Unsaturated fat, which is good for you, makes up for half the fat in lamb. Palmitoleic acid, a 16-carbon monounsaturated fatty acid found in lamb, possesses strong antimicrobial properties. Lamb also has a high nutritional value and is an especially good source of easily absorbed zinc and iron. The recommended daily allowance provided by a three ounce serving of cooked lamb is 30% for zinc (essential for growth, tissue repair, and a healthy immune system) and 17% for iron (needed for the formation of red blood cells). Lamb is rich in B vitamins, especially B12. One serving can provide 74-100% of the daily requirement for Vitamin B12, which is essential for the body's metabolic reactions. Lamb is also nature's best source for an amino acid called carnitine, which is needed to generate energy from fatty acids. Trace elements such as copper, manganese, and selenium are also found in this meat, and it contains a rich supply of high quality protein.
Ground lamb is lean and can be used in any dish that calls for ground meat. The delicate flavor lends to combining ground lamb with other ground meats for meat loaf or spaghetti sauce, or barbecuing by itself for a great lamb burger.
The leg of lamb is classic and available bone-in, boneless, rolled and tied or butterflied. The leg can be cut into smaller leg roasts, leg steaks, or remove the sirloin portion and roast or cut into thick steaks that are excellent for grilling. Leg meat is a lean choice for stew or kabob cubes.
The loin, which is also called the saddle, can be boned and served as a boneless loin roast or cut into chops. Loins are versatile, flavorful and tender and can be roasted, broiled or grilled.
The rib section is also popular, and lends itself to a variety of cuts and preparations. The rib can be served as rack of lamb, or sliced and served as individual rib chops.
The lamb shoulder is a delicious cut and less expensive than rib or loin chops. Serve as a square cut roast, pre-sliced and tied, or boned, rolled and tied. Round bone and blade chops come from the shoulder. Meat from the shoulder is also delicious cubed and can be used for kabobs or stews
Additional economical cuts include neck slices, breast of lamb, Denver Ribs, and shanks. These cuts cook best using moist heat and cooked to well done. Neck slices add excellent flavor to soups and stews and lamb breast is delicious boned and stuffed. The Denver Rib consists of eight ribs from the breast and can be marinated and barbecued. The shanks, both foreshanks and hindshanks, slow cook for mouthwatering, fork-tender quality.
Seasonings and cooking ideas for lamb are limited only by the imagination. Lamb can be flavored with curry powder for a taste of India. Lamb seasoned with oregano and garlic echoes the flavors of Greece. Lamb also can be prepared to reflect the cooking styles of regional America. Jalapenos will add a taste of the Southwest. Or lamb might be prepared California-style using garlic and fresh thyme.