Lamb meat. It is not known for certain when exactly the sheep were domesticated, but it is believed that this happened about 10 thousand years ago. For a long time, the inhabitants of Central Asia raised sheep for wool, milk and, of course, meat.
Therefore, it is not surprising that lamb has become the main ingredient in the traditional cuisine of most nomadic Mongolian, Turkic and Arab peoples. The meat of rams (sheep) is used in the preparation of both the first (bozbash, shurpa) and second courses (pilaf, shashlik, manti, beshbarmak).
Lamb meat is considered especially valuable, as it is the most tender and contains the minimum amount of fat. The meat of adults is valued much less – over time, it can become quite tough and acquire a characteristic aroma.
100 grams of lamb contains on average:
Proteins – 18.0 g;
Fat – 18.0 g;
Carbohydrates – 0 g
Despite the large number of useful properties of lamb, it should be remembered that it is not suitable for everyone. Doctors recommend excluding this type of meat from the diet for people who have problems with the gallbladder, liver, and kidneys. In addition, lamb is not advised to regularly eat for arthritis of the joints and gout. In case of gastritis or ulcers, this product should be included in the menu with extreme caution and only after consulting a doctor.
The benefits of lamb
The main advantage of lamb over the more popular pork and beef is its relatively low fat content. Lamb can be a real boon for people looking to lose weight and counting every calorie! In order to bring the weight back to normal, it is not necessary to completely abandon meat dishes – it is enough to replace high-calorie pork with dietary, easily digestible lamb meat.
Moreover, regular consumption of lamb reduces the risk of diabetes mellitus and has a beneficial effect on the cardiovascular system. The fluoride contained in this meat allows you to keep your teeth healthy and prevent the development of caries, and in folk medicine, lamb fat has established itself as an excellent remedy in the fight against colds.
Lamb harm (contraindications)
The use of lamb is permissible only if the person does not have problems with the gastrointestinal tract.
In this regard, it is highly undesirable to give mutton to children and the elderly, because in children the digestive system has not yet matured, and in the elderly it has already deteriorated.
In addition, Western medicine does not recommend eating lamb meat for those who suffer from any of the following diseases:
- stomach ulcer
- arthritis of the joints
- any diseases of the kidneys, liver and gallbladder
How to choose
It should be remembered that the most tender and tasty meat is obtained from lambs before the age of two to three months, while in lambs over three years old, it becomes tough. When buying lamb, first of all, you should pay attention to its color – it should be light red. It is important to remember that the darker the color of the meat, the older it is. You should also make sure that an unpleasant odor does not come from it, as it will increase noticeably during the cooking process.
The choice of the most suitable part of the carcass for the dish depends on how exactly you are going to cook the lamb. So for baking and frying, the loin, shoulder blade and ribs are best; for cooking and stewing – brisket and drumstick. Delicious pilaf will turn out from the neck or leg, and the shoulder part is suitable for minced meat.
Before you start cooking lamb, you must thoroughly wash it and cut off the fat. We recommend using condiments such as garlic, ginger, or cumin to add flavor.
Types of lamb
Lamb species are distinguished based on the age of the animal. So, lamb meat is considered to be slaughtered after a year. Younger meat is classified as lamb. Also, meat differs according to sheep breeds. Specialists in the field of culinary emphasize the Kalmyk breed of sheep, which has meat richer in vitamins.
When choosing lamb, you should pay attention to the color of the meat – it should be light red. Lamb is lighter in color. But dark meat is considered not so tasty and healthy.
Lamb has a specific taste with a rather “heavy” flavor, so this meat is considered “for amateurs”. When cooked correctly, the smell and sharp taste soften, go away, and become less pronounced. Since lamb is a rather fatty meat, when the dish is cooled, its fat can remain on the palate and tongue, slightly enveloping. Lamb is more tender and less fatty, which, thanks to this, is more popular with inexperienced gourmets.
Lamb goes well with marjoram, thyme, oregano, hot and sweet sauces, red wine, rice, vegetables. They complement each other perfectly, creating a new taste.
So that the lamb does not have its characteristic not too pleasant taste and smell, it should be washed well and soaked in salt, onion, wine, kefir with herbs or another sauce. This will make the lamb softer and more tender, allowing it to cook faster. After that, the meat is heat treated, both in a pan and on an open fire.
Lamb is the most popular in oriental cuisine, therefore lagman, manti, pilaf, beshbarmak, shurpa, and shashlik are traditionally made from it. Such dishes are served with vegetable salads, whole fresh or grilled vegetables, and also with pita bread. In eastern countries, lamb kebab is an invariable dish served to dear guests.
At the same time, it is customary to serve barbecue in the East not only with satsebeli or other spicy sauce, but also with sweet fruits – apricots, dates, grapes. In Georgia, Armenia, Kazakhstan, a richly set table is considered an indicator of hospitality, on which there are certainly mutton dishes, as well as homemade bread and fruits.
Legumes are considered a good side dish for lamb, as well as baked potatoes. Pilaf with lamb is considered a classic of oriental cuisine. Moreover, it is better to combine meat with long rice or unpeeled, adding cumin, marjoram, turmeric, barberry, raisins as spices, and unpeeled heads of garlic for the pungency of taste.
To reveal the taste of meat, it should always be served with red dry wine.
Lamb goes well with spices that overpower the characteristic smell. Cumin, ginger, marjoram, onions will complement the taste of this meat. At the same time, this product allows you to add a large amount of spicy herbs to it, which only improve the taste, in contrast to beef and pork, for which the addition of a large amount of spices is often destructive.
Lamb meat requires special processing, since it is easy to dry or undercooked. It is also important to choose the right portion for each dish. So, for soup or shurpa, a spatula is suitable, for stewing – ribs, for pilaf – the back, and for barbecue – brisket. Do not fry lamb for too long, as it will lose its juiciness and acquire a bitter taste. Moreover, if the meat is not cooked, then it will be too tough and fatty.
Connoisseurs of lamb cooking know that meat is most delicious without freezing, it can be stored in the refrigerator for no more than 4 days. If you decide to freeze it, then you should carefully wrap it with cling film so that air does not enter the meat.
Lamb in a cauldron on the stove
INGREDIENTS FOR 5 SERVINGS
- Lamb 500
- Bulb onions 500
- Salt to taste
- Greens to taste
- Ground black pepper to taste
- So, for cooking, wash half a kilogram of lamb (it should be fatty, then there will be a lot of juice) and cut into small pieces. Then mix it with chopped onions, salt, herbs and pepper and place in a deep cast-iron cauldron. Make sure that the lid is closed tightly, turn on low heat and simmer for an hour and a half, stirring occasionally. That’s all – the recipe is very simple, but then this lamb with any side dish will give so much pleasure that you will come back to this recipe more than once.
- Oh yes, according to the glorious Caucasian traditions, I advise a little red wine to this dish – it will be even tastier, although it seems that this is simply impossible!
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