One of my favorite things about working at Get Cooking is the opportunity to meet and speak with the people who produce the food that we create our tasty dishes with. On November 17, during an all-day Cook Lamb class, we were fortunate enough to have Vicky Horne present as a special guest.
Vicky and her husband Shayne are the owners of Tangle Ridge Ranch, where they raise beautiful, happy, and tasty lambs in an entirely natural manner. No growth hormones, insecticides, or other nasty chemicals ever come near their lambs, and the flock is fed entirely on grass, resulting in a mild, pleasant flavour. While some people do not enjoy the strong flavour of lamb, Vicky was kind enough to explain to the class that the breed of lambs they raise, known as “hair sheep”, produce far less lanolin oil in their coats. As lanolin oil is the reason for the strong flavour associated with lamb, less oil means a milder taste.
Watching Vicky speak about their lambs is a fascinating experience. Her passion and enthusiasm for her work is infectious, and had the entire class peppering her with questions regarding the raising and tending of lambs.
If you haven’t had the pleasure of eating it, lamb is a versatile meat that can be found in the cuisines of nearly every culture in the world. From Asia to North America, lamb is welcome addition to any menu.
Our global exploration of lamb started off with Dolmades, a Greek version of the Ukranian cabbage roll that is so popular in the Edmonton area. A mixture of rice and ground lamb wrapped in grape leaves, the dolmades were the perfect way to start the day.
The next stop on the lamb expedition took us to Moracco, home of the delightful bundles of joy known as Briouats. Ground lamb mixed with a variety of spices and wrapped in phyllo dough, Briouats can be made well in advance and frozen for future use, although that’s a bit of a gamble – if you taste one, you may not possess the willpower necessary to save them for later!
The Dolmades and Briouats were excellent appetizers, and were a lovely segue into the “main” dishes. Naturally, with Kathryn as our leader, no lamb trek would be complete without a stop in Italy for the first entrée, Braised Lamb Shanks. Slow cooked and served on a bed of soft polenta, the lamb shanks were braised with tomatoes and anchovies, and were a great way to showcase the versatility of a tougher cut of meat.
Whenever I think of lamb, the first thing that comes to mind is the classic French preparation of a rack of lamb. After a mind blowing demonstration on how to prepare a rack of lamb by executive chef Israel Alvarez, the racks were coated in a herb and bread crumb mixture, then roasted until they were transformed into succulent little meat lollipops.
The world tour of lamb came to an end in India, with a delicious Kashmiri curry, which was voted the most successful dish of the day. Resting on top of saffron rice, this delicately spiced stew was probably my favorite preparation of curry of all time.
Thank you for joining us on our world-trotting lamb tour. Keep checking back for updates on our upcoming move, and for more tales of tasty goodness as we continue to partner with local food producers.