Deviating from mint

To leap playfully
To leap playfully

I used to have a book about funny words, which my mother had given to me to read to the children.  I don’t remember most of it, but one picture sticks in my mind — several lambs around a table with cards, poker chips and other accoutrements of betting.  The sentence was, “Lambs gamboling on the lawn.”

Gambol means to frolic, in case that doesn’t immediately strike you as funny.

Lamb is not a frequently ingested meat in the US, unless you raise sheep or eat in nice dining establishments.  It’s a shame because lamb has a wonderful flavor.

In England, lamb is a cheap cut, so it is quite common.  History has it that mint was eaten with lamb to disguise either the flavor of mutton (full grown sheep) or the taste of past prime meat, which was shunned from the lord’s table and given to the servants (nasty stuff).  Either way, it was an inexpensive meat which for some reason had a reputation of needing to be hidden in a mint sauce.  That is still the traditional English preparation, despite pull dating and adequate meat refrigeration.  My husband is quite happy to see me pull out the mint jelly jar when lamb is on the menu.

Mint is OK with lamb, but as we have a source for this wonderful protein, it seems a shame to always hide it under something sweet.  Today’s recipe was culled from the No Recipes blog.  My butcher doesn’t send me lamb breasts, but any cut of lamb will work — just adjust the time and temperature depending on how tender the cut is to begin with.

Curry Crusted Lamb

2 lbs lamb

  • For the rub
    • 1 T minced fresh ginger
    • 3 large garlic cloves
    • 2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp sugar
  • For the crust:
    • 1 T garam masala
    • 1 tsp cinnamon
    • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper (to taste)
    • black pepper
  • For the Thai basil raita
    • 8 oz. strained (Greek) yogurt
    • 2 T minced Thai basil
    • 1 tsp toasted cumin
    • pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 275º F.

Mash the garlic, ginger and salt together to make a paste.  Rub this all over the lamb breast.

Mix the spices together, then sprinkle on both sides of the meat.

Roast for about 3 hours or until the meat is fork tender and pulls away from the bone.

For the raita, whisk the ingredients together and salt to taste.


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