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If playing a word association game and someone says lamb, I immediately think, mint sauce.
Spring-time is lamb-time.
Chatting to Carlos from Pronto Gourmet Butchers about South West lamb has meant I can tell you a few facts about spring, or season lamb. Between August and December this lamb will be feeding on grass. The meat will be lighter in colour and have a wonderful flavour as well as being tender. At around 12 months lambs get their grown-up teeth and become ‘real’ sheep. At about 2 years old they are classed as mutton with the meat being stronger in flavour, darker in colour and generally not as tender.
Always purchase meat from a good butcher. They are worth their weight in gold. They’ll know what they stock, the farm location and the farmer. This gives you peace of mind, extra information about what you are eating (organic, free range etc) and a more connection to the primary producer. We need to support good WA farmers, otherwise they will be lost and us as consumers will no longer have a choice of where our meat comes from.
Once purchased here are a few tips to assist you in getting the best from lamb.
Always unwrap meat from plastic and paper once at home. Place on glass or china plate. This ensures it is stored at the coldest possible temperature. Refrigerated plastic plates or trays will not be as cold. If left in wrapping, the meat can ‘sweat’ and cannot be stored for as long.
Cover meat with plastic wrap on the plate. Ensure it does not sit in its own ‘drip’. Covering ensures meat is kept moist and does not dry out.
General rule is, the larger the cut of meat, the longer it can be stored for refrigerated at maximum temperature of 4ºC. A leg of lamb, for example can be kept refrigerated for up to 4 days as opposed to minced lamb which is best consumed within 2 days. These are all optimum recommended storage times and depend on refrigerator temperatures. I have stored lamb for longer. Double check with your butcher for his recommended storage times.
On average calculate 100gm to 150gm trimmed weight per person, depending on who you are feeding and what you are making. I find if I toss cooked meat through a salad for example, I don’t need quite as much as when serving perhaps a roast.
Check out MLA’s Lamb Cut Chart. Their website has loads of great information to read up on.
So to make that mint sauce, why not try white balsamic vinegar. It’s slightly sweet, less sour than white wine vinegar. In less than 5 minutes you have a gorgeous accompaniment to roast lamb or grilled chops. Mix 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint leaves with ¼ cup white balsamic vinegar and a good pinch of salt. If using white wine vinegar replace salt with caster sugar.
Celebrate spring with lamb.
Carlos Florença of the ‘lovley brown eyes’ fame has a long association with Matters of Taste. Carlos and Tracey worked together when the cooking school first opened it’s doors in commercial premises in 2003. The free Saturday morning classes quickly grew in popularity with both presenters being passionate about food and passing on their knowledge.
Carlos hails from a small fishing village in Portugal. His wife Karen, is his partner in life and in business. They have 2 school age children.
This generous soul is our resident master butcher in these very special From Paddock to Plate Butchery Classes.
Peter Ryan (pictured left) is one of the three Ryan brothers who farm in the Southern Forest region of WA. Three Ryans farm produces beautiful lamb and stunning vegetables along with free range eggs from happy chickens for the Perth market.
Peter joins us in the Lamb Butchery class as a guest presenter alongside Carlos and Tracey. Three Ryans are generously providing the beautiful lamb for us to cook and you to enjoy. Thanks Three Ryans you are the best!
Join us and book your place at the Paddock to Plate Lamb Butchery class.
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