Lamb is a meat well known in the traditions since it is generally eaten at Easter during family meals. It is a fatty meat which can be cooked in various ways and whose consumption must be limited.
Characteristics of the lamb:
- Rich in protein;
- Sources of lipids;
- Source of iron;
- Source of group B vitamin;
- Limits the risk of anemia.
What is lamb?
Lamb identity card
- Type: Meat;
- Family: Goat;
- Origin: Europe;
- Season: All year round;
- Red color ;
- Flavor: Pronounced.
Characteristics of the lamb
Lamb is the offspring of sheep. It is tender meat.
Word from the nutritionist
Lamb is a meat rich in lipids, so it should be eaten in moderation.
For 100g of cooked lamb:
|Vitamin D||2 IU|
|Vitamin B12||2.6 µg|
11 benefits of lamb: why eat it?
- Lamb meat contains a high proportion of saturated fatty acids. In fact, these represent about 50% of the total amount of fat found in these meats, which is comparable to the proportions found in beef and pork. On the other hand, the link between the consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular risk has not yet been fully elucidated and has been the subject of controversy in recent years. Indeed, these would not be as bad as they have been saying for a long time, because the current data do not support the recommendations on cardiovascular health which favor a low total intake of saturated fat. Consuming large amounts of saturated fat has long been associated with adverse health effects. For example, studies have shown a significant link between the consumption of saturated fat and the increased risk of esophageal cancer and colorectal cancer. In another vein, two studies of healthy volunteers report that eating saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although this association is not significant. More studies would therefore be necessary to clearly demonstrate the link between the consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular risk as well as type 2 diabetes. two studies with healthy volunteers report that the consumption of saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although this association is not significant. More studies would therefore be necessary to clearly demonstrate the link between the consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular risk as well as type 2 diabetes. two studies with healthy volunteers report that the consumption of saturated fat is associated with an increased risk of developing type 2 diabetes, although this association is not significant. More studies would therefore be necessary to clearly demonstrate the link between the consumption of saturated fat and cardiovascular risk as well as type 2 diabetes.
- Stearic acid is a fatty acid found in lamb meat and accounts for more than 29% of total saturated fatty acids. Unlike most saturated fats, stearic acid is believed to cause HDL-cholesterol (commonly known as “good cholesterol”) to rise and would have virtually no impact on LDL-cholesterol (“bad cholesterol”) 6. In addition, stearic acid would slightly decrease the total cholesterol supercholesterol-HDL ratio, which is a desirable effect. So despite the fact that lamb meat has a saturated fat content of almost 43%, more than a quarter of these fatty acids have a less harmful effect on health. This feature therefore increases its nutritional quality.
- The fat in lamb meat contains about 44% monounsaturated fatty acids, of which more than 80% consists of oleic acid. In general, the consumption of monounsaturated fatty acids would allow the reduction of total cholesterol without modifying the concentration of HDL-cholesterol in the blood. In addition, monounsaturated fatty acids, and more specifically oleic acid, would decrease the risk of breast cancer, thrombosis, atherosclerosis and cardiovascular disease.
- According to epidemiological studies, polyunsaturated fatty acids reduce the risk of morbidity and mortality from cardiovascular disease. However, they are found in small quantities in lamb meat (around 6% of total fat). Among the polyunsaturated fatty acids found in lamb meat, there is about 5% alpha-linolenic acid, a fat from the omega-3 family. This is a negligible amount compared to pork or rabbit meat.
