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The Home Plate - Life and Lamb

Sweet and Spicy

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Let your taste buds fall in love this Valentine's Day with a delicious lamb dinner. Our sweet and spicy recipes will have you cancelling those dinner reservations, and instead whipping up a home-cooked meal for two.

For a sweet treat, try this recipe for baked Australian lamb racks with honey. It's a true crowd-pleaser, and pairs well with many sides.

Feeling more spicy? Our lamb cooked with chipotle and spices will definitely heat things up.

Satisfy both cravings with this recipe for sweet and spicy Australian lamb leg. Either way you can't go wrong with all natural, pasture-fed Aussie lamb.

Find these and other great recipes in our gallery.

Slow Cooker Success

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Adam MooreWe asked Aussie Lamb Chef Adam Moore for advice on cooking lamb at home, now that the kids are back in school, and the heat of summer is starting to fade. His response? “It’s the perfect time of year for slow-cooking! Dust off the crock pot and pick up some lamb shanks for a fool proof, flavorful dinner.”

Lamb shanks are widely available and economical, yet often overlooked at the meat counter as many consumers aren’t sure what to do with them. They’re ideal for long, slow cooking, giving home chefs loads of flavorful, moist, tender, fall-off-the-bone meat that’s hard to overcook.

“I like the versatility of lamb shanks,” says Adam. “Once you braise them, you can shred them up for tacos, pasta dishes, pizzas, or sandwiches. And just by changing the braising liquid, you can go in almost any direction for flavor, from Asian to Latino, or American comfort food.”

Here’s a recipe from Chef Adam that proves his point:
Crock Pot Aussie Lamb Shanks with Butternut Squash.

Only in Australia... Aussie Burgers

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A summer BBQ is never complete without an Aussie Burger.
Here are the 10 essentials you need for your perfect burger, Aussie style: The-Great-Aussie-Burger

  1. Ground lamb
  2. Grilled pineapple
  3. Pickled beets
  4. Fried egg
  5. Grilled onions
  6. Cheese
  7. Lettuce
  8. Tomato
  9. Toasty buns
  10. Last but not least…Bacon!

Check out our take on this classic.

Servings

2

Marinate

30 minutes

Cook

15 minutes

Ingredients

12 ounces ground Australian lamb
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 small onion, finely diced
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoon olive oil
2 slices cheddar cheese

To Serve

2 hamburger buns, split and toasted butter
2 lettuce leaves
1 tomato, sliced
4 slices pickled beets
Pineapple, thinly sliced
Tomato ketchup
4 bacon strips
2 eggs

Method

Place the lamb, garlic, onion in a large bowl.
Season with salt and pepper and mix together.
Using clean hands, massage the burger mix until combined.
Shape the mixture into two patties, place on a plate, cover and refrigerate up to 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 300°F.
Heat oil in a large, non-stick fry pan over medium heat.
Cook the patties for 3 minutes on each side or until almost cooked through.
Transfer to a baking sheet and top each patty with a slice of cheese.
Place in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until cheese melts.

While cheese is melting, cook bacon and eggs in fry pan.

Assembly

Spread the hamburger bun base with butter then layer lettuce, tomato, beets, lamb patty, pineapple, tomato ketchup, bacon and egg.
Cover with bun tops and serve.

 

WATCH AND LEARN: Chef Stephen Cooks Lamb Kebabs

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thumb_kebabs-video-thumbSummer is a season for simple pleasures—the smell of freshly cut grass, the warm sand on your toes at the beach, what-have-you. As far as dinner is concerned, it doesn't get more simple or pleasurable than grilled meat on a stick.

We're talking, of course, about kebabs, those colorful meat and veggie assemblages that originated in the Middle East and are also called "shish kebabs" (from the Turkish for "skewer" and "roast meat"). Traditionally made with lamb, they were the dish du jour among ancient nomadic tribes looking for sustenance. Today, they're a godsend for BBQ hosts who need something easy to cook so they can entertain, while sipping a cold beer.

You can use any kind of meat for kebabs, but if you want them to be as juicy and tender as possible, use Australian Lamb. In this easy-to-follow video, Chef Stephen shows you how it's done. You'll notice Chef cooks his North African-inspired kebabs indoors on a griddle, but the same simple instructions and tips apply when grilling outdoors. Be sure to check out our kebab grilling tips for additional information.

Prepare and Season

While many different cuts can be used for kebabs, Chef Stephen's pick is lamb rump (shank end of a leg of lamb). The lean cut takes well to spices and marinades. It's one of the best-value choices too.

As Chef instructs, you’ll want to buy a denuded rump, with sinew and fat removed. A regular serving size is around 6–8 ounces per person; cut the meat into 1-inch cubes for kebabs.

