A lamb is a sheep that is under 1 year old. Between the ages of 1 and 2 you will find it being sold as a 'hogget' - which has a stronger flavour and slightly less tender flesh. Anything over 2 years old is called mutton, which has a lot more flavour - but also a tougher flesh that will need slow-cooking to tenderise it.
Lamb is the most expensive of the three types, and in recent decades sheep meat is increasingly only retailed as "lamb", sometimes stretching the accepted distinctions given above.
Lamb is delicious and versatile red meat. It’s commonly found in Mediterranean and Indians dishes. If you’re trying to watch your cholesterol levels, lamb can be safe to eat in moderation, as long as you choose the right cut and trim as much fat as possible.
100g of cooked lamb delivers about 25 grams of protein, plus good quantities of potassium and vitamin B-12. It’s also a good source of iron, magnesium, selenium, and omega-3 fatty acids.
While that’s good news, lamb is also a source of saturated fat (and slightly higher than beef). Cooked lamb delivers just about equal amounts of monounsaturated fats and saturated fats. Monounsaturated fatty acids can lower cholesterol levels, but saturated fatty acids can increase them. Many cuts get over half their calories from fat. A high intake of saturated fat can raise levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), which is otherwise known as “bad” cholesterol.
At the same time, lamb contains a family of trans fats known as ruminant trans fats. Ruminant trans fats are believed to be beneficial for health, including reduced body fat mass, but large amounts in supplements may have adverse effects on metabolic health. The most common ruminant trans fat is conjugated linoleic acid (CLA) compared to other ruminant meats such as beef and veal; lamb contains the highest amounts of CLA.
What does that mean for your diet? Don’t eat lamb every day, and choose lean cuts when possible. Preparing lean cuts of lamb sensibly, and eating them in moderation, can help maintain a healthy diet and healthy cholesterol levels.
This lamb recipe is the easiest recipe you will ever find. Meat lovers will adore the combination of lamb and thyme, the true flavours of the Mediterranean region. The recipe is suitable for any occasion, as well as being a culinary voyage into an ancient cultural landscape. Now let's get to work!
What you'll need:
1 cup of rice
2 sweet peppers
400g lamb meat
A handful of chopped fresh thyme (or dried thyme)
Salt and pepper
For the rice and the peppers
First, cook your rice.
Then heat the oven (fan-forced at 200 degrees Celsius).
When the oven is hot, bake your long sweet peppers, seasoned with salt and pepper for 15 minutes (make sure you don't burn it).
The peppers are ready when they are soft.
For the lamb
Trim and cut the lamb meat into little pieces.
Melt the butter slowly in a pot.
Add the meat and cook until it is browned all over.
Cover the pot with a lid and cook for about 15 more minutes, remembering to stir occasionally.
Sprinkle with salt and pepper according to taste and add freshly chopped thyme.
Stir then cover, cook for another 5 minutes, and your meal is ready!
Serve it with roasted sweet peppers and white rice.