May 13, 2013

That One Time I Killed a Lamb

Do you remember that one time I killed a lamb? Be neither, ...cause it already came to me dead! When my sister invited me over to help her boyfriend Joe, and their friend Paul butcher a whole lamb, I jumped at the opportunity! I love butchery and don't really get the opportunity to do it very often. I was ecstatic about bringing my toys out to play again.

I showed up that morning with two filet knives, one clever, one chef's knife and a diamond steel ready to play Dexter! The lamb came straight from Paul's dad's farm who took care of killing, hanging, shaving and gutting the lamb for us. God bless him because I don't think any of us would have been able to do it!

It was definitely a little overwhelming at first. but once I took off the first leg and butterflied the meat off the neck, I knew that lamb was in good hands. If you're wondering, the lamb did not smell, not even a whiff of anything "gamey". That smell often comes from New Zealand lamb which I'm not a huge fan of. 

Because the lamb was raised organically and was allowed to roam free on the farm, there wasn't a lot of meat on the bone. Which is fine because we were looking for quality over quantity. A majority of the meat was either kept on the bone for roasting, or turned into kabobs and spiedinis as per Joe and Paul's request.
My sister and I took a few pieces of the stomach (which was lined with silver skin) and tried to salvage it by turning them into rouladens. When you buy the whole animal, you get a better perception of value and Joe was definitely keen on using each and every part of the lamb. 

I started off by smearing some mustard and red pepper paste on the inside of the lamb, placed whatever veggies we had in the house, rolled it like a spring roll and pan seared them to get some colour and flavour. 
I removed the rolls, added some aromatic veggies (carrots, onions, & celery) and then de-glazed with red wine. Then I added the rolls back in, put a lid on it and let it simmer for about thirty minutes. I really wanted the meat to braise  and get a little more tender.
What came out where these beautiful little nuggets of tender juicy lamb links. I reduced the sauce a little further and thickened it with a few cubes of butter at the end. The kabobs also turned out beautifully as well. 

I can honestly say, I will never think of lamb the same way again! The meat was flavourful, and juicy! All it needed was just a few squeezes of lemon juice.  This experience definitely made me rethink the importance of farm to table cooking. To think this lamb was munching on grass a litte more than fourty eight hours ago and and now it's sitting in front of me swimming in a beautiful rich red wine sauce. I could distinctly taste the difference in freshness and flavour! I'll definitely be spending my summer shopping at local farmers markets.

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