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Lamb Recipes



It’s a shame that lamb is typically reserved for special occasions like Easter and Passover dinner. This versatile protein can be cooked in any number of styles and makes an easy weeknight meal. Do you like pork chops? Try lamb chops—tender cuts from the rib, shoulder or loin that can be roasted or pan-cooked just like a pork chop or steak. Try subbing in ground lamb for ground beef, or use it to make Mediterranean favorites like moussaka and lamb meatballs. Looking for a make-ahead meal? Try stewing lamb. It holds up well in slow cookers and makes delicious, freezable stews and braises. Whether you’re making lamb the star of your holiday feast or you simply want to change up your weeknight routine, the F&W guide to lamb has you covered, with recipes for fast lamb chops, leg of lamb, grilled lamb and more.

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Lamb Shoulder Chops with Herb and Sunflower Seed Salad

Lamb shoulder chops cook quickly; they’re a very forgiving cut that’s perfect for outdoor grilling. Here, Justin Chapple pairs the grilled lamb with a simple salad of parsley, cilantro, dill, mint, chives, and crunchy sunflower seeds—the tender herbs are a fresh foil for the lamb. Pick up one bunch of chives and two bunches each of parsley, cilantro, dill, and mint for the herb salad.

I Wasn't a Fan of Lamb Chops Until I Made These Lamb Chops

Rubbed with capers, anchovies, and garlic and paired with a salsa verde, reverse-seared double-cut lamb chops make for a low-lift weeknight meal that still feels fancy.

Double-Cut Lamb Chops with Garlic-Caper Rub

Punchy anchovies and garlic mellow during their short cook time, adding umami to double-cut lamb chops. Reverse-searing using the broiler results in perfectly cooked lamb with a crispy exterior; use a probe thermometer to monitor the internal temperature for best results. Serve the carved chops over cooked orzo to balance out the meal. Christopher Bates of Element Winery in New York recommends a cool-climate Syrah from the Finger Lakes or Northern Rhône to pair with the lamb chops. "I love amplifying it with savory, briny flavors like capers,” says Bates.

Dhansak

In this family recipe for a classic Parsi dish, lamb shoulder is slowly tenderized into a rich braise, thickened with pigeon pea dal, and deeply flavored with vibrant green chutney, tangy tomato achaar, and dhansak masala. Use leftover kachumber on fish tacos or grilled pork chops.

Banana Leaf-Wrapped Lamb Shank Tamales with Morita Chile Salsa

These smoky braised-lamb tamales, favorite at event producer Paola Briseño González's holiday tamale parties, get a pop of freshness from bright cilantro-onion relish, while a wrapper of banana leaves perfumes the masa with a softly sweet aroma as they steam. The banana leaf wrappers also yield tamales with a dense, custard-like texture. The rich, slow-cooked flavor of lamb shanks is the perfect partner for the intense smokiness of morita chiles; substitute chipotles in a pinch.

Lamb Martabak

This martabak is one of Lara Lee’s favorite snacks from her Indonesian cookbook Coconut & Sambal. The traditional version is made with a thin, translucent sheet of oiled homemade dough that is pan-fried in a cast-iron pan, but for easy entertaining, Lee recommends using spring roll wrappers. Lamb martabak is a fantastic canapé or appetizer to kick-start a dinner party. It’s best eaten immediately and served with sambal on the side for dipping.
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Roasted Lamb Chops with Brown Sugar-Rum Glaze

With plenty of garlic and rubbed sage to brighten savory, gamey lamb, these roasted chops are bold and balanced. If the glaze begins to set before serving, gently warm it over low heat. Chef and cookbook author Alexander Smalls serves these lamb chops at his epic dinner parties at his apartment in Harlem.

Grilled Rack of Lamb with Demi-Glace Butter

A thick paste of garlic, shallots, and herbs infuses this lamb with bold flavor; marinate overnight for best results. Don’t skip the Demi-Butter and the Balsamic Glaze; both recipes come together quickly, can be made ahead, and add game-changing flavor to this epic summer feast.

Campfire Lamb Peka

Last summer, I had the good fortune to travel with my partner to Croatia. We spent two weeks traversing the coastline of Croatia, where, in a cinderblock cabin surrounded by olive trees outside the Istrian town of Pula, Croatia, we got a lesson in how to make Croatia’s most prized dish, peka. Peka is the name for both the bell-shaped, domed cooking vessel made of cast iron and the meal that is prepared in it. The process for making peka is ancient and involves placing the pan over a bed of glowing coal embers and scooping more embers on top of the domed lid to create an oven-like environment where meats or seafood and vegetables are slow-roasted inside.Our teacher was Nikola of Eat Istria, and our day began at the market in Pula, where Nikola led me and my partner from stall to stall to collect ingredients. We were asked if we preferred lamb necks or veal chops. Perhaps octopus? We chose lamb, and that meant a stop at the vegetable stand for potatoes, carrots, onions, and garlic to accompany.At the cabin, we prepped the ingredients with minimal fuss, roughly cutting the carrots and onions, leaving the potatoes and garlic cloves whole, and layering them in the base of the dish with the lamb on top so the fat and juices would baste them throughout cooking. We plucked needles from a handful of rosemary sprigs snipped from the yard and doused the whole thing in white wine and a luxurious amount of extra-virgin olive oil that created a heady sauce of sorts in the bottom of the dish.As Nikola built a campfire on the side of a stone wall, he explained that we would wait for the fire to die down and then surround the peka with the residual ashy embers. These small chunks of coal produce just the right amount of heat to slowly cook the meal over the course of an hour or two. Once the embers were ready, we carried the weighty peka from the kitchen to the bed of coals and opened some local wines to while away the afternoon, patiently awaiting our one-pot feast.A waft of scented steam roared from the pot as Nikola lifted the dome to reveal the gloriously browned lamb necks. We peeked in and spied potatoes and carrots that were so dark in spots they were nearly burnt, but in a good way. The olive oil at the bottom was still bubbling and spitting as we gathered around the weathered wood table under a vine-covered pergola.Many of the homes we saw in Croatia had an outdoor fireplace for live-fire cooking—a centerpiece of the home, where meals are still made and families still gather. We spent the next few hours lingering at the table, talking about life in Croatia, politics, food—and most of all, wine. The large peninsula of Istria where our meal took place makes up Croatia’s northern coast; it is known for its gastronomic riches, including some of the best wines in the country. We tasted broody reds made from indigenous grapes like Teran, Refosco, and Borgonja and complex whites made from Malvasia. These regional varieties all matched perfectly with the meal, naturally, and we found the offerings from Piquentum particularly good.That experience inspired me to cook over a fire more often this past year. It makes me feel more connected to the elemental act of preparing food and sharing it with others, and it satisfies the soul the way no modern method can. For convenience, I’ve adapted this recipe to be prepared using a charcoal grill, as well as using your oven. But if you have the time, I encourage you to lean into tradition: build a fire, and settle in for a long, slow roast. It will be an experience neither you nor your guests will soon forget.