Category Archives: Recipes & Cooking

Real Recipe: PORK CHOP, DANDELION GREENS & MAPLE-MUSTARD

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Paleo Master Ronny Joseph (cookingprimalgourmet.com) has created the following simple, yet divine recipe.  All photos currently of Ronny Joseph.

Aside from bacon, I’m not a huge fan of pork. I’m much more of a beef guy. Also really big into fish, in case you were wondering. Setting my carnal preferences aside, the folks at RealFoodToronto.com, which is the grocery delivery service offered by The Healthy Butcher, carry some of the absolute best pork products you can find in Toronto. In fact, I’m going to venture a guess that it’s about as good as you can get anywhere in the world. They carry heritage breed pork, Berkshire and Tamworth, and the animals are raised on a happy, local, Ontario farm. By happy I mean free of antibiotics, hormones, and allowed to pasture year-round. Believe me when I say that you can taste the difference. You may already know that I am a huge fan of their grass-fed beef, which I used in my YouTube recipe on How to Cook the Best Steak. If you want to take a break from beef, this Pork chop will hit the spot.

I love these bone-in, centre-cut loin chop with the fat cap still in tact. Maximum flavour at a very reasonable price. Especially considering the quality and size of the chop. You can have a look at their website for the different prices but it was low enough that I decided to order two.

This pork is very rich in flavour, partly because of the bone and amazing fat cap. Look at that thing. It’s a crescent moon of all things right in this world. If you’re looking for something to pair the meat with, try dandelion greens. They are bitter and cut through the rich, fattiness of the pork. You’ll want something to counteract the bitterness of the greens though. I like to make a really simple vinaigrette with maple syrup and whole-grain mustard. The grains of the mustard also give a really nice texture.

If you go to Big Crow in Toronto, my favourite BBQ joint in the city, you may come across a similar dish. A few years back I had a spectacular BBQ pork belly with dandelion greens and honey mustard. This dish is my riff on the flavour combination. Sadly the dish is no longer on their rotating menu. So if you work at Big Crow and are reading this, please put it back on the menu. Pretty please!

This is also my first time cooking with my brand new Hestan Nanobond Stainless Steel Skillet. The generous folks at Hestan very kindly sent me this pan for free. It’s still too early to give the skillet a fair review but I can tell you that it worked wonders with this recipe. Very responsive, even heat distribution, comfortable handle and superior non-stick capabilities. It will be very interesting to see how this pan performs after a month or two. I will be sure to follow-up with a separate review of the pan after I have a chance to cook some more with it.

Give this recipe a go and let me know what you think in the comments below!

Cheers,

Ronny

 

Ingredients:

FOR THE MAPLE-MUSTARD:

  1. To a mason jar, add the mustard, maple syrup, lemon juice, extra virgin olive oil, garlic and a pinch of salt and pepper.
  2. Seal the top of the jar and shake the Dickens out of it. Taste for seasoning and adjust as required. Set aside.

FOR THE PORK AND DANDELION GREENS:

  1. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Pat pork chop dry with paper towel and season both sides with salt and pepper.
  2. Drizzle one tbsp avocado oil into the pan and carefully add the pork chop by laying it away from you to avoid oil splatter.
  3. Sear the pork for 4-5 minutes per side (depending on thickness). Remove pork chop once internal temperature of the thickest part reaches 145F – use a meat thermometer for accuracy. Let rest on a wire rack or cutting board.
  4. Reduce heat to medium and add dandelion greens to the skillet. If the skillet is dry, add 1 tbsp avocado oil.
  5. Season the greens with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook greens for 3-4 minutes while stirring constantly. Note: it’s ok if the leaves get a bit charred.
  6. Transfer the dandelion greens to a serving dish along with the rested pork chop. Drizzle everything with the Maple-Mustard and enjoy!

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Real Recipe: Eggplant, Feta & Crispy Lamb Crumbs

Photo by Chef Mike Ward

Photo by Chef Mike Ward

Chef Mike Ward (www.chefmikeward.com) came up with this simple, yet delicious recipe…

We all know eggplant left to it’s own devices is kinda meh. This dish however brings an entire army of monster flavours and textures. You’ll never see these humble little fruits in the same light again (yes, it’s a fruit).

