Lamb is leaner than ever which is good news for our arteries, but bad news if you don’t cook it properly. Many thermometers and older recipes recommend an internal temperature of 180° to 185°F. However, because most of the fat on lamb is external, at that temperature, the meat will be tough and dry. For best results, cook the meat until pink on the inside, which is at 145° for medium-rare or 140° for medium.
Our first menu is an easy and elegant one. We roast a rack of lamb coated with caramelized onions, a bit of mustard, and bread crumbs. We French the lamb to cut down on fat and serve it with a mélange of green beans sautéed with mushrooms and tomatoes, along with roasted new potatoes. What could be better? To round out this meal add your favorite berries topped with a bit of non-fat sour cream and sugar substitute.
Our second lamb dish is a savory stew cooked in the crockpot – a kitchen appliance that we’ll be using more and more since it doesn’t heat up the kitchen. Another plus is since the unit has a ceramic pot that comes out, the stew ingredients can be assembled the night before and refrigerated. The next morning, put the ceramic pot into the heating element and turn it on.
Dinner is cooking while you work or play. You just have to make the spinach salad, wash and chill some Bing Cherries (their season lasts the four weeks of May and the first week of June), and dinner’s done. For those of us counting carbs, 12 of these big beauties have 15 grams of carbohydrate and equal 1 carbohydrate (fruit) exchange.
Our third meal features easy-to-make shish kebobs, using boneless lamb cut from the leg. The lamb needs at least 4 hours to marinate in a highly seasoned lime juice mixture, so start the dish right after lunch or earlier in the day.
Once marinated, it’s then threaded onto skewers with green bell pepper, fresh pineapple, and scallions. Served over a bed of steamed basmati rice, the lamb kebobs need a simple salad (ours is an interesting cucumber and mango combination) and fresh grapes to complete the meal.
Our last menu makes use of lean ground lamb, cooked with onions, corn, and tomatoes in a savory Shepherd’s Pie. Another time, you could use ground sirloin or ground turkey in the recipes instead of the lamb.
To complete the meal, make a tossed salad and offer a bowl of juicy fresh apricots for dessert. Apricots also hit our markets in May and the season is too short for us. A good source of potassium, apricots are high in vitamins A (beta-carotene) and C. Four (4) medium apricots equal 1 carbohydrate exchange or 15 grams of carbohydrate.