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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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.
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Confit Lamb Shoulder with Polenta and Brussels Sprouts

Braising lamb shoulder in garlic-infused oil yields a super-tender, falling-off-the-bone bite of meat. Drizzle leftover braising oil on on each plate for a delicious garnish. If the polenta begins to clump as it sits, simply vigorously whisk it back to a smooth and creamy texture.
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Chermoula-Grilled Porterhouse Lamb Chops

Chermoula is a North African condiment with countless variations. This version is slightly smoky with a touch of heat and acid to complement the gamey flavors in lamb.
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Lamb Chops with Mango Honey

A rack of lamb benefits from a long marination; go overnight if you can for the deepest flavor. Be sure to finish with a sprinkling of flaky sea salt and plenty of mango honey.
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Spiced Lamb Kebabs with 
Fresh Herbs

For the one-year anniversary of her company, Diaspora Co., Sana Javeri Kadri and her supporters prepared a turmeric-spiced banquet. You can buy her ruddy, flavorful ground turmeric online at diasporaco.com. In this recipe, aromatic lamb and creamy chickpeas soften into a crispy, moist patty once cooked. Look for chana dal and asafoetida at local Indian grocers or online.“These pan-fried lamb and chickpea patties are an ode to my Gujarati Muslim heritage on my father’s side,” Javeri Kadri says. They’re stuffed with onions and herbs, then cooked and served with big scoops of fresh green chutney and yogurt. To make them ahead of time, prepare the kebabs through step 4, then freeze for up to 1 month, thawing fully before proceeding. You can find chana dal and asafoetida powder in Indian markets or online.
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Spicy Cumin Lamb Meatballs


Nothing compares to the flavor of meat the day it was ground, and grinding meat at home allows you to choose your own flavors. Master this meatball recipe to arm yourself with an easy dinner solution for any weeknight. With a crisp crust and tender interior, these cumin-scented meatballs feel at home in Mexican, Middle Eastern, and Indian recipes. To use store-bought ground lamb, substitute short-grain rice for the long-grain white rice to get the best texture.
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More Lamb

Lamb Barbacoa with Masala Adobo

For this dish, chefs Saqib Keval and Norma Listman of Masala y Maíz in Mexico City draw from Indian and Mexican cooking techniques for a one-of-a-kind flavor profile. The restaurant version uses bone-in lamb wrapped in maguey leaves. We found that you can cook the dish in a smaller Dutch oven if you use boneless lamb and omit the leaves—the results are just as spectacular. Fenugreek seeds, available online or at specialty stores, add complexity and a light sweetness to Indian cooking.
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Lamb Leg Steak With Pistachio Gremolata And Marsala Onions

At Tavernetta in Denver, Colorado, chef Ian Wortham’s tender and smoky grilled lamb steak—topped with a lemony pistachio gremolata, Cipollini onions caramelized in Marsala wine, and a garlicky caper dressing—is a stunning, mostly make-ahead main course. Wortham uses a cross-cut slice of leg, which he tenderizes with a Jaccard, a sharp-toothed butcher’s tool. (We love the easy-to-clean Bladed Meat Tenderizer from OXO, $20, amazon.com). Tender, but with the richness and flavor of a working muscle, Wortham says a lamb steak is one of the best cuts to cook in the summer, but he advises, “Be sure to thoroughly tenderize the steak, which will take four to five passes.”
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Lamb Fillets with Favas and Spring Vegetables

Lamb rump, also known as chump chop or lamb sirloin fillet, is a tender and succulent cut of meat. At The Pig Brockenhurst in England, chef James Golding serves it with buttery spring vegetables and mint. Slideshow: More Lamb Recipes