 

Ingredients:

Serves 4 – prep 25 mins, cooks in 1 hour

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 425F. Place eggplant on parchment paper lined oven-roasting tray (slicing a slither off the skin side will help them lay flat). Drizzle soy into the scores of the eggplant, then drizzle over a healthy splash of olive oil. Don’t add salt. Roast for 40 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, in fry pan on med/high heat add a splash of olive oil, add onion and garlic, sauté for 2 to 3 mins. Then add lamb and a good pinch of salt. Fry until lamb is crispy (but not burnt). With the back of a wooden spoon crush ground lamb into a chunky crumb like texture. Reduce heat if required.
  3. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl combine crumbled feta, cumin, chili flakes (if desired), lemon zest and juice. Don’t add salt. Set aside.
  4. After 40 mins remove eggplant from oven and top with feta mixture. Switch oven to broil and slide back in for 10 to 15 mins (until feta has browned slightly). Remove from broiler, spoon over warm lamb crumbs, garnish with coriander and finely sliced chili peppers to taste. A drizzle of olive oil is always welcome.

Real Recipe: Chicken Barley Biryani

This deliciously simple recipe by our friend Chef Mike Ward.  Visit his website for more great recipes and videos: www.chefmikeward.com

Great cooking for me is about trying new ingredients, I created a similar dish to this recently using rice, But this time I tried it with barley. Holy smokes, what a gorgeous change. Barley has a nuttiness and texture you don’t get from rice.

Ingredients:

Serves 6 – prep 15 mins/cook time 50 mins.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven at 350°F.
  2. In an ovenproof pan with high sides, heat a splash of olive oil on medium-high heat. Season chicken thighs with salt/pepper, lay thighs skin-side down once pan is hot. Let chicken sear until skin is golden then flip and do the same on the other side. Don’t fuss around with them or you’ll tear the skin, place them and let them sear. Once golden brown on both sides remove from pan.
  3. Add chopped onion and chili flakes to the pan, sear until the onions are brown and crispy.
  4. Add the tomato paste and cook for a few seconds (you may need to turn the heat down).
  5. Add the chicken stock and stir with a wooden spoon. Remove all the crispy bits from pot base.
  6. Add thyme and barley, give a quick stir, place the seared chicken thighs back into the pan.
  7. Place the lid on and bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Remove, add a little more fresh thyme for garnish and check barley for seasoning.
Chicken Barley Biryani by Chef Mike Ward

Chicken Barley Biryani by Chef Mike Ward

 

Real Recipe: Sunday Shepherd’s Pie with Yams (Paleo Friendly!)

Shepherd's Pie by Ronny Joseph

Shepherd’s Pie by Ronny Joseph

by Ronny Joseph, cookprimalgourmet.com

Sunday’s should be about relaxing and catching up on a bit of me-time. But the old adage rings true, failing to prepare is preparing to fail. Unless you’ve got a game plan for the coming week of meals, you’re likely going to scramble for unhealthy options at the last minute. If you’ve ever meal prepped before you know that some foods simply don’t stand the test of time and taste goes out the window by day 2.  My absolute favorite way to avoid this is to cook a big shepherd’s pie. Not only does it taste better the second and third day, you can portion-out individual servings and freeze them for a few weeks if needed. Problem solved! Once again, swap traditional potatoes with Japanese yams for a delicious, low-glycemic alternative.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Season with a pinch of salt and add-in the cubed yams – cook until fork tender (approx. 12-15 min).  Using a slotted spoon, transfer the yams to a food processor along with 1.5 tbsp ghee and a pinch of salt.  Purée until very smooth.  Set aside.
  2. Heat a large Dutch Oven or heavy-bottomed stock-pot over medium-high heat. Drizzle ½ tbsp. avocado oil and add-in the ground lamb – cook until browned. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the lamb to a bowl and set aside.
  3. Lower the heat to med-low and discard all but 3 tbsp of the rendered fat in the pot. Add-in the onion, carrot, celery and mushrooms. Cook until the carrots have softened (approx. 12-15 min), stirring occasionally. Add-in the zucchini and garlic and cook an additional 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add-in spicy paprika, smoked paprika, onion powder, a pinch of salt and pepper, stir to coat and toast the spices for 60 seconds. Add the browned lamb back to the pot along with the chicken stock and chopped parsley. Bring everything to a steady simmer and allow the liquid to reduce by half.
  5. Preheat the oven to 400F. Meanwhile, spoon the meat mixture into a shallow baking dish or casserole and spread mashed yams overtop. Place the baking dish onto a baking sheet to catch any spill over from the juices. (Tip: To achieve a fancier look, spread the yams using a piping bag or heavy-duty zip-top bag fitted with a metal tip.)
  6. Bake at 400F approx. 20-25 minutes or until yams are golden brown.
  7. Remove from oven and let cool 10-15 minutes before serving.

