 4 c. of the marinade for later.

    8) Insert your lardoons. Wait, what are lardoons? Well, I can see you didn’t read my previous goat article. That’s okay. I forgive you. Lardoons are just a fancy way of referring to the fat we trimmed off earlier. Take your roast, and make a few deep incisions into the meat- an inch or so. Stuff these incisions with any trimmed fat as well as a garlic clove and a thin slice of fresh ginger each.

    9) Get your dry rub on. Mix your ingredients for the dry rub. Feel free to edit or substitute any of the seasonings on my dry rub. Its not that important, just the salt, sugar and some spice. Take the seeds from the second half of the papaya and smash them the same way you did above. Mix the seeds in with the dry ingredients. They will bind the spices together into a paste. Smear that stuff all over the meat. This is always my favorite part!! Wrap it up in cellophone and chill in the fridge.

    10) Heat up the grill. 30-45 minutes before you’re ready to start this roast off, get your grill fired up. Figure out your timing based on your grill. We have a very small smokey joe which takes forever! But you may have a fancy stainless BBQ with burners, sinks and an attached swiveling lazy boy. If so, recline back and press the fire button on your remote control.

    11) Preheat Oven. While you’re messing with the grill, have the ol’ ball and chain preheat the oven to 325. If you don’t have an ol’ ball and chain, do it yourself, dummy!

    12) Grill it! Once that fire is HOT: get that roast on there, face down first. We’re grilling it first to sear it, so only give each side about 10 minutes, more or less until the surface is blackened.

    13) Roast it! Have the roaster ready to go at the side of the grill. Fill the roaster with 2-3 large onions quartered to rest the roast on so the meat doesn’t burn to the bottom of the pan while its in the oven. Once the meat is done on the BBQ, insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat and get that pup into the oven. Keep an eye on the thermometer. Once it gets to 130 degrees, probably after 90 minutes or so, remove from the oven.

    14) Let it rest! After it comes out of the oven, tent it by taking a sheet of aluminum foil and loosely folding it over the top of the leg roast. Let it sit for about 20 minutes. While it sits, you’ll notice it will go up to about 140 degrees, which is EXACTLY what we want. Nice- medium rare!

    15) Carve it. I wish I could give you better instructions on how to carve, but I can’t. I suck at this! I’m told the only way to learn is to practice, so I’ll just have to keep at it. Its sort of depressing to make such a beautiful food item and then hack it apart, but oh well. Here’s a guide to carving a leg of lamb which may help you. I wish you luck.

    Eat it sucka! This of course is always the easiest part. Hopefully you have some people to eat it with. Make sure you tell them how long and hard you worked on this thing. Well, I hope it wasn’t actually hard, but make them think it was. Its great when people drool all over you with compliments. Suck it up. You’ve earned it. You just made a goat! Ha!

    -PS- Don’t you dare throw that bone away! Stick it in your freezer to save for stock. There’s another long hard winter in front of you and you’ll need some broth. I guarantee it.

    How I Figured Out How To Roast A Leg of Goat

    The first time I tried to cook with goat, it was HORRIBLE!!! I’d never prepared goat until a few weeks ago when I fearlessly listed it as the entree for our Polynesian meal. As our entree, I not only had to figure out how to make it, I had to make it awesome.

    My second attempt at making goat, a leg roast is coated with papaya seeds to tenderize the meat.

    When my first attempt (braised goat in coconut and rum) came out of the oven, I was staring at lumps of grey meat bathed in a curdled gray sauce. This was definitely NOT awesome! Tasting it only made it worse. I hate throwing food away, but that was the only place fit for this dish! I didn’t take a picture because I was too stressed out and embarrassed, but I wish I would have because it was DISGUSTING!

    I knew goat was a lean meat which could be tough, so it would be best to slow cook it with a liquid to help it keep moist, which was the impetus of my first attempt. For an island effect, I chose rum and coconut milk. Well, I’m still not sure what part of the body those cuts came from, but they were tough grisly and grotesque. The rum was not acidic enough to help tenderize the meat and coconut milk, upon continuous cooking, apparently curdles. I guess goat has a tendency of turning gray when cooked and the white cooking sauce, surely didn’t help its color. It looked horrible and tasted disgusting. This recipe SUCKED! I was a bit stressed out.

    It seemed the obstacles I needed to work around for this recipe was:

    • keeping the meat tender and avoiding tough chewy meat
    • avoiding the gray color which is unappetizing!

    To tackle the main problem of tough meat, I decided I needed was a good cut from a real butcher. Although I’d never done one before, not even with lamb, a leg roast would probably be the best way to go. I found a great spot in the warehousing district and picked up a fresh leg of young goat which would be more tender with a milder taste then an older goat. An average leg roast from a young goat (leg in) weighs about 4-5 lbs.

