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How to Cook Spring Lamb

How to Cook Spring Lamb

Godon Ramsay | The Times Online

Easter traditionally heralds the beginning of Britain’s highly prized new-season lamb. It’s a fantastic red meat and an ingredient I get really excited about. Young lambs produce tender meat but the flavour and texture can vary massively according to breed, age, feed and pasture. Needless to say, it is important to ask your butcher about the provenance of the meat.

A lamb can be aged from four months to a year old. Any older and the animal is sold as hogget or mutton. Early in the season, you are likely to get indoor-reared lambs, fed mostly from their mother’s milk or, more probably, concentrated feeds. Wait a little longer and you’ll have a better chance of sourcing lamb raised on lowlands or hills. These animals have more exercise and access to fresh grass and moorland plants, which add flavour to the meat.

Rearing high-quality new-season lamb is hard work – something 
I experienced first-hand when we reared three lambs in our back garden over a period of three months. It was a fascinating process and it is a hugely satisfying one when you know you’ve done everything right and have produced fit and healthy animals.

At home, I find it hard to resist cooking larger cuts of meat for family gatherings or casual meals with friends. Nothing beats a fabulous roast leg or shoulder of lamb for a lovely weekend lunch. Cheaper cuts, such as lamb neck or breast, make for delicious and economical midweek meals. They will require long, slow cooking to tenderise the meat, but the actual time demanded of the cook is minimal.

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