What is it about lamb that makes it a meat that not a lot of people eat? I’m sure if I would ask any random person they would tell me they have eaten meat in the last year or so, but if the supermarkets are anything to go by then lamb is only on the menu during Christmas time. Ok, if I’m being totally honest (and you know I always am right?:) ) if you would have asked me a couple of years ago if I ever ate lamb I would not answer very differently then the average Dutch person. Why is that? Why is that really? Is it the price? Is it the fact that lamb’s are cute and cuddly? Or is it simply the fact that it is not available in the average supermarket? What do you think the reason is?
The fact of the matter is that due to some kind of funny coincidence my week last week was pretty much all about lamb. You remember I had that great meatcourse at Fontijn butchers in Weesp a couple of weeks back right? That was all about beef, but last Monday we had the session about – you guessed it – lamb and porc.
We started with dissecting an entire lamb which you can see in it’s pre-cut state above here. Not a small lamb but if I remember correctly about 6 or 7 months old. When they are at their best anyway. It was interesting hearing Gertjan explain all about the different parts of the lamb and also that it is fairly strange that most people never look any further then the typical lamb rack. I like a good lamb rack like anyone else, but my favorite is a leg of lamb like we had last Christmas (yes, true that was also for Christmas!)
A lot of people also have the misconception that lamb is a seasonal item only to be eaten beginning of the summer. That is the period that you can get the really really young lamb which is soft and tender meat but for a bit more flavor an older lamb is actually preferred as I also learned that same Thursday, but more on that later. Gertjan also had some lamb from New Zealand so we could see the difference between the two races of lamb. In the afternoon we went on to porc and half a porc was taken apart into it’s various items. If you think about it; pork seems to not be a very populair meat either for an entirely different reason then the lamb. It’s cheap meat as there is so much of it and the good news is that from a pig you can just about use everything. The inedible parts tend to go into sausages, the intestines are used to make sausage skin and the legs and marrow are used to make gelatine. Talk about nose-to-tail…
Then that same week on the Thursday we were invited for the press launch of We love lamb, a book all about lamb written by Johan Segers and Dirk de Prins, both Belgium people; one a chef and owner of the restaurant ‘t Fornuis in Antwerp and the other a culinary journalist. We had an absolutely amazing lunch and guess what we ate? Yes, ofcourse that was lamb. We had – in no particular order – lamb kidney’s, lamb liver, lamb neck, lamb tongue and lamb sweetbread (=zwezerik in Dutch). Not dishes I would ordered probably if they had been on the menu but they were each absolutely delicious… I think the sweetbread was my absolute favorite… Ofcourse, Johan Segers is not ‘just’ a chef and his restaurant is quite famous in Belgium and has a Michelin star.
The book is in Dutch but if you love lamb and can read Dutch it’s an absolute winner. Brilliant recipes and some nice background information too. On top of that; if all goes well there will be a contest here very soon featuring lamb. So stay tuned
The book is for sale at Bol.com amongst some others mentioned below.
– Cook & Book
– NRC Lux
– Acco online
– Boekhandel Wijs
– Kramer & Van Doorn