Not surprisingly, Middle Eastern spices are ideal for seasoning kebabs. Chef Stephen sprinkles and lightly presses each side of his kebabs with dukkah, a North African mix of ground sesame, cumin, coriander and pistachio. The mix can be found in the Middle Eastern section of most fine grocers, or try making your own (it's really easy). Either way, expect a beautifully nutty flavor.

After you've threaded your kebabs, brush both sides of the meat with olive oil. As you'll see, just a few brush strokes will do the trick, but this step is important because it will help prevent the meat from sticking to the grill.

Grill and Serve

Kebabs are best grilled over high heat, or, in Chef Stephen's case "a really hot griddle plate." Before cooking the meat, brush the griddle surface with olive oil, to keep it from sticking.

When cooking kebabs indoors, brush the grill surface with olive oil and keep the burner on high heat. Add the meat and allow about 3–4 minutes' cook time per side for medium rare. As Chef Stephen instructs, only turn the meat once (otherwise it will become dry and tough). Also avoid flipping the kebabs too soon, as the dukkah will stick to the grill.

Chef complements the North African flavors in the meat with Moroccan-style lemon couscous tossed with almonds, garnishing the whole package with mint, coriander and preserved lemon for an extra-fresh flavor kick. Give it a try, or have fun being creative with your own side dishes.

Roasted Australian Lamb Rack with Oven Fries and Herb Vinegar

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roasted Australian lamb rackWant to be the hostess (or host) with the mostess this holiday season? If you roast some Australian Lamb, you don’t have to worry so much about decking the halls or lighting up the house up like Clark Griswold. Your guests are likely to be so enthralled with the meat’s enticing aromas, melt-in-your-mouth texture and juicy flavor that they’ll hardly even pay attention! 

One of the easiest and most delicious ways to prepare Australian Lamb, roasting is the dry heat cooking method often used for large, tender cuts. However, it’s equally delicious for rack of lamb, especially if you marinate the meat overnight, as in the delicious recipe below. Or, you can slow-roast a leg of lamb (like the one Chef Stephen prepares in this quick video).   
One thing to keep in mind when roasting Australian Lamb is that the meat should rest for a few minutes, just prior to carving and serving, to allow the juices to settle into the meat. The larger the meat, the longer it should rest (you can cover it with aluminum foil, to hold in the heat). 
Another tip, for large cuts that require carving, is to carve across the grain of the meat. This will ensure maximum tenderness. You’ll need a carving knife 8 to 10 inches long, a chef’s fork or tongs to hold the roast in place and a carving board. Carve only what’s necessary—meat left on the bone stays moist and firm for enjoying later.

 Australian Lamb Ingredients

  • 2 Australian Lamb racks, frenched
  • olive oil, for coating
  • salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, chopped, or 2 teaspoons, dry

Herb Vinegar Ingredients

  • 1⁄2 cup fresh mixed herbs, chopped (try mint, tarragon, marjoram, thyme or rosemary)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar

Oven Fries Ingredients

  • 6 potatoes, cut into wedges
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • sea salt and pepper to taste

To Serve (optional)

Green salad and cucumber or vegetables of choice

Method

Brush the racks of lamb with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Scatter the mustard seeds and oregano on a plate and press the meat side of the lamb into the mixture to coat. Cover and refrigerate 1–2 hours or overnight.

To make the herb vinegar, place the herbs, vinegar and lemon zest in a food processor and process for a few seconds just to combine. Pour into a jar or small bowl and set aside.

To make the fries, preheat oven to 400°F. Brush the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place on an oven tray and bake for 25–30 minutes or until browned and crisp.

When the potatoes have been in the oven for 10 minutes, place lamb racks in a roasting pan meat side up and roast for 12–15 minutes for medium-rare, which will be the most tender and moist, or until cooked as preferred. For medium-rare, the meat will be browned and still springy when pressed. The internal temperature will be 130–140°F.

Transfer to a warm plate, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for 5 minutes. Serve the racks with the oven fries, herb vinegar and, if desired, a salad.

Cooking Tip:

Prefer your meat with a crispier crust? Try searing it until lightly browned before placing it in the oven. Just remember to adjust your cooking time—about 7–10 minutes for medium-rare, or until the internal temperature reaches 130–140°F.

Lamb, Cucumber and Watercress Salad

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Cooking with spring produce? Think “the more the merrier.” Fantastic on their own, many of the season’s fresh fruits and veggies also play deliciously well together. We’re talking spinach and mushrooms, strawberry and rhubarb, and so on—and then there’s how they taste with juicy Australian Lamb. Nom, nom.  

Here’s a great-tasting, lamb-friendly combination that may not have come to mind: a watercress, fennel and cucumber salad. Now, if the mention of watercress brings to mind dainty English tea sandwiches—or if you interpret “salad” as “rabbit food"—give this mind-changing recipe a shot. A complete, flavorful spring meal will be your reward, along with a host of nutritional perks. Antioxidants? Vitamins? Minerals? All in here. Tea parties and rabbits? Nope, just a smoky barbie, a tender leg of Australian Lamb and lots of flavor. Enjoy!    

