The spouse and I ran into some good fortune a few weeks ago. While driving back down the mountain where we went to pick apples at an organic farm, I thought it would be a great idea to stop in at a new brewery in the area: https://www.facebook.com/chuckalek. We enjoyed a few tastes of their English style beers while there. I happened to notice that next door was a butcher shop. It’s so awesome to find one of these when so much of our meats come packaged in plastic wrap at the grocers.
So we popped in to see what they had to offer. Wow, lots of great fresh meats, but in the frozen cases were goat, pheasant, rabbit, and so on. We inquired about the availability of fresh specialty meats such as goat or lamb. A quick phone call by the butcher to a local rancher, and we had found a lamb ready to be slaughtered. Don’t groan! Where do you think those plastic wrapped packages of meat come from? Money was exchanged and about a week later we picked up our box of delicious cuts of our lamb.
It’s all we can do not to reach into the freezer every night and cook up all that great lamb tastiness, but we want that little lamb’s sacrifice to be extended for as long as possible, a little piece here and a little piece there.
We asked the butcher for as much of the offal as could be saved, so we have the lamb’s head ready to be roasted for pre-Thanksgiving tapas and the liver waiting for the right recipe (which I’m determined that my liver-hating husband will love; no sauteed onions here).
This past Saturday we pulled out the heart (bigger than we thought!) and the kidneys. Should we prep them like we do for sweetbreads? We decided no, but we also decided we would use two preparations.
About 40 minutes into roasting and basting the lamb heart looked beautifully brown and delicious.
It doesn’t taste quite as strong as beef heart (I sliced it thinly), and it has a chewy texture a little like a chicken gizzard.
We used a simple preparation for the kidneys: olive oil, salt and pepper. We considered using an herb like rosemary or an herb oil, but we wanted to taste the true flavor of the kidney. The kidneys were threaded on skewers and thrown on the grill. (Oops, no photos! Munched them down too quickly!) The texture was quite soft, and similar to the texture of sweetbreads. They tasted like, well, offal, with an unusual sweet aftertaste. Hmmm! Interesting!
Can’t wait to try the lamb head and the liver. Even though most of my mom’s older cookbooks suggest a brine for the head, I’m thinking of simply roasting it. Any ideas?
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