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The Home Plate - Life and Lamb

We Gaúcho Lamb

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Evandro CaregnatoWe recently caught up with Chef Evandro Caregnato of Texas de Brazil, a Churrascaria chain based in Dallas, TX. Chef Evandro’s “Gaúcho-style Lamb Shoulder” with Australian lamb was served at a recent media event in Dallas to great acclaim.

AL: Tell me about the “Gaúcho-Style Lamb Shoulder” - you made it for us at the event in Dallas last year, and it was a huge hit. What was the inspiration?

EC: This dish is very typical of southern Brazilian cooking. There is a long history of Italian immigration to that part of the country, including my family back in the late 1800s. Italian families came to help settle the country, farm and ranch, and they brought their culinary traditions with them. [note: gaúcho means cowboy in Portuguese] As a result, you find foods like polenta a lot in southern Brazil. It’s like mashed potatoes for Brazilians…at least in the south.

Lamb is typically cooked in long and slow braises in Brazil. The garlic and aromatic herbs like sage and rosemary are quite common, and echo what the lambs would graze on. You want to taste the natural lamb flavor, so it’s a pretty simple preparation – sear it quickly on all sides, then braise with wine, garlic, herbs and tomatoes, and serve over the soft polenta. It’s delicious.

AL: Last year you had a very successful promotion for Aussie Lamb at Texas de Brazil. How do your guests respond to lamb?

EC: We get comments all the time from guests who tell us “It’s been so long since I had lamb” or “I didn’t think I liked lamb.” Our guests are really open to trying it, since with our churrascaria concept, you pay a flat price and can try any variety of meat you want. If you’re at a traditional steakhouse, it can be hard to try something new and commit to a full entrée of something less familiar like lamb. We had one guest eat 52 Aussie lamb chops in a single sitting! I don’t recommend that, but it shows you how far lamb fans will go once they have a high-quality product prepared the right way.

March Madness

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True Aussie BeefWe talk a lot about sustainability and grassfed on this blog, so it’s great when we see news and research that shows American consumers are getting more enthusiastic about those topics and how Australian ranchers are meeting those expectations. A couple of studies have recently shown that Americans are now looking for grassfed as their most sought-after attribute in beef, ahead (albeit just slightly) of organic, local or natural. What’s more, folks have also developed a taste preference for grassfed, indicating that they thought grassfed beef was both healthier and tastier. 

Beef from grass-fed animals is a source of omega-3 fatty acids, which are good for cardiovascular health. It also offers vitamins A and E as well as antioxidants. It’s also a lean meat, something that the latest dietary guidelines report confirmed is part of a healthy diet. 

To get a taste for yourself, find it at your local grocery store, or just stop by your local Chipotle.