This year we’ve had the opportunity to experiment with some meats we have never cooked with (or eaten) before. And, when we were presented with the opportunity from the American Lamb Board to share a globally inspired recipe using a cut of American lamb, we jumped at the chance to once again take a step into new ingredients and dishes.
Lamb is one of the oldest domesticated meat species, and with more than 82,000 family-owned sheep operations, in nearly every U.S. state, American Lamb is local and available year round. American Sheep are raised on natural forage diets, making them the perfect tool to naturally control undergrowth and invasive weeds in forests and vineyards.
We were very surprised to find out that lamb is considered a lean meat. On average, a 3-ounce serving of lamb has only 175 calories with less than 8 g of fat.
We were also surprised by the flavor and tenderness of the lamb. It cooks similar to beef and has a beef-like texture, but it has a tenderness and light flavor more akin to pork. It would make a great substitute for either in many dishes, and it’s no wonder many cultures around the globe eat lamb frequently.
We received a boneless leg of lamb from the American Lamb Board, and decided to try making a dish that has been on our ‘to make’ list for quite some time: Lamb Biryani.
Biryani is an Indian mixed rice dish, traditionally made with basmati rice and flavored with a variety of spices such as cloves, cinnamon, cardamon, bay leaf, coriander, mint, ginger, garlic and onions.
The array of spices give this dish a heavenly scent while it is cooking. And, by the time dinner rolls around, you are not disappointed by the flavor that is infused in the tender meat and brightly transformed rice.
- ½ c plain, low fat yogurt
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 1 Tbsp ginger, ground
- 2 tsp garam masala
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper, ground
- 1 ½ lbs boneless lamb leg, trimmed of fat and cup into ½-1” cubes
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 onion, sliced
- 1 ½ c brown basmati rice, soaked for 20 minutes in cool water
- 2 bay leaves, crumbled
- ¼ tsp cardamom
- ¼ tsp turmeric
- ¼ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- ⅛ tsp cloves
- 2 c water
- In a small bowl, mix yogurt, garlic, ginger, garam masala, salt and pepper. Mix in trimmed lamb cubes and refrigerate for 3 hours to marinade.
- In a large, cast iron skillet, melt butter. Add onion slices and sauté over medium heat until golden brown, 5-7 minutes.
- Drain rice and add it to the onions along with the spices. Saute for 1-2 minutes.
- Add lamb cubes with marinade and water. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until the rice is cooked and most of the moisture is absorbed, 25-30 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and let stand, covered for 5 minutes before serving for the remaining moisture to be absorbed.
I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.