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Real Recipe: Burrito Bowl

Burrito Bowl, by Michelle Tirmandi

Burrito Bowl, by Michelle Tirmandi

Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist Michelle Tirmandi (michellenutrition.ca) brings us this quick and easy Burrito Bowl recipe.  This is truly a go-to quick, easy and healthy dish that can be changed up depending on what you have in your fridge and pantry.

This recipe takes 30 minutes start to finish, including cooking the rice.  And if that’s not reason enough to give it a try, I will let you know that it’s colourful, plant-based ingredients are filled with phytonutrient power:

  • Black Beans: contain fibre, folate (mega important for mamas-to-be), and a decent amount of protein to help with blood sugar stabilization.
  • Cilantro: contains a high amount of antioxidants (required for healthy, glowing skin) and also acts as a natural cleansing agent, specifically binding to heavy metals and helping them to be removed from the tissues.
  • Tomatoes: a very rich source of antioxidants including Lycopene and Vitamin C (the precursor to collagen production). They also contain Vitamin A which helps to keep your hair shiny and strong.
  • Avocados: an excellent source of good fats, as well as folate, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and fibre (a major pregnancy power food!).
    Bell Peppers:  an excellent source of carotenoids, which help to protect the skin, tissue and cells from environmental toxins and disease.
  • Brown Rice: contains fibre (important for natural detoxification) as well as the beautifying & anti-cancerous antioxidant, Selenium.

Ingredients for the Burrito Bowl:

 Ingredients for the Seasoning Mix:

Directions:

  1. Add 1 cup rice and 2 cups water to a medium pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for 25 minutes.
  2. While the rice is cooking, chop the onions and peppers.
  3. Chop tomatoes, avocado , cilantro, set aside.
  4. Shred the cheese, set aside.
  5. Add 1 Tbsp coconut oil to a pan over medium heat and sauté the onions for 4-5 minutes. Add the peppers and stir together.
  6. Add all of the spices together and stir in to the onion and pepper mixture, continuing string for another few minutes until everything is well mixed.
  7. Heat the corn and beans in a separate pan.
  8. Once the rice is cooked add all ingredients together and enjoy!

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Real Recipe: Kale, Sausage & Pepper Skillet

Photo by Ronny Joseph

Photo by Ronny Joseph

Primal Gourmet writer Ronny Joseph brings us this simple, delicious and healthy paleo recipe.

This kale, sausage and pepper skillet recipe is a perfect example of how you can make a delicious and healthy meal with plenty of leftovers in around 30 minutes. It’s especially great for anyone trying to work more greens into their diet. Braising roughage like kale, spinach or collards softens the leaves, gets rid of excess moisture, and saves your jaw from all that unnecessary chewing. Feel free to use your favorite sausages as long as they are free of junk like wheat-fillers, sugars and preservatives. Best bet is to get sausages that are made by a quality butcher in-house, like The Healthy Butcher or RealFoodToronto.com.

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 400F
  2. Heat an oven-safe skillet over medium heat. When the skillet is hot, add 2 tbsp EVOO. Add sausages to the skillet and brown for 4-5 minutes or until a golden brown crust is formed. Flip and brown the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
  3. Transfer sausages to a plate and set aside for the moment.
  4. Drain all but 3 tbsp of the rendered juices in the skillet. Add in the onions, peppers, garlic and chilies. Season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Sautée until the onions are translucent and the peppers have softened (approx. 7-10 minutes). Stir occasionally to avoid burning.
  5. Add 1 tsp fennel seeds and cook for 1 minute to release their essential oils.
  6. Add 1/2 cup water and scrape any brown bits off the bottom of the skillet with a spatula or wooden spoon.
  7. Working in batches, start to add in the kale 1-2 handfuls at a time. Don’t worry, as the kale heats, it will significantly reduce in volume. Continue to toss it with the hot vegetables and water until it all fits into the skillet. Taste for seasonings and adjust salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Once all of the kale is all in, lay the sausages overtop of the wilted greens and transfer the skillet to the preheated oven. Cook approx. 15minutes at 400F (cooking time varies according to size of sausages and heat of oven).
  9. Remove from oven and serve directly in the pan alongside some baked sweet potato or cauliflower rice.

