Valley Bounty: Lamb

The average American eats only about a half pound of lamb per year — compare that with around fifty pounds of beef and close to ninety pounds of chicken, and it’s pretty clear that lamb has nowhere near the place of prominence in American diets as it does in other regional diets around the world. There are a host of historical and economic factors that contribute to this, as well as changing popular tastes over time (I have more than one relative with bad memories of being served boiled lamb with mint jelly as a kid that have scared them off lamb well into adulthood). But fresh, local lamb is delicious when prepared well, and could be a welcome addition to many of our tables if we give it a chance.

I like to make a simple lamb stew in the spring: sauté lamb stew meat (which is usually easy to find at farmers’ markets) with salt and pepper in a bit of olive oil to brown the outside, then add in some chopped onions and carrots until the onions turn translucent. Reduce the heat to medium, add broth, tomato paste, and fresh parsley, and simmer until the lamb is cooked through. You can add spices like cumin or cinnamon to try different variations on this basic recipe.

Valley Bounty is written by Brian Snell of CISA (Community Involved in Sustaining Agriculture)