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Dec 19, 2008 07:59 AM

Lamb for beginners

My parents tell me they hate lamb. It is too rich, it is too gamey, it is too whatever. Of course, they each have had it once and who knows how it was cooked.

For Christmas, they have asked me to cook lamb, so they can try it again. My husband and I eat lamb all the time, but we are very adventurous eaters.

How would you cook lamb for a beginner? They won't like anything rarer than medium. They "don't like" Indian or Middle Eastern food (they have had each once and seemed ot enjoy it while we were eating it...)

Also, I'll be cooking it at a cabin, so nothing too fancy. I'll be bringing up my knives and a few other things, but no food processor, blender, fancy equipment. And no grilling, it is cold in Minnesota this time of year.

Thanks everyone in advance.

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  1. I think part of what can turn people off when eating lamb is the gamey nature that the lamb fat can impart to the dish. It's not as elegant as a leg or rack of lamb, but you may try a lamb chili or stew. Combining the lamb with familiar ingredients (avoiding "exotic") may be a good way to help them learn to like it. Gourmet had a wonderful recipe for lamb Pastitsio this month which combines ground lamb with ziti pasta in a bechamel sauce. I wrote about make the recipe in a post here:

    1. I think that Rack of Lamb is delicious and very easy. Salt, pepper, oil- brown in heavy pan on stove then put in oven and broil or bake for 10-15 minutes. I also think, although am not sure, that American lamb is much milder that New Zealand etc.

      1 Reply
      1. re: emilief

        Good suggestion - done this way the lamb chops are pretty basically flavored and will be closer to prime rib than anything really gamy.

        Unfortunately my first thought was to do a really spicy tagine, but if they don't like Indian or Middle Eastern food, forget it.

      2. They may also have had lamb that was a bit older. I know that makes a difference for me. My Mom used to try to use mutton in various things, but I could smell it when I walked in the house. Young lamb has none of that ickiness for me.

        1. go to and search for "fireside lamb stew." it has some vaguely Middle Eastern elements but is very non-threatening. nice combination of sweet & savory. not exactly Christmasy in the way that a rack of lamb would be, but it's tasty, and better the day after.

          1. Start by removing all visible fat from the lamb (which makes the meat taste stronger). Leg and shoulder roasts have a stronger taste than rack of lamb or the sirloin roasts.

            Once the fat caps are removed, rub the lamb down with a mixture of Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, garlic, and some fresh herbs (grind this into a paste and then smear it on the lamb). Wrap the lamb up tightly and marinate for 24 hours before roasting.

            My favorite is a boned out leg (with as much fat removed as possible). I open this up and smear it with the mustard concoction, then roll it tight and tie it up, smear the outside, wrap it and marinate it overnight. Roast at 350 until it reaches about 118 for for at least 20 minutes.