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Real Recipe: Falafel Salad #ftw

Falafel Salad, easy and healthy.

Falafel Salad, easy and healthy.

Have you ever wanted to make falafels before but figured they were out of the question too hard?

Fear not my friends, falafels are way simpler then you may think! Plus, of course you already know they are delicious. When you make them at home you have the potential to make them much healthier than the ones you would typically get from a restaurant because you can either fry them in a healthier oil (such as ghee, clarified butter), or bake them.

You’ve also got options…..eat them on a salad like I did, or stuff a whole grain pita and enjoy as a delicious, plant based fibre rich meal.

Also, here’s a fun fact for you: did you know that gram for gram tahini (ground sesame seeds) contain almost three times the amount of calcium then cow’s milk? I know, crazy huh? Combine that with the calcium in the spinach salad and bam, you’ve got yourself a good source of calcium in this meal, sans dairy!

Original recipe and photos by Michelle Tirmandi for Michelle Nutrition
Michelle is a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist & Online Welness Coach specializing in whole food meal plans, hormone balance and helping to transition to a holistic lifestyle.  For more information, visit michellenutrition.ca

Ingredients for the Falafels (makes approximately 16 large falafels):

Ingredients for the Salad (makes medium sized salads):

Ingredients for the Tahini Sauce:

Directions:

  1. Chop 3 garlic cloves and all of the herbs then add to a food processor. Process until mixed well and remove to a large bowl.
  2. Rinse can of chickpeas and add them to the food processor. Pulse well then add them to the bowl with herbs and garlic.
  3. Add tahini, bread crumbs, flour, baking powder, sea salt and coriander to the bowl and mix together with hands.
  4. Add 1 egg and continue mixing with hands.
  5. Roll the falafel mixture in small balls or round patties and place on a plate.
  6. If baking, preheat the oven to 350′ and bake for ~ 20 minutes flipping halfway through.
  7. If frying heat 1-2 Tbsp of ghee over medium heat depending on the size of the pan.
  8. Cook for ~ 2 minutes per side or until golden brown.
  9. Mix all ingredients for the tahini sauce together until and mix well smooth (add additional water depending on the desired texture).
  10. Drizzle the sauce over the salad and add a toasted pita if desired.

Real Recipe: Paleo Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

Paleo Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles

Paleo Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles, by Ronny Joseph, www.cookingprimalgourmet.com

Paleo success-story Ronny Joseph of Primal Gourmet brings us this paleo take on a classic Italian dinner…

Ingredients:

  • 2lbs grass-fed hormone and antibiotic free ground beef (ideally medium fat)
  • 1 cup loosely packed parsley (sub basil or coriander)
  • ¼ cup pine nuts (sub walnuts if unavailable) – plus a few tbsp extra for garnish
  • 2 small white onions
  • 8-9 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 2 whole eggs (organic, free-range)
  • 4 zucchinis – spiralized
  • 1.5 L passata or diced tomatoes
  • 2 scallions – finely sliced for garnish

Directions:

For the pesto:

In a food processor or blender, combine 1 cup loosely packed parsley, ¼ cup pine nuts, 1 small onion, 3-4 cloves garlic, tbsp salt, 1 tsp black pepper. Blitz until it reaches a smooth yet thick consistency.

