I have a feeling that if you asked a child what sweetbreads are, and then asked a chef, you’d get wildly varying answers. The word “sweetbread” first popped up in the 1500s, and it’s hard to tell what part of the animal they were referring to: historians generally agree that it’s likely the thymus gland or pancreas. Today, the word is often used for many small organs, from the sublingual gland to (gasp!) the testicle. Common sense assumes that these glands were eaten regularly throughout history, and was probably highly sought after due to their rarity (in relation to the rest of the food you get from an animal) and delicacy.
When my friends at US Wellness Meats offered to send me some of their lamb sweetbreads to try, I jumped at the opportunity; I hadn’t made them at home before, and I was up for a challenge. It turns out that they are relatively simple to make, they just take a little finesse and patience. To fill out the dish, I wanted to add something hearty and filling (cauliflower purée), something sweet (a pear reduction sauce), and a firm texture to make sure the dish didn’t turn out to “mushy” and to add a sharper taste to everything (spring greens tossed in balsamic vinaigrette). It all turned out beautifully.
Attukal Paya (sometimes spelled as Aattukaal Paya or just Paya) is a hearty soup made with lamb, sheep, or goat feet served in South India. What fascinates me about this dish is that it’s often served for breakfast – initially this sounded strange to me, but the more I thought about it, the more it made sense; why not start your day out with some nutritious bone broth soup?
I also love the idea of throwing together a bunch of ingredients at night and waking up to breakfast already made!
A tagine is a type of slow-cooked Moroccan stew, which gets it name from the pot it is usually cooked in, also named tagine (طاجين). It is often spelled as tajine as well. A typical tagine is made with cheaper cuts of lamb or beef, like shoulder or shank, but can also be used with chicken and seafood. Seasonal fruits like dates, raisins, and apricots are often used, as well as honey and preserved lemons.
For this recipe, I decided to make a baseline lamb tagine dish – no frills or gimmicks, just a simple template for you to follow. Feel free to experiment with tastes, especially different veggies (potatoes and olives add an interesting dynamic) and meats as you see fit. Since preserved lemons aren’t the easiest thing in the world to find (although making them yourself seems pretty easy), using chopped lemon rind works almost as well, and it’s what I usually use at home. Lastly, while tagines are very pretty looking, that’s a lot of cookware just for one type of dish – my trusty Le Creuset dutch oven worked out beautifully, as always.
Also, don’t forget that I am hosting a $50 gift card giveaway for Lava Lake Lamb this week! I used their delicious lamb shoulder for this recipe, and I can’t say enough good stuff about how well it turned out.
Update: Congratulations to Evin H., who won the giveaway!
Hey everyone, I’m teaming up with Lava Lake Lamb again to give away a $50 gift card for their delicious lamb and beef products! You could be making dishes like my homemade gyro meat, Turkish grilled sirloin steak, or Rogan Josh in no time flat, or send some awesome lamb to a loved one for Christmas!
Here’s how to enter the giveaway (first one is required, second is optional):
1. Sign up for Lava Lake Lamb newsletter and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it.
2. “Like” The Domestic Man FB page and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it.
If you do both options, I’ll give you two entries into the giveaway! You can tell me which options you did in one comment to save time. The giveaway ends midnight Saturday, December 9th (EST), and I will select a winner using a random number generator on Sunday. Good luck!
Fine print: Giveaway for US residents only – Lava Lake Lamb is not able to ship internationally. The last day to order from Lava Lake Lamb in time for a Christmas delivery is December 17th.
Although meat pies have been eaten in the British Isles since the Middle Ages (14th Century, last I heard), Shepherd’s Pie as we know it today coincided with the arrival of the potato in Europe. The Spanish brought potatoes to Europe in 1520, but they didn’t catch on until the 18th Century in Great Britain. Shepherd’s Pie appeared shortly thereafter – although under its original name, Cottage Pie, and made mostly with beef. The term Shepherd’s Pie followed about a hundred years later, along with the idea that it should be made with mutton. Today, Shepherd’s Pie can be made with beef or lamb, or sometimes both, while Cottage Pie usually refers only to the beef version of the dish.
