Grass-fed lamb easily fits into a plant-focused Mediterranean diet. Lamb is raised on family-owned ranches in the United States, Australia and New Zealand. Depending on geographic location, their diet varies from location to location. Many are exclusively grass-fed while others are grain-fed for finishing. No growth hormones are used in lamb production in the U.S. Shepherds value and care for their flocks making sure their sheep and lambs have natural grazing areas, a clean water source and protection from predatory animals. Lamb is a staple in the Greek Mediterranean diet.
Nutrition: 3-ounce serving of lamb is an excellent source of protein and contains iron, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc, selenium and riboflavin. Depending on their diet, lamb can be an excellent source of omega 3 fatty acids.
The leanest cuts of lamb are the leg and loin.
Cooking: Onions, garlic, spices, herbs and lemon juice enhance the natural sweet flavor of lamb. Sauces and dips like tahini, tzatziki and chutneys make lamb enticing for first-timers.
Medium-rare is 145 degrees F; Medium is 160 degrees F and Well-done is 170 degrees F
High heat/Low-heat: For grilling, kebobs or thinly sliced leg meat, lamb should be cooked on high heat for a short amount of time. However, roasts and shanks should be roasted, braised or stewed and simmered at low temperatures for long periods.
Recipe: Mediterranean Lamb Loin Chops, serves 4 to 6
- 8 lamb loin chops, remove visible fat
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- Combine salt, pepper and paprika in a small bowl. Pat lamb with paper towels. Rub both sides of chops with spice mixture.
- Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium to high heat. Add lamb and cook until browned, about 6 minutes per side or until cooked to 145 degrees F for medium rare, reducing heat to medium if needed. (If using a gas grill, turn all burners to high, close lid and preheat grill for about 15 minutes. Brush with olive oil, then grill the lamb loin chops about 6 minutes per side.)
- Remove the lamb loin chops to a clean plate and let rest for 5 minutes.
Serve with a grain salad and a variety of seasonal vegetables. Can be served warm, room temperature or cold.
This post was a result of a sponsored travel event by Nourish With Lamb: Nourish With Lamb is a collaborative initiative between the United States, Australia, and New Zealand lamb producers.