Lamb is a delicious meat that is considered especially nourishing for kidneys in traditional Chinese medicine, which regards lamb as the most “warming” of meats. It can contain as much as 50% of the omega 3 fatty acids found in fish, depending on whether it is grass fed and organic. Besides healthy fats, it is a great source of protein, vitamin B12, zinc, selenium, and niacin.
Don’t be daunted by its different flavor. Lamb burgers and lamb kabobs are favorites in my house. Adding flavors you don’t usually use for beef or chicken is the secret. Lamb is easy to cook!
Where to buy lamb? We love supporting our local organic, clean and green growers, and Colorado has several choices. We’ve bought ours at the Boulder Farmer’s Market for same price found in our local supermarket that sells organic meats (we haven’t yet found organic lamb in Boulder’s big chain supermarkets). We also love that the grower we buy from is located in a region of the state that has not succumbed to fracking activity. Fracking contaminates air and water with known carcinogens, and has been associated with birth defects and low birth weight for infants living within two miles of drill sites. Of course, all our ingredients are organic where possible.
Lamb Kabobs • Serves 6-8
2-3 lbs fresh lamb shoulder, trimmed of fat and sinew and cut into ~1-2” cubes
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup white wine
1 TBSP minced fresh thyme leaves without stems or 1 teaspoon powdered dried thyme
1 TBSP chopped fresh or dried rosemary without stems
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole lemon, washed and cut into quarters
½ tsp Himalayan salt
¼ tsp fresh ground black pepper
• Blend all marinade ingredients in a powerful blender until smooth. Pour into a deep glass or ceramic bowl, cover with plastic wrap and set aside.
• Trim fat and sinew off lamb and prepare into 1-2” cubes. If lamb is frozen, thaw enough to easily trim.
• Place lamb in bowl of marinade for at least three hours. Do not marinate for more than 18-24 hours, as the meat will begin to break down.
• After marinating, discard the marinade; use metal skewers (these heat through the meat better), and place 5-6 cubes of lamb per skewer.
• When ready to cook, turn gas grill to medium high heat. Charcoal grill should be medium heat. Place skewers on grill.
• Once on grill turn gas heat down to medium. Allow four minutes per side. Turn skewers 3-4 times so all sides are grilled.
• Use a meat thermometer to check for internal temperature of 140 degrees. Once there, remove from grill, and “rest” the lamb skewers in a warm place, covered with foil. They will continue to cook a bit to 145 degrees, which is medium rare. We use our oven on “warm” setting, about 150 degrees. Do not bake the kabobs in a warmer oven.
Serve with vegetable kabobs made of multi colored bell peppers, onion quarters or chunks, and mushrooms. We skewer and cook these separately so we can pay attention to cooking the lamb correctly; others combine lamb and vegetables on same skewer.
To make vegetable skewers, chop vegetable pieces into bite size chunks and slide onto metal or bamboo skewers. Brush with olive oil or melted ghee, sprinkle with fresh or dried oregano, and grill to preferred doneness (about 8 minutes for us).
Serve all with quinoa cooked in organic chicken broth and finished with capers stirred in.
Lamb kabobs are a healthful and delicious meal when your grill is at the ready. But what about those burgers? Which ever you are cooking, you can broil indoors. Set oven to 400 and cook for 6 minutes then rotate your kabobs, two or three times, until done (or until your meat thermometer reads 145 degrees). Let the kabobs rest a minute or two before serving.
For burgers, buy organic ground lamb and include a few tasty additions. There are countless recipes on the web for lamb burgers, with variations that include mint or proscuitto and more exotic items, but my favorite is this simple one from Food Network. I skip the yogurt sauce since we are a mostly dairy-free household. I make the burgers about 4-5 ounces each instead of “mini”, and serve with extra Dijon mustard, big juicy local tomatoes, onion slices, avocado, lettuce, and a slice of raw goat cheddar if available. Always a hit.