Another interesting thing about this dish is the fact that it’s prevalent in many other cultures, with some pretty amusing names, like Pâté Chinois (“Chinese Pie”, French Canada), Картофельная Запеканка (“Potato Baked Pudding”, Russia), and Escondidinho (“Hidden”, Brazil).
Rogan Josh is a popular Kashmiri dish that is believed to have originated in Persia before making its way to Northern India and beyond (in Persian, “rogan” means clarified butter and “josh” means hot or passionate). Its signature red color is historically the result of mild red Kashmiri chiles which were used in making this dish. Over the years, many restaurants started using tomatoes in the dish to bring about that red color easily. My recipe follows the more modern interpretation of the dish, mostly because you and I don’t have the money to travel to Kashmir for some chiles! Well, maybe you do, but I most certainly do not.
An excellent cut of lamb for this dish was the other half of Lava Lake Lamb’s beautiful lamb shoulder (the other half was used to make shashlik). This slightly-fatty cut imparted a ton of flavor into the dish, which just tasted better and better the longer it simmered.
I’m also happy to announce that this is my first recipe that features a printer-friendly version! I’ll be sure to do this with every recipe from now on, and as I get the spare time I will go back and make printer-friendly versions of all my recipes.
Shashlik (Шашлык) is a type of shish kebab commonly found in Russia and the former Soviet republics. It was likely brought to Moscow from Central Asia in the 19th century. Today, it’s a popular summer food cooked over an open fire at social gatherings. It’s traditionally prepared with lamb, but chicken, pork, and beef variations are becoming increasingly prominent. With summer in full swing throughout the country right now, I thought it would be a great time to share this tasty dish!
There are a few tricks that I came up with when developing this recipe that I think are pretty sweet. While the dish is traditionally marinated in either vinegar or lemon juice, I found that the combination of lemon juice and apple cider vinegar gives the meat a tangy and subtly sweet flavor. Secondly, leaving the salt out of the marinade and saving it for the last stage of the recipe provides for a really great complementary texture to the tender and juicy meat.
Congratulations to Eric B, who is the big winner! Thanks to everyone else for participating!
Hey everyone, just in time for Father’s Day I’m teaming up with Lava Lake Lamb to give away a $100 gift card for their delicious products! You could be making dishes like my homemade gyro meat, bangers and mash, or grilled lamb sirloin in no time; or, you could take advantage of their newly-stocked beef products! Either way, I imagine you’ll be a happy camper if you win.
Here’s how to enter the giveaway (first one is required, second two are optional):
1. Subscribe to the Lava Lake Lamb newsletter and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it.
2. “Like” the Lava Lake Lamb FB page and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it.
3. “Like” The Domestic Man FB page and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did it.
If you do all three options, I’ll give you three entries into the giveaway! You can tell me all the options you did in one comment to save time. The giveaway ends midnight Saturday, June 24th, and I will select a winner using a random number generator sometime thereafter. Good luck!
Fine print: Giveaway for US residents only – Lava Lake Lamb is not able to ship internationally.
There’s an old saying: lamb is a meat best grilled. Okay, that may not be an old saying, but it should be. Something about lamb and direct heat go together really, really well. So when Lava Lake Lamb sent me some of their lamb sirloin for a recipe, I knew it was going directly on the grill.
This recipe uses a simple marinade that combines maple syrup and spicy brown mustard to complement the lamb’s natural deliciousness.
Bangers and mash is a traditional English dish and the quintessential “pub food”; it can be made for large groups of people at once with relative ease. This isn’t your standard bangers and mash dish since it’s typically served with beef or pork sausage and mashed potatoes, and I’m being crazy and using lamb sausage and colcannon. Regardless, this dish still has the same desired effect: it’s a hearty, savory dish that really hits the spot on a rainy day.
A perfect sausage for this dish was Lava Lake Lamb’s Rosemary and Garlic Sausage, which had a rich sausage flavor but was only slightly “lamby” in taste – in the end it was an excellent pairing of this savory sausage and the mild, buttery colcannon.