For the meatballs:

  1. To a large mixing bowl, add 2lbs ground beef, 2 whole eggs, 2 tbsp garlic powder, and the all of the parsley pesto.
  2. Using your hands, gently mix the beef with the seasonings until it is evenly combined. Do not over-mix the beef or it will cause it to toughen during cooking.
  3. To avoid the mixture from sticking to your hands, rub a few drops of olive oil onto your hands and begin to form large balls – approx. 4oz each (the size is entirely optional – smaller meatballs make great appetizers.) I personally prefer large meatballs for this recipe. Regardless of what size you prefer make sure that each meatball is uniform so as to keep cooking times consistent.
  4. In a large Dutch oven or heavy bottomed stockpot, heat 1 tbsp Extra Virgin olive oil over medium heat. Working in batches so as to not overcrowd the pan, brown each side of the meatballs (approx. 15-20 minutes total). Transfer the browned meatballs to a baking sheet and set aside.
  5. Lowering the heat to a Med-Low, add 1 small diced onion, 4 cloves smashed garlic and a pinch of salt to the same Dutch Oven. Sweat the onions and garlic until they have softened and the onions have turned translucent – be sure to scrape any brown pits leftover from the meatballs off the bottom of the pot with a wooden spoon (this is flavor!!!)
  6. Once the onions and garlic have softened, but have not turned brown, add in 1.5L tomato passata or diced tomatoes. Stir to combine the tomatoes with the oil and to disperse the onions and garlic throughout.
  7. Carefully add the meatballs back to the Dutch Oven making sure each meatball is fully submerged in the tomato sauce.
  8. Reduce the heat to low, cover with a lid and cook for at least one hour, stirring occasionally to avoid the tomato sauce from burning on the bottom of the pot. The sauce should be at a low simmer.

For the Zpaghetti:

  1. While the meatballs cook, spiralize the zucchini and transfer to a colander. Very gently, massage the zpaghetti with 1/2 tsp sea salt. Place the colander over a bowl or your sink and allow to drain of excess moisture for at least one hour – or the time it takes for the meatballs to cook.
  2. To serve, add the zoodles to individual bowls and ladle in 1-2 meatballs with some extra sauce per person. Garnish with some sliced scallion and finely grated pine nuts to give the illusion of parmesan cheese – they’ll never know the difference!!! (Careful not to cut your fingers when grating the pine nuts – they are tiny!)
Paleo Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles, by Ronny Joseph, www.cookingprimalgourmet.com

Paleo Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles, by Ronny Joseph, www.cookingprimalgourmet.com

Paleo Pesto Meatballs with Zucchini Noodles, by Ronny Joseph, www.cookingprimalgourmet.com

Paleo Pesto Meatballs, by Ronny Joseph, www.cookingprimalgourmet.com

Real Recipe: Zucchini Fritters (Mucver) with Detox Herbs

Zucchini Fritters with Detox Fresh Herbs

Original recipe and photos by Michelle Tirmandi for Michelle Nutrition
Michelle is a Toronto-based Holistic Nutritionist & Online Welness Coach specializing in whole food meal plans, hormone balance and helping to transition to a holistic lifestyle.  For more information, visit michellenutrition.ca

These zucchini fritters, or Mucver as they are called in Turkish were inspired by my recent thoughts about my friends and family in Turkey.  Every time I visit Turkey I make sure to order them as a meze and they never disappoint!

Now, admittedly they aren’t the healthiest recipe I’ve ever posted, but my rules around food fall in one of two categories: Is the food made from real foods and whole ingredients? Is the food processed and made with artificial ingredients? My personal food philosophy is that if it’s made with real food then there is always room in my diet! That said, I do believe that certain foods are to be eaten less often and so these are more like a special treat.

Before I get in to the recipe, I do want to give a quick highlight to some of the herbs used. I love herbs, and sort of feel that they don’t always make it to the nutritional spotlight even though they have a ton to offer us!

Detox Benefits of Herbs

Parsley:

Parsley is know for helping to support the natural detoxification processes by supporting the bladder, kidneys and the liver. If not supported through proper nutrition, these three organs of elimination can become overburdened with toxins which impacts our ability to operate at our best.

Dill:

Dill has been known to offer anti-fungal benefits to protect the body from specific types of mold. Dill also has a significantly high level of Vitamins C + A, both key antioxidants that help the body to neutralize toxins and also contribute to great skin health.

Mint:

This soothing and cooling mint is known for helping with cramping, bloating, constipation and diarrhea. Mint also helps the body to detoxify by helping to flush out unwanted substances. It’s also been speculated to help flush toxins though the skin, helping you to get your glow!

