Try lamb on the grill this summer

Posted Tuesday, May. 13, 2014  comments  Print Reprints

Kale and pomegranate salad with grilled lamb

Serves 6

For marinade:

• 1 1/2 cups pomegranate juice

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 3 cloves garlic, chopped

• 1 tablespoon ground ginger

• 1 tablespoon cinnamon

• 2 teaspoons cumin

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

• 1 (4-pound) leg of lamb, deboned, butterflied and trimmed of visible fat

For dressing:

• 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

• 2 tablespoons pomegranate balsamic vinegar

• 1/4 cup olive oil

• Salt and pepper

For salad:

• 5 cups baby kale

• 1 bulb fennel, thinly sliced

• 1/2 cup pomegranate seeds or sliced red grapes

• 1/4 cup crumbled Gorgonzola cheese

• 1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted

1. Combine marinade ingredients in large plastic zip-top bag; add lamb and place in refrigerator 8 hours or overnight.

2. Remove lamb from marinade, pat dry and set on tray.

3. On gas grill, turn all burners to high, close lid and heat until hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grates clean and brush with oil. Grill lamb, fat side down, over medium-high heat 25 to 35 minutes total (turn halfway through), depending on desired doneness (about 145 degrees for medium rare and 160 degrees for medium). Remove from grill and loosely cover with foil; let rest about 15 minutes before thinly slicing.

4. Meanwhile, in large bowl, whisk together dressing ingredients. Add kale, fennel and pomegranate seeds or grapes and toss to coat. Arrange dressed salad on platter and top with sliced lamb, cheese and toasted walnuts.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 707 calories, 48 grams fat, 22 grams carbohydrates, 48 grams protein, 169 milligrams cholesterol, 642 milligrams sodium, 4 grams dietary fiber, 61 percent of calories from fat.

— Tri-Lamb Group,

Lamb loin chops with green bean and potato salad

Serves 6

For salad:

• 1/2 cup fat-free plain Greek yogurt

• 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

• 1 lemon, zested and juiced

• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

• 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

• 1 pint cherry tomatoes, cut in half

• 1 pound green beans, ends trimmed and cut in half

• 2 pounds small red new potatoes, larger potatoes cut in half

For lamb:

• 4 cloves garlic, minced

• 3 tablespoons olive oil

• 1 teaspoon salt

• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

• 2 1/2 pounds lamb loin chops (or 10 loin chops)

1. In large bowl, whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and zest, dill, chives, salt, pepper, and cherry tomatoes; set aside.

2. In large saucepan, bring 6 cups water to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove with slotted spoon and add to bowl with dressing. Add potatoes to simmering water and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Drain potatoes and add to bowl. Toss to coat.

3. Combine garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper in small bowl. Place lamb chops on large tray and rub garlic-oil mixture all over lamb loin chops; set aside while grill heats.

4. On gas grill, turn all burners to high, close lid and heat until grates are hot, about 15 minutes. Scrape grates clean. Grill lamb chops about 6 minutes per side or until cooked to 145 degrees for medium rare. Move to clean plate and let rest 5 minutes. Toss potato salad again and serve with chops.

Nutrition analysis per serving: 715 calories, 50 grams fat, 38 grams carbohydrates, 30 grams protein, 111 milligrams cholesterol, 827 milligrams sodium, 5 grams dietary fiber, 65 percent of calories from fat.

— Tri-Lamb Group,

Have more to add? News tip? Tell us

Who says hamburgers, hot dogs and chicken get to have the starring role in warm-weather barbecues?

Think beyond the obvious at your next outdoor gathering.

Think about lamb.

Yes, lamb. It’s not just for Easter. Lean, tender lamb can be the centerpiece of summer entertaining menus.

Just as turkey has moved beyond Thanksgiving to become everyday fare, the same is true with lamb meat — it’s readily available for all seasons and easy to prepare, allowing for lamb kebabs, burgers, thinly sliced leg of lamb and chops to be a delicious addition to your grilling occasions.

Myths behind the meat

“In my career as a cookbook author and cooking instructor, I have never seen a more misunderstood ingredient than lamb,” said Amy Riolo, award-winning author, chef, television personality and culinary educator. “While prized in most other places in the world, lamb remains a mystery to most Americans.”

If you haven’t tried lamb in a while, you may be surprised by this flavorful protein. While often confused for mutton, the tougher meat of older lamb, young lamb is tender.

Diners may shy away from this choice protein, believing it to have a gamey taste. But modern lamb is raised differently than in the past, resulting in a sweeter, succulent taste.

This rich-tasting meat contains, on average, 175 calories per 3-ounce serving, making it a smart choice in bathing suit season.

Lastly, people assume it’s expensive, but value cuts, such as the shoulder, the leg and ground lamb, can fit into grocery budgets that have been squeezed by higher beef prices.

Nutritional benefits

Lean lamb cuts — including the leg, loin and rack — make for a protein- and nutrient-packed dish. In fact, on average, a 3-ounce serving delivers almost 50 percent of your daily protein needs and is a good source of iron.

Also rich in zinc, selenium and vitamin B-12, a 3-ounce serving of lamb can provide nearly five times the amount of essential omega-3 fatty acids when compared with beef. Lamb is also raised without the addition of synthetic hormones.

Grill up goodness

Riolo provides these tips for serving up the most scrumptious, savory lamb right from your own grill:

• In a hurry? Choose cubed leg of lamb for kebabs, rib chops or boneless butterflied leg of lamb — cuts that can be grilled in minutes.

• Aromatics are lamb’s best friends. Onions, garlic, spices and lemon juice enhance the natural sweet flavor.

• Grilling lamb with garlic, mint and olive oil is a great way to introduce lamb to first-timers. Cut slits into the lamb meat and insert pieces of garlic cloves, then rub with oil and dried mint.

• Use a meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature. Lamb will continue cooking after you pull it off the grill, so it’s best to remove it about 10 degrees lower than your target temperature.

• Lamb is best served medium rare (145 degrees) or medium (160 degrees). All ground lamb should be cooked to 160 degrees.

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