Spring Lamb … What’s Not to Love?

spring lamb

Photos: Courtesy of American Lamb Board

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Spring and summer are the perfect times to showcase lamb on your family or entertaining menus. It’s nutritious, easy to prepare, and so delicious! What’s not to love?

Lamb is Nutritious

Lamb is the perfect healthy choice as it is packed with protein, zinc, selenium, riboflavin, niacin, and vitamin B12, and a good source of iron and vitamin B6.

A 3-ounce serving of lamb has only 160 calories, 100 grams of total fat, 4.5 grams of saturated fat, and 95 MG of cholesterol. Lamb should not be confused with mutton which is meat from a sheep over the age of one year. Meat from a sheep under 12 months old is lamb.

How to Cook and Carve Lamb

To really enjoy the delicate flavor of lamb, it is best cooked to medium-rare, around 130 F. to 135 F., allowing it to rise to 145 F. For medium-rare, cook to 160˚F, and for well done, 170˚F.

Always carve lamb against the grain.

Which Cut Should I Buy?

Some of the more popular cuts are leg, loin, and shoulder.

If you are lucky to find small racks of lamb in your supermarket, they are super easy to prepare and impressive to serve. Simply coat the lamb with an herby mustard mixture and roast at 450 F. for 20 minutes for rare and 25 for medium-rare.

Lamb shish kabob is so simple to do on the grill. Just marinate cubes of lamb string on skewers, and grill.

Loin lamb chops are a snap either on the grill, in a skillet, or under the broiler.

Shoulder lamb chops are nice to grill if marinated first. Long, slow cooking of shoulder lamb chops results in tender meat “falling off the bone.” A slow cooker or Instant Pot® would be perfect for this cut.

Lamb shanks are also a great choice for the slow cooker or Instant Pot®. Try them in stews and curry, braised in wine, in a ragu, or even tacos.

Substitute lamb spareribs for pork the next time you are in the mood for finger-lickin’ ribs.

Classic Lamb Recipes to Try

Here are two classic recipes to enjoy this season, courtesy of the American Lamb Board:




American Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Pan-Roasted Lemony Asparagus. Photo: Courtesy of American Lamb Board

Click here for the recipe: Harissa Roasted Leg of American Lamb Recipe Featured in Healthy Aging®Magazine

American Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Pan-Roasted Lemony Asparagus. Photo: Courtesy of American Lamb Board

American Lamb Chops with Rosemary and Pan-Roasted Lemony Asparagus

Makes 4 servings

For the Lemon Roasted Asparagus

2 pounds fresh asparagus
4 large cloves garlic
1/2 teaspoon salt
Generous sprinkle black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 large lemons

For the Lamb Chops

8 medium American lamb loin chops
6 large cloves garlic
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 large lemon, juiced and zested
1/2 teaspoon salt
Generous pinch black pepper
1 1/2 tablespoon fresh rosemary, finely minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons salted butter

Mix together all the lamb ingredients in a large tupperware container. Add the lamb chops and rub with the marinade mixture. Secure the lid and marinate in the fridge for at least 1 hour or up to overnight before cooking. Let the lamb sit at room temperature for 5 minutes before cooking.

Roast the Asparagus:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Rinse, dry, and trim the ends of your asparagus. Slice one of the lemons into thin slices. Toss the asparagus all the asparagus ingredients, and a squeeze of lemon juice from the second lemon. Divide between two parchment-paper lined baking sheets. Roast for 8-13 minutes, depending on how tender you want the asparagus to be.

Cook the Lamb Chops:

While the asparagus roasts, cook your lamb. Melt the butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 4 of the lamb chops at a time, and cook 4-6 minutes, until there’s a nice dark crust on the bottom. Flip, and repeat, using a meat thermometer to check for doneness. We’re looking for 145 degrees F for medium-rare chops, 160 for medium, and 170 for well done. Make sure to stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and stick if halfway through the meat – don’t let it touch any bones or the pan, for an accurate reading.

Once they’re done, set aside on a clean plate and cover with foil for 3 minutes to keep warm.

Serve and Store:

Serve the lemony asparagus and lamb together. Keep leftovers in the fridge for 4-5 days.

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