 

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Real Butchering: Breaking Down a Whole Lamb

Did you know that lamb is the only universally accepted red meat? Hindus are forbidden to eat beef, Muslims & Jews avoid pork, but no culture or religion outlaws lamb. Perhaps it’s because lamb has been a part of our carnivorous lives since 9000 B.C.! During these early days, much of the world were shepherds and the meat they knew best was lamb. Since we are approaching the biggest lamb selling weekend of the year as Christians celebrate Easter, we thought it would be fitting to spend this issue breaking down the lamb.

The term “Lamb” is a sheep less than 12 months old, and then there are a plethora of subcategories, the most popular being: “Milk-fed” lamb being an unweaned lamb, typically 4-6 weeks old; “Young lamb” being between 6-8 weeks old, “Spring lamb” being between 3-5 months old, in North America most commonly being lamb born in late winter and sold in the Spring, “Yearling lamb” being between 12-24 months old, “Hogget” being older than 12 months (or having no more than two permanent incisors), and finally when the lamb becomes older than 2 years of age, the meat from a such a lamb is referred to as “Mutton”.

Despite the lamb frenzy that occurs at Easter, during which we sell in one day (Saturday) as much lamb as we sell during any other two-month period, the best time to purchase lamb if you’re buying local lamb is between mid-summer and fall, when lambs have grazed on open pasture for several months. The taste of good lamb is earthy and rich with a faint sweetness. Lamb is fairly fatty, and, unlike pork, the fat is not entirely edible – it is more like tallow. This contributes to the high price of lamb, because by the time the lamb is trimmed of its fat, bone and other non-edible parts, the resulting meat is only about 40% of its weight. Some people are turned off by the smell of lamb, but what they are smelling is burning lamb fat, which does have a very “lamby” odor – for these people we recommend leaner cuts that have been well trimmed.

It’s almost impossible to avoid grocery store shelves stocked with lamb from Australia and New Zealand, which are by far the largest lamb exporters. While we are huge fans of the 100% Grassfed Wagyu we import from Firstlight Farms in New Zealand, so far in The Healthy Butcher’s history we haven’t found it justified to buy lamb from more than a 200km radius of our store.

The Healthy Butcher's Lamb Cut Chart

The Healthy Butcher’s Lamb Cut Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All cuts of Lamb are available on RealFoodToronto.com by clicking here.

Premium Cuts / Premium Priced

Cuts from the RibRib chops, rack of lamb, Crown Roast, Guard of Honour.
Cuts from the Loin
Loin chops, loin roast, saddle roast, tenderloin.
Cooking Method:
Dry heat methods (roasting, grilling, pan frying, sautéing); aim for internal temperature of 125F before resting, for a finished temperature of 140-145F medium-rare.

The rib area of the lamb is, like prime rib in beef, very tender and flavourful. This portion of the lamb is either cut into little rib chops or left as a whole rack of lamb (with seven or eight ribs). The rib cut has an outer layer of fat which can be trimmed off but, if left on during cooking, melts and bastes the meat.

Rib chops or racks of lamb are very frequently “Frenched” for aesthetic purposes, meaning the meat on the ends of the rib bones are scraped off. We’re not quite sure who decided that naked bones look better than meaty ones, but that’s beside the point. True lamb lovers will tell you that the best part of feasting on a rack of lamb is nibbling on the bones. For a very special occasion, consider buying two racks and asking us to create either a crown roast or guard of honour. A Crown Roast is achieved by stitching together two racks at one end, then curving the racks, bone side out, to form a circle shape that looks like a crown. A Guard of Honour is accomplished by tying the racks together such that the ribs interlock, fat side out. The alternating bones resemble the crossed swords of a military guard of honour.

The lamb loin, like beef loin is the most tender muscle. It is usually cut into butter-soft loin chops, which resemble tiny T-bone steaks. Alternatively, in can be divided into the ultra tender (and very tiny) tenderloin and flavourful top loin chops (the cuts being the equivalent to Filet Mignon and NY Striploin in beef). A lamb tenderloin is too small to roast, so it should be quickly grilled or sautéed.

Roast options from the loin include a loin roast and a saddle of lamb. A loin roast is the entire loin section, left whole and bone-in; because of the leanness of the loin, it should be cooked carefully to avoid overcooking and drying out. The saddle is a double loin roast, where both sides of the backbone have been left intact – this roast contains a large quantity of meat and is very easy to carve.

