Your shoppers may think of lamb as a special occasion food, but with a few cooking tips and a little inspiration, they will see that it’s an excellent choice year-round, even for weeknight family eating.
Lamb is a delicious and nutrient-rich food, making it a natural fit for healthy diet. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb has only 175 calories and meets the FDA definition for lean. The leanest cuts of lamb are those from the leg, loin and shank. Lamb is also an excellent source of protein, vitamin B12, niacin, zinc and selenium and a good source of iron and riboflavin.
A three pound leg of lamb will yield eight portions, which is perfect for two dinners for a family of four. And the best way to enjoy it may be to encourage your shoppers to cook once and eat twice. Here are two recipes from the Tri-Lamb Group that transform one great dinner into something equally as good tomorrow — but with less preparation time. Serve this easy to prepare Lamb Roast with Garden Vegetables as a Sunday night dinner, for example, and reserve half the meat to make Lamb Pitas a night or two later. Everyone will appreciate the ease of planning, especially during this busy back-to-school time of year.
Makes 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 1 1/2 hours
1/3 cup chopped fresh herbs or 2 teaspoons dried (rosemary, thyme, marjoram)
8 cloves garlic, minced
1 boneless leg of lamb (about 3 pounds)
4 pounds yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/2 cups frozen, thawed pearl onions
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 lemons, cut into 1/4-inch thick slices
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350°F. Stir together herbs and garlic in a small bowl; set aside 2 tablespoons.
Remove ties or netting from lamb. Using a small sharp knife, make slits deep into the lamb spacing 1/2-inch apart. Rub the larger amount of herb mixture over the surface and into the center of the lamb, pressing mixture into the slits. Tie in 2 places with kitchen string to secure.
Place potatoes, onions, oil, lemons and reserved herb mixture in a large roasting pan with shallow sides and toss well to coat. Nestle lamb into the center and season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 1 1/2 hours or until lamb is cooked to your liking (145°F for medium rare, 160°F for medium), stirring vegetables every 1/2 hour.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 463, Fat 14g, Cholesterol 120mg, Sodium 107mg, Total Carbohydrate 42g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 4g
Makes 4 servings
Prep Time: 15
Cook Time: 10 minutes
4 whole wheat pita bread rounds
2 cups chopped or shredded romaine lettuce
1 1/2 cups small pieces leftover roasted boneless leg of lamb
3/4 cup chopped tomato
1/2 cup thinly slivered red onion
3/4 cup plain nonfat yogurt
1/2 cup peeled, coarsely grated cucumber
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
Stir together all tzatziki ingredients in a small bowl; set aside.
Cut each pita round in half. Open carefully and fill with lettuce, lamb, tomato and onion. Serve with Mint Tzatkiki.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): Calories 333, Fat 7g, Cholesterol 52mg, Sodium 480mg, Total Carbohydrate 44g, Dietary Fiber 6g, Protein 25g