- Conjugated linoleic acids are a group of polyunsaturated fatty acids derived from linoleic acid. Produced inter alia during the process of digestion of ruminants, CLA are present exclusively in the meat obtained from these animals (beef, lamb, sheep, deer) as well as in milk and dairy products. Studies in animals have shown that, in general, CLA would prevent obesity by reducing the deposition of adipose tissue and body fat. Consuming CLA has also been shown to decrease the risk of breast, skin and colon cancer, again following studies in animals. Finally, CLA demonstrated antihypertensive effects in the rat. However, it is important to remember that the same beneficial effects have yet to be confirmed in humans. For this reason, researchers remain cautious about issuing clear recommendations regarding their consumption. In addition, the majority of studies have been done using CLA supplements. Thus, the effect of CLA naturally present in lamb and sheep remains to be determined. In studies carried out using supplements, therapeutic effects have been observed at daily doses of 3.5 g to 7 g of ALC15 (see the file Conjugated linoleic acids). Note that lamb and mutton contain very small amounts of CLA, from 5 mg to 15 mg of CLA per 100 g of meat. researchers remain cautious about issuing clear recommendations regarding their consumption. In addition, the majority of studies have been done using CLA supplements. Thus, the effect of CLA naturally present in lamb and sheep remains to be determined. In studies carried out using supplements, therapeutic effects have been observed at daily doses of 3.5 g to 7 g of ALC15 (see the file Conjugated linoleic acids). Note that lamb and mutton contain very small amounts of CLA, from 5 mg to 15 mg of CLA per 100 g of meat. researchers remain cautious about issuing clear recommendations regarding their consumption. In addition, the majority of studies have been done using CLA supplements. Thus, the effect of CLA naturally present in lamb and sheep remains to be determined. In studies carried out using supplements, therapeutic effects have been observed at daily doses of 3.5 g to 7 g of ALC15 (see the file Conjugated linoleic acids). Note that lamb and mutton contain very small amounts of CLA, from 5 mg to 15 mg of CLA per 100 g of meat. In studies carried out using supplements, therapeutic effects have been observed at daily doses of 3.5 g to 7 g of ALC15 (see the file Conjugated linoleic acids). Note that lamb and mutton contain very small amounts of CLA, from 5 mg to 15 mg of CLA per 100 g of meat. In studies carried out using supplements, therapeutic effects have been observed at daily doses of 3.5 g to 7 g of ALC15 (see the file Conjugated linoleic acids). Note that lamb and mutton contain very small amounts of CLA, from 5 mg to 15 mg of CLA per 100 g of meat.
- he leg of lamb and the lamb chop are excellent sources of phosphorus. Phosphorus is the second most abundant mineral in the body after calcium. It plays an essential role in the formation and maintenance of healthy bones and teeth. In addition, it participates among other things in the growth and regeneration of tissues and helps to maintain normal blood pH. It is one of the constituents of cell membranes.
- The leg of lamb is an excellent source of iron for men, but only a source for women, since their respective needs for this mineral are different. The lamb chop is a good source of iron for men and a source for women. Each body cell contains iron. This mineral is essential for the transport of oxygen and the formation of red blood cells in the blood. It also plays a role in the production of new cells, hormones and neurotransmitters (messengers in nerve impulses). It should be noted that the iron contained in food of animal origin is very well absorbed by the body compared to iron from plants.
- The leg of lamb and the lamb chop are excellent sources of zinc. Zinc is involved in particular in immune reactions, in the production of genetic material, in the perception of taste, in the healing of wounds and in the development of the fetus. Zinc also interacts with sex and thyroid hormones. In the pancreas, it participates in the synthesis (production), the storage and the release of insulin.
- The leg of lamb and the rib of lamb are excellent sources of vitamin B2. Vitamin B2 is also known as riboflavin. Like vitamin B1, it plays a role in the energy metabolism of all cells. In addition, it contributes to tissue growth and repair, hormone production and the formation of red blood cells.
- The leg of lamb and the lamb chop are excellent sources of vitamin B3. Also called niacin, vitamin B3 participates in many metabolic reactions and contributes particularly to the production of energy from the carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and alcohol that we ingest. It also participates in the DNA formation process, allowing normal growth and development.
- The leg of lamb and the rib of lamb are excellent sources of vitamin B12. This vitamin works together with folic acid (vitamin B9) to make red blood cells in the blood. It also works to maintain nerve cells and the cells that make bone tissue.
Choose the right lamb
The different forms
The categories of lambs offered on the market are established according to the age or weight of the animal: suckling lamb for the smallest, heavy lamb for the largest and, in between, light lamb. It is the heavy lamb that is most commonly found on butcher’s stalls. Its flesh is a deep pink and its flavor pronounced, while the flesh of suckling lamb is almost white and of a more bland taste.
In the refrigerator: chilled, lamb and mutton keep for about three days in the refrigerator (one or two days if the meat is ground).
In the freezer: in pieces, eight to ten months; chopped, two to three months.
Preparation of the lamb
How to cook it? How to match it?
As with all meats, lamb has more flavor if cooked with the bone.
The lamb offers maximum flavor when it is slightly pink. Take the internal temperature using a thermometer inserted into the meat: at 63 ° C (145 ° F), the meat is rare, at 68 ° C (155 ° F), it is just right and at 75 ° C (165 ° F), it is well cooked. For safety, the ground lamb should be cooked until the temperature reaches 68 ° C (155 ° F).
Lamb fat tends to harden when it is at room temperature, it is recommended to serve these meats in warmed plates.
The leg is the piece that we prefer to cook.