    After my last fiasco, I wasn’t taking any chances with texture problems, so I decided to marinate it overnight AND apply a dry rub for a couple of hours before cooking to ensure a moist tender roast. I had previously marinated my first attempt in rum only, which I figured wouldn’t be enough. I decided to add fresh lime juice which would pump up the acidity, and I added olive oil, to help infuse some fat into the lean goat meat.

    But now color. Gray meat just looks gross. If I was doing a red wine marinade that would give it color, but I wanted to stick with tropical flavors (rum, lime etc). I started thinking of other things I could use for color, and I finally thought of one of nature’s most powerful natural dyes: beets! Although not authentic to Polynesia, I added beets to the marinade to give this meat some color.

    Leg roast for the event on the grill. You can see the ginger, garlic and lardoons sticking out in areas around the roast.

    It worked. The morning after its marination, I found what looked like a tandoori leg of goat! Even more so, it was purple! Well, I thought the meat would definitely not be gray. Ha!

    I had also been instructed by my Aunt to cut away the thick white fat around the edges of the leg and reserve them. I now pulled them out of the fridge. With my paring knife, I cut slits an inch or so into the flesh of the roast and inserted the fatty deposits, which we can be all fancy and refer to as “lardoons”. I also stuffed some garlic cloves and ginger into the pockets with the lardoons to infuse a bit of awesome. I finished by applying my dry rub, which used papaya seeds as a binder. I wrapped the pup up and put in the fridge, to chill for 3 hours or so.

    To trap all the juices which I had been obsessing about infusing into the meat, I decided to sere the roast first. You can start the roast in the oven at a really high heat like 450 and turn down to 300. But I wasn’t sure that was enough. I wanted to make sure this meat SEARED.

    SO Ira and I set up our small BBQ with a huge pile of coals red HOT! By starting the roast off on the BBQ, not only were we able to sear it, but also infuse a bit of smokey flavor and give the surface of the roast a nice blackened look. I gave each side 5-10 minutes on the grill (15-20 min. total).

    After the grill, I inserted the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat. Putting my blackened purple leg roast back into a roaster pan over some chopped onions to keep it from burning to the bottom, I quickly got it into the oven at about 325 to finish cooking. I spooned some of the marinade over the top for good measure. At this point, I just waited with fingers tightly crossed until the thermometer registered 130.

    Roasts will continue to cook after its taken out of the oven, so by removing it at 130, I could ensure to end up at my preferred temp of a medium rare 140 degrees. I thought the roast would take a few hours as did the recipes I had read online, so I was a bit surprised when I hit 130 after only 90 minutes. I guess the BBQ really put a jump start on the cooking. I took the roast out of the oven, and “tented” it by loosely covering it up with aluminum foil to rest, about 10-20 minutes.

    When I finally carved into the roast, I was jumping for joy. It was the most moist, delicious meat I had ever seen and tasted. The beautiful mild flavor was not overpowered by the marinade. Although purple on the outside, the meat had a delicate pinkish color which only added to its appeal. Thank you beets! A sigh of relief, I had my entree recipe figured out.

    It was a close gross call, but the dish we ended up with was filled with absolute goaty awesomeness!

    Here’s the recipe.

    Lamb and Black Bean Chili In Red WIne

    As a kid, I always hated Chili. Until my Mom went on a diet. In her attempts to make more healthy meals, she came across a low fat recipe of stewing lamb and black beans in red wine and chili powder. My Mom’s regular chili was always stuffed with huge gross mealy kidney beans, which I could not stomach. Kidney beans remain one of the few foods I never grew out of disliking. When she served us the new chili recipe, I LOVED it. I guess as a kid I thought kidney beans were what all beans tasted like, and I was surprised by how good the black beans were. This new chili had a thin tart broth with a rich lamb flavor so different from the thick gooey beany chili I hated.

    When planning the courses for my supper club events, I always try to pick dishes which fit within the Forkable mindset of dressed up comfort food, made fast and cheap. Because in the cold winter weather, a bowl of hot chili is so relaxing, I thought chili would be a good theme for the next event. The lamb chili immediately popped into my head first because the of the more sophisticated ingredients, the simple and easy recipe and the total comfort and pleasure given from eating this dish.

    Lamb and Black Bean Chili

    • 1 1/2 lb ground lamb
    • 1 medium onion chopped
    • 2 garlic cloves, minced
    • 1 large 28 oz. can whole tomatoes, un-drained and chopped
    • 1 c. dry red wine
    • 1 Tbs chili powder
    • 1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
    • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
    • 1 tsp sugar
    • 3 15 oz. cans black beans, drained
    • salt to taste
    • hot sauce to taste

    In cooking pot, saute lamb, onion and garlic.

    Add tomatoes, red wine, and seasonings up to sugar and bring to a boil. Allow to simmer for 2 hours.

    Add black beans and allow to simmer for 30 more minutes.

    Season with salt and hot sauce to taste. Done! Garnish with cilantro and fresh jalapenos.