Most Versatile / Mid-Priced

Cuts from the LegBone-in or boneless leg of lamb; “American Style” refers to bone-in but shank cut off; “French Style” refers to bone-in, shank attached and usually the meat cleaned from the shank or “Frenched”; butterflied leg of lamb; one of our most popular preparations for the leg is to debone the leg, but tie the bone back in – sort of a “deconstructed leg of lamb” – roasting the leg with the bone gives all the advantages of cooking with the bone, but once cooked you can pull out the bone with zero effort and easily carve the meat; leg steaks; cubes for kabobs; cutlets.
Cuts from the Loin
Loin chops, loin roast, saddle roast, tenderloin.
Cooking Method:
Roast the leg to an internal temperature of 125F before resting, for a finished temperature of 140-145F medium-rare.

The lamb leg is in a league of its own. The leg in beef, called round, is extremely lean and tough. In lamb, however, because of the smaller size of the animal as well as the fact that lamb is brought to market at a comparatively young age, the leg of lamb is tender and very versatile. It makes a wonderful large roast, or several small roasts, or can be cut into steaks or kabob meat.

Although a lamb has four legs, only the two hind legs produce the cut referred to as “leg of lamb”. The whole, bone-in leg can weigh from 5-to-9 pounds and may be American style (no shank, bone attached) or French style (shank bone left on). A whole leg that has been boned makes a compact and tidy roast when rolled (with or without stuffing) and tied or netted to keep its shape. It may also be butterflied for grilling. Leg steaks are attained by cutting across the bone and can be quite large when cut from the sirloin end, that is, the part closer to where the leg in our diagram meets the loin. Leg is our preferred meat for kabobs since it has large muscle areas from which cubes can be cut free from gristle and bone.

Extremely Flavourful / Lowest Priced / Slightly Tougher

Cuts from the ShoulderBoneless or bone-in shoulder roast, shoulder chops, stewing lamb.
Cuts from the Shank
Shank.
Cooking Method:
Both dry heat methods (roasting, grilling, pan frying, sautéing) and wet heat methods (braising, stewing) can be used for the shoulder. The tougher cuts such as shank should be cooked only with wet heat methods.

Now we get to the fun stuff! These are the cuts that we’ve become known for because we always deal with the whole animal and our chef’s are always willing to explain cooking techniques to customers. The best example is the shoulder; the shoulder is more flavourful than other cuts, less expensive, tougher, and has more connective tissue, veins of fat, and bones. From the shoulder, we can cut shoulder roasts (boneless or bone-in), shoulder chops, or the best stewing lamb around.

As a roast, the shoulder is one of those dual-purpose cuts: just tender enough to be dry roasted, but because of the fat content, excellent for long, slow braising. Chops from the shoulder are full of flavour, somewhat chewy if grilled, amazing if quickly braised in a skillet on the stove top.

Let’s talk shank. Technically speaking, a lamb has two shanks located at the rear (attached to the leg) and two “foreshanks” located at the front. However, most of our customers prefer their leg of lambs bone-in, shank attached (and for good reason), so we rarely cut the shanks from the legs. Instead, the shanks we typically sell at our store are actually the foreshanks. Confused yet? Don’t worry – whether we’re speaking of shanks or foreshanks, there’s nothing better than braised meat from these cuts. Read our braising newsletter to learn more about braising. Served up one per person with the bone sticking out of them, they have more of a primitive appeal than veal shanks because of their larger size. And please, don’t hesitate to ask us to cut the shanks into pieces to make lamb osso buco.

What’s left? The breast is extremely flavourful especially with the riblets left in. The neck is also small, but can be braised whole or cut into crosswise slices. We find that the best use for these cuts is to trim off the fat and bones, grind the meat, and turn them into our award-winning lamb sausages and burgers.

As always, we encourage you to try different cuts. The next time you’re in to pick up a couple of chops for the BBQ, instead of picking up three of the same, try a shoulder chop, a loin chop and a rib chop and compare each one side-by-side. Or instead of roasting one larger roast, get a mini-leg of lamb and a small shoulder roast. Experimenting is the most effective way of understanding the cuts we’ve discussed and finding the ones the best suit your tastes.