Category Archives: Lamb

Lamb Jam DC 2011

Yesterday I volunteered at the first annual American Lamb Jam here in Washington, DC.

The event is sponsored by the American Lamb Board and strives to bring attention to the quality of domestically raised lamb and highlight its suitability to a variety of preparations.

Locally raised lamb was supplied to Washington, DC area chefs to prepare dishes for event guests to enjoy.  The food was deliciously paired with local beers from Dogfish Head and Heavy Seas and surprisingly Washington state wineries.  When I asked no one could give me a clear reason why Maryland and Virginia wineries were not represented.

Not that I’m complaining about the wine choices.  They were great, and I certainly support the Washington State wine industry.   I especially enjoyed the 2008  Carmenere from Smasne Cellars and the 2008 Red Blend from Novelty Hill.  They were both terrific paired with the lamb dishes.  But, it would have been nice to bring attention to our local folks, too.

The lamb dishes were not just for attendees enjoyment.  The chefs also participated in a friendly competition:

Best Loin – Chef Richard Brandenburg at Cafe Atlantico
Lamb three ways

Best Shank – Chef Michael Costa at Zaytinya
Hunkar Begendi (roasted lamb shank with eggplant puree)

Best Shoulder – Chef Nick Stefanelli at Bibiana
Border Springs lamb shoulder confit with charred eggplant, lamb ravioli, and ramps

Best Leg & Best of Show – Chef John Critchley at Urbana Restaurant & Wine Bar
Slow-cooked leg of lamb with preserved lemon, dried herbs, and flowers with rosemary-scented gypsy peppers and cipolini onions

People’s Choice – BLT Steak
Braised lamb shank with paella and charred ramp gremolata

This was one of several regional events leading up to a final event in New York City.  As Best of Show winner Chef John Critchley from the Urbana Restaurant will represent Washington, DC and compete against winning chefs from Seattle, Boston, and San Francisco.

In addition to be able to enjoy delicious food and wine, attendees also got to take home some fun lamb-related swag.

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Filed under Lamb, Travel

What a Meat Market for Lamb Sausage Marinara

Here in Washington, DC most of the vendors at our local farmers’ markets sell produce. In the winter, they sell veggies that they have been able store after the winter growing season – things like carrots, potatoes, turnips, beets, onions, apples, cider and radishes. During early April you can really feel the energy and anticipation of the produce vendors building. They are planning, seeding, and quite a few are able to offer spinach and other fresh greens that they grow in their greenhouses.  The spring crops should be rolling in to our markets very soon.  I can’t wait!

While the winter vegetables are delicious, I also enjoy the meat vendors at the market this time of the year.  They offer things I can’t get at my local supermarket, and I like learning about the way the animals are raised.  In my last visit, I picked up some delicious lamb sausage.  I already had some preparation ideas, but I overheard the farmers teaching other customers about the different cuts of lamb meat and recommending ways to cook it.  So don’t be shy to experiment with new items at your local market, folks there can help make it easier.

Lamb Sausage Marinara

Serves 4

2 – 3 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 – 1 1/2 pounds lamb sausage
1 onion
1 green bell pepper
2 – 3 cloves garlic, minced
15 oz can of tomato sauce
14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp tomato paste
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried parsley
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional)
Cut the sausage into bite-size pieces.  Saute in skillet with about a tablespoon of olive oil.  Once it is very slightly browned, set aside.
Dice onion and bell pepper.
Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy bottomed pot, and add diced onions and peppers.  Lightly saute.
Add sausage.  Cook, stirring occasionally for another two minutes, or until vegetables are softened.
Add tomatoes, sauce, and paste.  Stir.  Add spices and stir again.
Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Serve over pasta – we liked it with whole grain spaghetti.  It also reheats well.


Filed under Lamb, Pasta