    **Murphy’s Law of event planning is something always goes wrong. After preparing my lamb stew, I realized the lamb I had gotten was not particularly flavorful enough. The chili lacked the depth of flavor I wanted. I had some lamb bones in the freezer from a leg of lamb. I drained some liquid out of the chili and boiled it for an hour or two with the bones, to increase the flavor. This is the first time I’ve ever had to augment the flavor to the recipe, but it was a relatively painless fix.

    Nutritional Information
    Calories: 293 (22% from fat)
    Fat: 7.2g (sat 2.4g,mono 2.8g,poly 0.8g)
    Protein: 28.5g
    Carbohydrate: 29.9g
    Fiber: 4.6g
    Cholesterol: 61mg
    Iron: 4.3mg
    Sodium: 400mg
    Calcium: 90mg

    Courtesy of: Cooking Light, APRIL 1997

    Personal Lamb Meatloaves with Lemon Gravy

    Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food (unless you’re vegetarian). For all of us meat eaters, there’s nothing like a good meatloaf to warm the belly on a cold winter night. To fancy this homey dish up a bit, I decided to use lamb meat instead of ground beef and fill it with an array of herbs and vegetables to add to the flavor and texture as well as make the meal slightly more healthy. Everyone loves personal portions, so using a muffin pan will allow for small circular loafs perfect for a solo serving. This way you’ll be sure to have enough for each member of your party, but I warn you to make a few extra because with a dish like this people often want seconds.

    Lamb Meatloaf Medallions

    • 1 1/2 lb ground lamb
    • 1/2 lb ground beef
    • 1/2 c. bread crumbs
    • 1 egg
    • 1/4 c. labna. You can also use yogurt or sour cream
    • 1/3 c. milk
    • 1 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp black pepper
    • 1/2 tsp sumac (optional)
    • 1 onion diced
    • 4-5 sprigs fresh thyme (remove stems and use only leaves)
    • 2-3 sprigs fresh rosemary (remove stems and roughly chop needles)
    • 1 large carrot diced
    • 1 small head of broccoli with flowerettes cut in small pieces
    • 1 Tbs cumin seed
    • 2 Tbs olive oil

    Lemon Gravy

    • 1/2 c. butter (1 stick)
    • 3 Tbs flour
    • 1 clove of garlic chopped
    • 2/3 c. milk
    • 1/4 c. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    • 2 tsp sugar
    • 1/4 tsp poultry seasoning
    • salt and pepper to taste

    In a skillet heat oil over medium heat. When hot, add cumin seed and allow to toast for a minute or so until slightly browned. Add carrots and cook for a couple of minutes, then add broccoli. Cook until slightly soft but not thoroughly. Remove from heat.

    In a bowl, mix ground lamb and ground beef using your hands. Lamb is a lean meat, so adding a bit of beef will help the meatloaf to be moist. Add all ingredients including the carrots and broccoli and mix together with your hands.

    In a sauce pan, melt butter and saute garlic for a couple of minutes. Over low heat, mix in flour, and cook until bubbly. Remove from heat and add remaining ingredients. Cook over medium low heat stirring constantly until sauce thickens. When you first add milk and lemon sauce will appear curdled, but will cook out as sauce thickens. I based this recipe off this recipe which I found to be too salty, so I cut down the amount of butter and salt. So season to taste.
    Tips on the gravy:

    • If gravy is too thin, add more flour and stir.
    • If gravy is too salty, add more milk and add flour to help thicken extra liquid
    • If you have a gluten allergy you can substitute corn starch for the flour.

    Spoon the meatloaf mixture into your muffin tins creating a small well in the center with your finger. Add 1 Tbs of lemon Gravy into the well. This will help keep your meatloaf moist.

    Bake @ 350 for 25-30 minutes. Lamb has a slightly red coloration when cooked, so your meatloaf when done may be slightly pink looking. Don’t be alarmed by the color and overcook.

    I served my meatloaf over a bed of beer braised fennel and red potato mash and drizzled with the lemon gravy. (Stay tuned for that recipe tomorrow!) This dish was savory and comforting, but slightly exotic with the Mediterranean / Middle Eastern spices and flavors.

    Not long after I’d planned this for my menu, excited about what I thought was a very maverick form of serving meatloaf, Ira sent me a link to this Chicago Gluttons review of the Meatloaf Bakery in Lincoln Park.

    “Seriously, I give this place 5 stars for even existing. A bakery full of meatloaf? A cupcake of… MEATLOAF?” -Emily S

    Any time I think I am being original, I realize there is someone else doing it as well. I guess great minds think alike!

    Notes on the recipe: I have used Labna which is a tart form of Middle Eastern yogurt cheese. You can easily substitute plain yogurt or even sour cream. Sumac has a lemony tart flavor, which when eating the meatloaf on its own, sets off the savory lamb flavors. The sumac is an additional flavoring which can be eliminated if you don’t have it without compromising the general flavor of this dish.

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