The other day, I was restocking my fridge with an order at FreshDirect. I’m not a huge fan of their produce, but they are convenient and they have a surprisingly well stocked selection of meat. I love browsing through the different cuts of meat and on this visit I came across something I’d never seen before. Lamb breast!
Craving lamb and curious as to the nature of this new find I promptly added it to my cart and was delighted to see the whole rack came in at just over $4. I’m not entirely sure why it’s called “breast” meat since it’s from the rib area and has more in common with spare ribs than with chicken breast. Being a rib meat, it’s packed with flavor, fat and connective tissue, so I decided to slow roast it to render out some of the fat and break down the collagen. I’d been toying around the idea of a curry encrusted roast leg of lamb for a while, so I just adapted the idea for this novel cut of lamb.
I started it a bit late and by 8pm we were both starving so we went ahead and ate it, but it could have probably used another hour for the collagen and fat to fully break down. The meat itself was tender, moist and the curry crust worked out just as planned: spicy, savoury and incredibly aromatic. Given my unemployed status, and the fact that this is a third of the price of lamb “stew meat” this is definitely my new go-to cut when I’m craving lamb. I think it would also do well braised or grilled/smoked.
To offset the intense spice, I served it with a raita using some Thai basil and toasted cumin seeds. For the starch I just made some cous cous and topped it with caramelized onions for a little balancing sweetness.
2 lbs lamb breast
1 tbs minced fresh ginger
3 large cloves garlic
2 tsp kosher salt (or 1 tsp table salt)
1 tsp sugar
for curry crust
1 tbs garam masala
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
for Thai basil raita
8oz strained yogurt (“Greek” yogurt)
2 Tbs minced Thai basil
1 tsp toasted cumin
pinch of salt
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F.
Mash the garlic, ginger and salt together to make a paste. Rub this all over the lamb breast.
Mix the spices together then sprinkle on both sides of the breast.
Roast for about 3 hours or until the the meat is fork tender and pulls away from the bones.
For the raita, just whisk the ingredients together and salt to taste.