Mary had a little lamb…

No one ever finishes that song to find that the lamb has turned into dinner.  Sure the lamb goes to school with Mary but dinnertime is never discussed.   Over the past five years lamb has made a bigger impact on my taste buds and culinary experiences than the first 28 years when it was nonexistent.

My first tasting experience was in Iceland.  My best friend and I took a Icelandic/Norway trip five years ago in September (Happy 5 year Anniversary Kelsey! – when do we go back?) We had their famous hot dogs. We topped the lamb dog with their traditional remoulade – a mayo-based sauce.  It was good but different.

Clearly these were taken before the new foodie over-the-plate food-shoot craze and yes that’s an action shot of me shoving it in my mouth…

My second experience was unnecessarily dramatic and still talked about to this day.  Long story short, I was meeting my family at the beach for a week long vacation and along the way I hit traffic, got lost and was unable to reach my dad.  Eventually he answered his phone, and found me aimlessly driving around the neighborhood trying to get to the house (all the one-way streets seemed to have me going in the opposite direction), when I finally got there I asked “What’s for dinner?”  I was really hungry and hoping we were going out, someplace where I could get a fancy cocktail, eat some sort of warm spinach & cheese dip and have a nice meal. Instead, I was told that LAMB MEATBALLS KABOBS were on the menu – I cried. I sobbed. I ate plain spaghetti like a child.  (Fact checked: I made a mistake originally, it was not lamb meatballs but rather lamb kabobs)

Needless to say because of culinary school, I have dabbled in lamb a few times and each time I try it I want to like it, I really do – but sadly I don’t.

This is the diagram in my notes so I can remember the primal cuts…

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I had several butchering classes we have learned that any four legged animal is basically broken down the same therefore we used lamb as our examples because it’s cheaper than a cow…

We broke apart the shoulder and saved it for later.  It was our first lesson on taking meat off the bone using what is called seam butchering – we followed the “seams” where the cartilage provides even lines of where the muscle will just break away into a big chunk of meat.  After which we trim and remove the silver skin which is the membrane that is left behind on the meat when it becomes separated from cartilage or bone.

Our actual first cooking introduction to lamb was braising the shank, we cooked it low and slow so that it was the most tender when done.  We served it with lentils: LE JARRET D’AGNEAU BRAISE AUX LENTILLES

Then we made a lamb stew with spring vegetables – also cooking it low and slow for the most tender bites:  LE NAVARIN D’AGNEAU PRINTANIER

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Some people might wonder what the difference is between “braising” and “stewing” – simply put, it’s the same cooking technique of submerging in liquid and cooking for a long time on low heat.  Except braising is done with larger pieces of meat and stewing is when there are bite-size pieces of meat in the pot.

During our banquette challenge we served lamb: ROASTED LAMB with PETITE RATATOUILLE & HARICOTS VERTS

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Last week, we made a lasagna type thing with ground lamb. It’s a layered with pan seared eggplant, ground lamb and béchamel sauce served with tomato sauce: LA MOUSSAKA

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Even after all of the varieties and after 7 months of culinary school my feelings have not changed, it has a game-y taste that I can’t seem get on board with it.  Nevertheless I do appreciate it.  And I can cook it well.



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