On Green Island (Quebec), as well as on the island of Salt Spring (British Columbia) and on the Brittany, Normandy and Picardy coasts in France, lambs eat plants salted by sea spray, where their name of “salted meadows lambs”. Their particularly tasty flesh is appreciated by gourmets. However, it is only found on the market in the fall and mainly in large restaurants, which take up almost all of the production.
- The simplest recipe is to incise it over its entire surface and place garlic pieces in the incisions. Brush it generously with mustard and sprinkle with dried thyme or rosemary. Bake at 240 ° C (465 ° F), cook for half an hour to an hour depending on its size and the desired degree of doneness. Let stand ten minutes before serving. To make the sauce, deglaze the roasting pan with red wine and add garlic cloves cooked in water and mashed to this juice, as well as chopped mint.
- In Greece, the heavy leg of lamb is marinated overnight in a sauce made of red wine (three cups), a good quantity of minced garlic, oregano, rosemary, olive oil and lemon juice (one cup). We then make cuts in the flesh which we rub with a paste made of garlic, oregano, rosemary, salt and pepper, making it penetrate well into the cuts. With a brush, coat the leg of olive oil, then place it in a roasting pan on a bed of potatoes, garlic, herbs and lemon juice. Bake for 90 minutes in the oven, basting a few times with the juice that settles in the bottom of the roasting pan and turning the potatoes occasionally.
- In India, it is incised over its entire surface and coated with a spice puree (garlic, fresh ginger, cardamom, cloves, cumin, turmeric and hot peppers) passed through a blender. Make the puree penetrate well into the incisions. It is then coated with a mixture of pistachios, raisins, almonds and yogurt, also passed through a blender, coated with honey and left to marinate covered for 24 to 48 hours in the refrigerator. Put in the oven after pouring a little saffron water into the bottom of the roasting pan.
- You can also cut the leg into thin slices which you will prepare as a fondue.
- The shoulder can be cooked whole in the same way as the leg. It is cheaper, but generally more fatty.
- Use leftover salad or stuff peppers, squash, zucchini, etc.
These dishes are common wherever mutton is traditionally eaten. Lamb, especially heavy, is also suitable.
- Ground lamb: North African tagine: the pieces of meat are returned in olive oil, then baked in the oven at about 150 ° C (300 ° F) in an earthenware dish with a conical lid (the tagine, which gave its name to the dishes that are cooked there). They simmer with garlic, onion, various spices (chili, saffron, ginger, cinnamon, cumin, paprika), lemon zest and, depending on the recipe, vegetables, legumes, dried fruits and nuts. It is generally served with wheat semolina, but it can be varied with corn or millet semolina, pearl barley, rice, etc.). If there is no tagine, use a thick, airtight pan. Here are some classics: with prunes or dried apricots put to swell for an hour in an infusion of green tea, and almonds; with potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, zucchini, eggplant, etc. with artichoke hearts and peas; with green olives and candied lemons; with candied tomatoes and pine nuts; with pears or apples; with chickpeas; with red onions and bell pepper.
- In Lebanon, yaknets obey the same culinary principles with the difference that they are not cooked in a tagine. Try the following variations: spinach, lemon juice and pine nuts; green beans and tomatoes or dried beans and tomato puree.
- In India, the pieces of lamb or mutton are cooked with various spices and the curry is linked with yogurt or a yogurt-cream mixture to give it smoothness; in some dishes, coconut milk replaces yogurt, in others we use both.
- In Tunisia, they are cooked with tomatoes and a little water for half an hour. Then put in the oven for about twenty minutes with a sauce composed of beaten eggs, grated cheese, chopped mint, tabil (mixture of turmeric, garlic, pepper and coriander seeds, cumin, fennel and anise ) and meat broth.
- In Malaysia, it is cooked in coconut milk, with lemongrass, tamarind, turmeric, cinnamon, cloves, coriander leaves, garlic, shallots and zest. ‘a lime.
- In France, a navarin is prepared: the pieces of lamb are returned to the oil, then baked for an hour in the oven with tomatoes, thyme, garlic and a bay leaf. Then add pieces of carrots, potatoes and turnips, as well as pearl onions, and continue cooking for one hour. Finally, we cook for ten more minutes with peas and green beans cut into sections.
- In Russia, the mutton is prepared in soup with cabbage, carrots, fennel, celeriac, onions and prunes, the latter being added only three-quarters of an hour before the end of cooking, which lasts three hours. We reserve the meat and cook wheat semolina in the broth, which is served separately, while the meat and vegetables are accompanied by beets and pickled pickles.
- The mutton is used in the preparation of other traditional dishes such as goulash, Carcassonne cassoulet and mutton bean, the latter two comprising dry beans.