Servings  

4-6  

Australian Lamb Ingredients

  • 1 Australian Lamb leg, boneless 
  • 2 tablespoons coarse sea or kosher salt 
  • 2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper 
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano leaves 
  • Olive oil 

Salad Ingredients  

  • 2 Persian or ½ English cucumber 
  • ½ bulb fennel (anise), white part only 
  • 2 bunches watercress, leaves separated from roots 
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • 1 lemon 
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste 

Method  

Remove netting and open leg of lamb. Pound to around 1- to 2-inch thickness. Season with salt, pepper and oregano. Cover and refrigerate 30 minutes to 1 hour, or overnight for a more “cured” flavor.

Drain away excess juices and pat lamb dry with a paper towel, wiping off excess seasoning. Allow to come to room temperature, then brush generously with olive oil. Preheat grill or barbecue to medium high and add remaining oil.

Add lamb to the grill and brown on all sides, then continue to barbecue, turning occasionally for 10-20 minutes, depending on thickness. The lamb can be finished in a covered grill or 350°F oven. Transfer to clean platter, cover loosely with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes.  

For the salad, cut cucumber and fennel in half lengthwise and slice as thinly as possible. For paper-thin slices, use a vegetable peeler or mandolin. Place in large bowl with watercress leaves.

Just before serving, whisk together the oil, juice of ½ of the lemon, mustard, and season to taste. Toss through the salad.  

Place salad on large platter or individual plates. Slice desired amount of lamb thinly across the grain and arrange over salad. Squeeze over extra lemon juice, or lemon-infused oil.   

Toss the salad with half of the dressing and serve with the chops. Drizzle the chops with the rest of the dressing.

Leg Versus Rack: Roasting Australian Lamb

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Roasting is a dry heat cooking method often used for large, tender cuts. It makes a melt-in-your-mouth Easter centerpiece and creates an oven-warm, fantastic-smelling atmosphere inside your home. Prior to this cozy scenario, though, you'll likely face The Great Roast Lamb Debate– leg of lamb versus rack of lamb.

We'll warn you– choosing between these crowd-pleasing cuts can be difficult! Watch this video to learn roasting basics—and read on to learn more about these two Aussie lamb stars.

The Cuts

From the hindquarter, leg of lamb can be a whole leg with sirloin attached, partly boned or a center cut roast. It can be rolled and tied, butterflied, boned or prepared whole. Chef Stephen uses an easy-carve leg (exactly what it sounds like), with the large hock bone left in the meat.

Lamb rack comes from the front/middle section, from the saddle through the eye muscle. It can be frenched (with fat and tissue between bones removed), capoffed (with fat cap removed) or fully denuded (all fat removed). Rib chops are single or double chops cut from the rack.

Cooking Your Leg of Lamb

Chef Stephen seasons his lamb with a classic salt, pepper and rosemary mix. As he demonstrates, one advantage of a lamb leg is that it can also be stuffed with garlic (or, as in this month's featured recipe), shallots and thyme.

A 2.2-lb leg like Chef Stephen's takes about 45 minutes at 350F to cook to medium. A larger bone-in leg will take about 1 hour and 40 minutes to reach medium rare. For the richest flavor, try slow roasting at 250–300°F for 3–4 hours, in a pan of flavorsome liquid. Be sure to factor about 10–15 minutes resting time into your total cook time.

Cooking Your Rack

Like leg of lamb, tender, mild-flavored rack of lamb requires little seasoning. One advantage of a rack is that it's easy to pan-sear prior to roasting, a means of reducing roasting time, sealing in the meat juices and creating a crisp, fabulously caramelized crust.

After searing your rack for about three minutes per side, roast it fat side up at a high heat (375–425°F) for 13–15 minutes for medium rare (where it'll be the most tender and moist). The meat will still be springy when pressed. If you're searing your rack, simply increase roast time and lower the oven temperature—about 30 minutes at 400°F for medium rare. As with a leg, allow for resting time—about 5–10 minutes.

On the Plate

Economical and great for leftovers, a leg of lamb serves at least six. As you see in the video, hearty side dishes like potatoes and veggies can be cooked alongside the meat, for a flavor-packed, one-pan meal.

A medium (8-rib) rack of lamb typically serves 2–3. While you're less likely to see side dishes roasted alongside a rack, its impressive presentation recoups what it may lack in one-pan meal-ness—hence rack of lamb's wildly popular presence on restaurant menus. Pair yours with everything from fresh spring salads to savory vegetables and grains.

Decision Time

Roasting lamb this Easter? Let us know which cut you choose!