Lamb was something I ate regularly in my childhood. We always had it for special occasions and holidays, such as Christmas and Easter, when, according to Slovak-Catholic tradition, it was accompanied by an incredibly cute small lamb made out of butter with a peppercorn for an eye. I also have very fond memories of feasting on lamb chops adorned with gobs of mint jelly at my best friend Ashley Balaban's house.
While living in Massachusetts and Texas, my sheep consumption declined in favor seafood in the former state and beef in the latter. Thus when a representative of Aussie Beef & Lamb of Meat and Livestock Australia reached out with an invitation to review some of their offerings, I felt very nostalgic and very hungry. Samples (shoulder cut, chops, ground) arrived, I salivated, and then my significantly more gastronomically talented significant other took over.
After a simple dusting of sea salt and pepper, the lamb chops were grilled briefly, then pan-seared, and finished in the oven. The Chef didn't trim off the fat, thank God, and for this reason, the end product was an incredibly unctuous, juicy ovine lolly of sorts. Civilized people might have eaten it with a knife and fork but this gal tackled with abandon by hand in order to strip every last bit of delicious flesh from the ossified stick.
For the shoulder, we opted for a lengthier, "low and slow" preparation in the crock pot, and keeping in the spirit of British colonialism, we paired our Aussie lamb with Irish potatoes and a sauce made with Indian spices (cardamon, turmeric, chili, cumin).
Although I loved my lamb lollies for their fatty juiciness, the shoulder meat is probably my preferred cut for its more tender texture and its propensity for acting as terrific sponge for surrounding juices. Such a sheep supper requires multiple napkins and temporarily secluding pet cats looking to poach a bite.
Stay tuned for Part II, in which Bridey declines (perhaps foolishly) help from her kindly live-in Chef and utilizes the ground lamb in a Syrian dish.
Looking to try your hand at some lamb recipes? Aussie Lamb can be purchased at HEB, Whole Foods, and Costco.