I love lamb! Although getting lamb here in Saskatchewan has been a bit of a headache due to most lamb raised here being sent off to Alberta for slaughter and to be shipped off to elsewhere.
The last couple of years has seen the same Saskatchewan lamb being shipped back via the grocery stores as “Albertan” lamb because its slaughtered there which seems very odd to me.
There’s also been a few local farms which have been producing lamb and one of those is Fruition Orchard Family Farm located East of Saskatoon.
I met Carmen (co-owner) originally at the farmers market here in Saskatoon and to cut a long story short I bartered some of her product to cater for her birthday party which seemed like a great deal to me.
This was a unique experience to cook on a farm and in a converted church and at some point lamb became the topic and I was thrilled to hear lamb was going to be on the cards at some point.
Well fast forward to today and I finally got my hands on the canadian arcott and katahdin (hair sheep) cross, well a piece of it anyway.
These lamb are sent out to pasture in the summer and fed a diet of local hay and small amounts of grain in the winter, now this is the benefit of locally raised meat, you can ask the farmer what they ate, where they sleep what their favourite music is and if you fancy it you can even meet them in person!
Having been on the farm I can say its just how you imagine a farm to be, barns, open pasture and people who care about the animals they raise.
Lamb seems to have a bad rep around here as most people I meet cringe a bit when I mention eating lamb to them but I think this is a memory of eating an older lamb from years past which as the animal ages can get a much stronger taste and require some pretty serious slow cooking to tenderize.
This is lovely young lamb which you can tell by the size of the rack and the colour of the meat which is very milky and with little to no fat in or around the meat.

So what did I decide to do with this lamb then? well firstly when dealing with a product that has been treated so well when being raised you need to do the same as a Chef when cooking it so I opted for flavours that will compliment and enhance the meat and not over powering it.
Its almost the end of summer coming into fall pretty soon so a cross over dish of summer and Fall is they way my thoughts went.
I started by French trimming the rack and taking all the trim to use for a quick stock, always use every scrap of the product.
Taking fresh mint, parsley and rosemary adding to a food processor with some panko crumbs and some soft butter I blitzed this into scented crumbs.
The lamb was seasoned and seared in a hot frying pan then painted with Dijon mustard and dipped into the fragrant crumbs, it was now ready for the oven.
My accompanying dishes sort of evolved as I got going, I had parsnips which were peeled and boiled then drained and pureed with honey, salt and pepper until as smooth as possible.
Parsnips to me are usually a sign that the seasons are changing and they add a velvety sweet texture to the dish.
Fondant potatoes are a potato cooked in butter and stock and this one was a tomato stock which adds colour.
I decided on blackcurrant for a fruity addition as I had a bottle of blackcurrant wine in the fridge which was added to the lamb stock and reduced until syrupy, some of this liquid had cream added and became a “foam” because that’s trendy right now lol
I also had some baby carrots and cherry tomatoes from my garden so these got added to the dish to give a real summer feel.
Now bare in mind I not only prepare the food and do my own stunts but I also take the photos which being a novice is a steep learning curve, and running between plating the food and photographing the food should be an Olympic sport.
So in the end I was very pleased with both the food and the pictures, the lamb ate like soft butter and to be honest is usually much pinker but even though this sat in the oven for under seven minutes seem to be lacking in the blood department, possibly due to being slaughtered correctly? either way it tasted so good with the crunchy herby outside and the soft buttery meat with sweet parsnips and tart blackcurrant…What a perfect Sunday lunch

One Comment

  1. 8-24-2012

    Hey Simon, another great article. I will no longer fear lamb :

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