- It can be cooked with rice as in this Indian biryani where layers of cooked rice alternate with pieces of lamb returned in oil with spices, raisins, pistachios, almonds, cashews and topped with yogurt. Add the broth, cover and place in the oven until the lamb is tender (about 20 minutes) and all the liquid is absorbed. Sheep and rice also go well in this Italian pilaf: the diced meat is cooked for half an hour in broth with chopped onions, a julienne of peppers and a bouquet garni. Then add raisins, pine nuts and rice, and finish cooking in the oven until the rice is cooked through.
Ground lamb can be used as a hamburger. Season with a mint sauce. It is also used in the composition of moussaka – a dish made from eggplants – and stuffed grape leaves. You can shape the meat into sausage shapes after mixing it with an egg, a spoonful of flour and the spices of your choice. Pass everything in a blender to obtain a fine texture. Form the sausages and thread them on metal skewers. Cook on or under the grill and serve with a sauce made of yogurt, garlic and chopped mint.
- In India, we omit the egg and instead incorporate finely chopped onions, chopped cilantro leaves, ground almonds, chickpea flour, yogurt and spices into minced meat. Grilled sausages are served on a simple salad, made with thin slices of onions and tomatoes, radishes, lemon wedges and a few hot peppers, all topped with lemon juice.
- Lebanese Kibbeh: finely chop onions and mix them with ground lamb and bulgur which will have been soaked for an hour in water. Shape into patties and grill in the pan. Serve with yogurt sauce.
- In Turkey, we make skewers: the pieces of meat are macerated overnight in a mixture of tomato puree, chili puree, chopped garlic, olive oil and herbs and ground spices (savory, cinnamon, mint, cumin and pepper). The skewers are cooked on the grill and served with grilled peppers and finely chopped red onions, put in brine for a few minutes with coarse salt, then drained and seasoned with a good amount of chopped parsley and, if found, some sumac powder.
- In France, rack of lamb is traditionally served with flageolet beans.
- Grill the merguez in a pan or on the grill and add them to the couscous.
- The liver, heart, kidneys, sweetbread and lamb brains can be eaten. Sheep offal is also eaten, but requires longer cooking: in India, a curry is made with the liver and kidneys.
- With the bones, we can make a broth that will prepare the Scotch Broth with barley, carrots and celery.
To take full advantage of the health properties of lamb or mutton, it is important to cook them properly to avoid the formation of potentially carcinogenic compounds. Avoid charring or overcooking the meat and use frying and cooking on the grill or barbecue less often.
Red meat consumption and the risk of breast cancer
The consumption of red meat and animal fat has often been associated with an increased risk of breast cancer. In this regard, an observational study of 200 women found no significant link between the consumption of lamb meat, or red meat in general, and the risk of breast cancer16. These results remain to be confirmed by other studies.
History of the lamb
Does the sheep come from the Near East, the Middle East, Central Asia, or even Europe? Was it domesticated 6,000 years ago, 8,000 years ago, or 10,000 years ago? Is it a descendant of the Asian bighorn sheep, the European bighorn sheep, the urial or the argali? Theories on these issues abound and diverge.
An unusual source of fat
In the Middle East, nomads traditionally raised a breed of sheep with an imposing tail which, like the bumps of the camel, acted as a reserve of fat for periods of famine and drought, both for animal itself only for humans. Its weight could reach one sixth of that of the beast and, in some cases, constitute a serious handicap. To the point that breeders equipped their animals with small wheeled carts intended to support it and prevent it from dragging on the ground.
However, we agree that it has been domesticated for a very long time, probably after the dog and the goat, but before the cow and the horse. Its main ancestor is most likely the Asian bighorn sheep, with a possible contribution of other species to its genetic heritage.
As far back as it goes, it is the animal of choice for the pastoral populations of Central Asia, North Africa and the Middle East, to which it supplies wool, leather, milk and meat. Especially since it can survive with little and adapt to the harshest climates as well as the most difficult terrains. In the Middle Ages, it also held a large place in the daily life of Europeans, who raised huge herds. It will be introduced in Latin America by the Spanish during the conquest and will be quickly adopted by the local populations, while in the United States and in Canada, it will remain marginal.
The successive selections made by humans according to their wool, meat or milk needs, coupled with the great variability within the species and its excellent adaptability, have made it possible to obtain breeds (we count today more than 200) with very different characteristics from each other. So much so that the animals in some of them are more like a goat or a gazelle, while others are more reminiscent of the llama or alpaca.
Sheep are now raised on all continents and in all latitudes. Its population is estimated at more than a billion heads.