My dear younger brother, Austin, once wrote an ode to Taco Bell that went something like this:
Tacos, tacos, a meat-filled shell.
My favorite come from Taco Bell.
I’d eat them for breakfast, I’d eat them for lunch,
I’d eat them for dinner–anytime I munch!
Shall I have the supreme
With tomatoes and sour cream?
Or maybe the plain
Which is quite lame?
And . . . I can’t remember the rest. Yes, dear readers, this was many, many moons ago. Austin is now a distinguished college student with graduate school aspirations. But this lovely little poem, an endearing token of his childhood values (read: bad, greasy food), has become something of a family legend. Surely you can see why. Perhaps I’ll dig up the original hand-written copy and frame it for him for his twentieth birthday.
Until that glorious day, I’d like to pay him the sincerest flattery: imitation. Behold, an ode to my new favorite meat:
Lamb, lamb, from a grass-fed sheep,
My favorite comes from Paidom Meat.
I eat it leftover for breakfast and also for lunch,
I eat it fresh-made for dinner–anytime I munch!
Shall I grill it on high
And watch it caramelize?
Or stew it with beans
Till it’s tender and mean?
Either way I’m a winner
When it’s lamb for my dinner.
Don’t you dare giggle. This is serious art. Very serious.
And now you know why I don’t write poetry anymore. Just prose.
Anyway, for some serious food and serious pleasure, please, please try this recipe for lamb patties. Your taste buds will dance for joy, and–who knows?–you might find yourself writing inane odes to lamb too.
I know. Most of us didn’t grow up eating much lamb. I’ve only recently begun enjoying it regularly. Lamb’s just not so popular in Les Etats-Unis. But it should be. I recently read an article in Newsweek on this very topic. In “Pass the Mint Jelly All Year,” Julia Reed writes about her childhood memories of eating lamb twice a week at her grandmother’s house, and about her subsequent realization that this was abnormal. By the end of the 20th century, she says, average annual lamb consumption per American was less than one pound. “Everybody eats more lamb than we do,” Reed continues. “In Australia, New Zealand and Kuwait, the per capita consumption is 40 pounds. In Greece, it’s 30, and in England, Ireland and Spain, it’s about 14. They all know what we’re missing: lamb is as high in protein, iron and B vitamins as beef, but lower in fat.”
Yup, it’s true. For more information on lamb’s nutritional greatness, visit The World’s Healthiest Foods. One very crucial point that both of these sources ignore, however, is the importance of buying grass-fed lamb. Even if it’s not organic, buy it grass-fed. Unless otherwise labelled, lamb (and beef too) is always grain fed, which leads to an unhealthy balance of fats. Grass-fed meats are much leaner than grain-fed meats (so take that standardize nutrition information with a grain of salt). They are also much higher in Omega-3 fatty acids, which are so essential for brain health, baby formation, and cell wall integrity. My favorite source for lamb and beef is Paidom, an organic, grass-feeding ranch in Texas that delivers outstanding meats at affordable prices. In fact, I can buy lean, organic beef and lamb from them much more inexpensively than I can buy organic chicken breasts in my grocery store.
A tip for introducing lamb to your family and friends: don’t tell them what it is. It’s that simple. I do this regularly. I use this recipe because it’s so flavorful and accessible, and I wait until after they’ve tried it and loved it to tell them that it’s lamb. As long people don’t have the opportunity to make up their minds before-hand, they like it. This recipe has the added bonus of looking exactly like grilled hamburgers, so even its appearance isn’t suspicious.
I serve these patties with fattoush, hummus, and/or my Lemon Lentil Soup. They’re also great for making in bulk and freezing individually. My husband and I just toss a couple into the fridge for thawing, then heat them up in our toaster oven.
Awesome Grilled Lamb Burgers
(from a recipe published by CHEYENNIGANS on www.allrecipes.com)
1 pound ground lamb
3 green onions, minced (a comparable amount of regular onion works too)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tablespoon curry powder (just the basic stuff, nothing fancy)
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon high quality sea salt
Preheat grill on high.
Mix all ingredients in a bowl, then form into 4 patties.
Lightly oil the grill grate. Grill patties 4 minutes on each side, or until browned, fragrant, and fabulous.
Write an ode.