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Esurientes - The Comfort Zone

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Worthy Is The Lamb...!



..that was slain!...
(apologies to G F Handel and Revelations.....)
I made some comments recently, somewhere, about the Australian fondness for lamb. It's been said that for a very long time Australia's economy 'rode on the sheeps' back' (which included a lot of wool, too), and all good Aussie families grew up on lamb chops on the barbie and roast Lamb for family dinners. Lamb (or more usually, mutton) was the most affordable meat in this country for a very long time.

Nowdays lamb is more expensive, and not the bargain meat it once was, which is due to a number of economic and climatic reasons amongst others. It also has to compete with beef and chicken, which are both easily affordable. But its popularity hasn't changed at all; Australians still really love their lamb! Especially young Spring lamb; Mutton and hogget are almost impossible to buy any longer. I'm still surprised when I hear of people in other countries who don't eat it, or have never tried it (especially USA...I think the beef lobby has a real stronghold there) and I read somewhere that in some countries lamb would be more popular if people knew how to cook it. But it's easy! Especially on a grill or pan; just cook it like a steak to the same degree of doneness you like your steak. In fact, treating it in a similar way as beef is pretty standard, I think.

Anyway, last night I had the most spectacular lamb chops I can remember in a long time. They were lamb rib chops crusted with a savoury herby topping and baked in the oven. These were astoundingly good lamb chops. The were the Lamb Chops of Perfection! (imagine that in a Hollywood movie-theatre commercial voice!) We used lamb rib chops, which have a convenient little handle to hold when you're tearing every little shred of meat and crispy skin off the bone...mmmmm.

Get your lamb chops -they don't have to be rib chops like above; those gorgeous thick loin chops with the little tails would be excellent too (but not those nasty BBQ chops) and make up a topping of breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, garlic, fresh sage, salt, pepper & a little olive oil to moisten and press onto the chops. Place in a hot oven for about 20 minutes until the skin is crisp and golden and the inside is pink and juicy inside (you never want to overcook lamb...but maybe that's just my preference). Really, these were one of those food-defining moments where everything just comes together and you think 'wow!'. Oh yeah, and we had some crisp vegetables and rice with them...but they were nothing exciting compared to the Glory Of The Lamb (bonus points to any of you who immediately started humming "Worthy Is The Lamb that was slain" from Handel's Messiah. lol!)
Okay, I know the plating above is nothing special, but I was really hungry and not going to wait a minute longer to eat!

6 Comments:

  • Oh yes, the taste of lamb (who takes away sins - and that will make me burn in hell for the sacrilege) which we unfortunately do not have in regular marketplaces, except in the highlands. To eat imported lamb here is a status symbol, if only because of the price. We don't have native species, and the few imported flocks are bred on high altitudes, not of commercial quantity.

    And now because of your post, I need to find some of that hard to find meat. Mmmmmm...

    By Anonymous Karen, at 2/24/2005 03:54:00 am  

  • Oooh, I *love* lamb! We had a leg of lamb for Christmas dinner this year and it was awesome, in every way. This sounds great, too- I'll have to give it a try.

    Moira

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 2/24/2005 10:47:00 am  

  • Karen - I remember travelling in Asia and noticing when lamb was on the menu that it was always noted "Australian lamb" or "New Zealand Lamb" (NZ usually - theirs is seen to be even better. Incidentally, did you know that there are 3 sheep to every human in New Zealand??!)
    It's interesting to know that you have highland sheep in the Philippines..it's the type of thing I associate with Scotland! :-)
    Moira - roast lamb for Christmas is a fabulous idea. Good on you! We always would have it when my dad would come back from business overseas; he couldn't wait to come home to a home cooked roast and fresh vegetables.

    By Blogger Niki, at 2/24/2005 02:31:00 pm  

  • Well, the sheep are in the mountains - not really highland species, because those are the only places where the climate is cool enough for them. And even then they don't look anything like Mary's pet, but somewhat like Little Bo-Peep's lost herd - dingy.

    Oh yes, an Aussie friend told me obscene things about New Zealanders and sheep. Not fit for a food blog, hehehe!

    By Anonymous Karen, at 2/24/2005 05:32:00 pm  

  • Mm! That sounds, and looks, delicious! Next time I find some decent chops, I'll try it out! For some reason, we get some weird cuts over here, and I always have a hard time figuring out what to buy. I'm in dire need of a friendly butcher, that's for sure! :)

    By Blogger Anne, at 2/25/2005 06:55:00 pm  

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