Ontario lamb is fresh, lean, tender, mild and easy to cook! It's an excellent source of protein, iron and B vitamins. Because lamb isn’t marbled like beef, health-conscious cooks can easily trim off the fat.
A nice pink color is the best to look for.
At one time, all lambs were born in the spring. Today, they're raised year round.
When purchasing fresh Ontario lamb, look for a light to dark pink colour with a firm, fine-grained texture and creamy white fat.
As a general rule, buy 3 to 6 oz (100- 175 g) of boneless lamb or 8 to 12 oz (225- 350 g) bone-in lamb per person.
Store fresh lamb cuts in the coolest part of your refrigerator up to 3 days, loosely covered with wax paper.
Store ground lamb no more than 2 days.
Cover and refrigerate cooked lamb for up to 5 days.
For longer storage, wrap tightly and freeze up to 8 months for roasts, 5 months for chops and 3 months for ground lamb and organ meats.
Thaw frozen lamb in the refrigerator, not on the counter.
Large cuts of lamb may have a thin, paper-like covering of creamy white fat, called the fell. Leave it on roasts to seal in juices while cooking, but peel it off other cuts to prevent the meat from curling when cooked.
Smaller cuts such as chops and boneless loins require only salt and pepper and a quick pan-fry or turn on the barbecue. Loin and rib chops are the most tender.
Lamb racks, roasted at 400°F (200°C) for 20 to 30 minutes, could come from a three-star restaurant. Allow 2 to 3 chops per serving.
Meaty shanks, braised slowly in a little liquid, are the ultimate winter comfort food.
As a general rule, roast lamb at 325°F (160°C) until the internal temperature reaches 140°F (60°C) for medium. Don’t overcook – lamb is tender, juicy and delicious when slightly pink in the middle. Serve piping hot on warmed plates.
Ground lamb makes juicy, flavourful burgers.
Shoulder cuts, less expensive with more fat and gristle, make excellent stews.
Ontario lamb is delicious with many seasonings. Just pick a country! Rosemary, basil, mint, thyme and curry are all classics. For extra flavour, make slits in a lamb roast before cooking and insert slivers of garlic, mint leaves or parsley sprigs.
Serve lamb with traditional mint sauce, red pepper jelly, tzatziki, teriyaki, barbeque sauce, maple syrup or cranberry sauce.
Lamb is one of the best meats to cook from a frozen state because it doesn’t get tough or dry.