8 Luscious Lamb Dinner Recipes

Roast it, grill it, or let your crockpot do all the work. No matter what method you choose, you’ll end up with a wonderfully seasoned lamb dinner. American Lamb provides information any home cook or chef can consult for lamb including tips based on style of preparation, and the internal temperature different cuts need to reach in order to be safely cooked. In its guide, Lean on Lamb promises that lamb is just as easy to cook as other types of meats, but introduces new flavors to dinner. If you are confident of your lamb preparing skills, skip the tips and trick and dive straight into the 8 recipes to determine which you’ll be making tonight.

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

1. Garlic-Crusted Roast Rack of Lamb

Preparing a rack of lamb doesn’t have to be complicated. As demonstrated in this Food & Wine recipe, Kenny Rochford generously seasons and then roasts lamb in the oven for an easy but flavor-filled way of making a rack of lamb.

Ingredients:

  • 1 head of garlic, cloves peeled
  • ¼ cup rosemary leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 racks of lamb, frenched (2 pounds each)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions: In a mini food processor, combine the garlic, rosemary and olive oil and process until the garlic is finely chopped. Season the lamb racks with salt and pepper and rub the garlic-rosemary oil all over them. Set the racks fat side up on a large rimmed baking sheet and let stand for 1 hour.

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Roast the lamb in the upper third of the oven for 15 minutes. Turn the racks and roast for 10 minutes longer for medium-rare meat. Transfer the racks to a carving board, stand them upright and let rest for 10 minutes. Carve the racks in between the rib bones and transfer to plates. Serve right away.

Recommended wine pairings: 2011 Château Le Ringue Bordeaux Supérieur, 2010 MRLT Merlot, 2013 Patria Cabernet Sauvignon

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

2. Pomegranate-Merlot Braised Lamb Shanks

You’ll only need to do a little stovetop cooking before transferring the lamb to a crockpot when making Williams-Sonoma’s braised lamb shanks. The deep flavors of the sauce, which has sweet, tart, and warm elements, will season the couscous as well. It serves 6.

Ingredients:

  • 4 (½ pound) lamb shanks
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 cup Merlot
  • 1 cup pomegranate juice
  • 2 tablespoon honey
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 6 carrots, peeled and halved lengthwise
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • ⅓ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Cooked couscous, for serving

Directions: Season the lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In the stovetop-safe insert of a slow cooker over medium-high heat, warm 2 tablespoons of the oil. Working in 2 batches, brown the lamb on all sides, 7 to 8 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter.

Warm 1 tablespoon oil in the insert. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 7 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, tomato paste, thyme, cinnamon, cumin, allspice and bay leaf and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Add the wine and pomegranate juice and simmer for 5 minutes. Add the honey, broth, salt, pepper and lamb.

Transfer the insert to the slow-cooker base. Cover and cook on high according to the manufacturer’s instructions for 3 hours. Add the carrots and cook until the lamb is tender, about 1 hour more.

Transfer the lamb and carrots to a large platter. Skim the excess fat off the sauce. Set the insert over high heat and boil until the sauce is thickened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the vinegar. Pour the sauce over the lamb and sprinkle with the parsley and pomegranate seeds. Serve immediately with couscous. Serves 6.

Recommended wine pairings: 2010 Salient Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Rockwell Merlot

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

3. Lamb Bolognese

In this Cooking Channel recipe, Michael Symon chose lamb for the homemade meat sauce that accompanies his pasta. Fettuccini is another pasta choice if you do not have tagliatelle on hand. It yields 4 to 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb shoulder
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 1 stalk celery, roughly chopped
  • 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups dry red wine
  • 12 ounces canned San Marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 3 sprigs fresh oregano
  • 1 fresh bay leaf
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • Pinch chile flakes
  • 2 pounds tagliatelle pasta
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup picked and torn fresh mint leaves

Directions: Heat a large rondeau (or Dutch oven) with the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the lamb with a liberal pinch of salt and cook until brown, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the carrots, celery and onions in a food processor and pulse to chop finely.

With a slotted spoon, remove the browned lamb from the pan and set aside. Add the vegetables to the pan with a large pinch of salt and sweat until translucent and aromatic, 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and sweat 1 minute more. Deglaze the pan with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon to get all the goodies into the sauce.

Bring to a simmer and cook until reduced by about half. Then add the tomatoes, oregano, bay leaf, cinnamon stick and chile flakes, and simmer for 10 minutes. Add the lamb back into the pan and let simmer 20 to 30 minutes longer.

While the sauce is simmering, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. When you have 10 minutes left for the sauce, drop the pasta into the boiling water and give a stir so it doesn’t stick. When the pasta is cooked al dente, remove and set aside ½ cup of the pasta water, and then drain the pasta. Stir the pasta into the sauce to coat the noodles. Add the reserved pasta water, Parmesan, butter, olive oil and mint and continue to mix. Once the butter is melted and everything is incorporated, remove from the heat and serve immediately.

Recommended wine pairings: A Barbera, Cabernet Franc, or 2011 Rockwell Merlot

Source: Thinkstock

Source: Thinkstock

4. Rosemary and Mint Lamb Stir Fry with Apricot Couscous

For a different way to combine couscous and lamb, try Whole Foods’ recipe for a rosemary and mint lamb that is served with an apricot flavored couscous. Keep the couscous recipe handy, as you can serve it as a side for other meats like chicken or steak, too.

Ingredients:

Rosemary and Mint Lamb

  • 3 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon macadamia nut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint
  • 2 slices lemon
  • 1 dried red chile, halved
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • ¾ pound lean lamb stew meat, cut into thin strips

Apricot Couscous

  • 1½ cup Israeli couscous
  • 2 fresh apricots, sliced (or 2 dried apricots, chopped and soaked in hot water to rehydrate)
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 1 teaspoon macadamia nut oil
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon expeller-pressed canola oil
  • 1½ cup sliced shiitake mushrooms
  • 1 cup halved green beans
  • 1 cup sugar snap peas
  • 2 tablespoons red wine
  • 3 cups baby spinach

Directions: For lamb, combine garlic, olive oil, macadamia nut oil, honey, rosemary, mint, lemon, chile, salt and pepper in a wide, shallow dish. Add lamb, stir to coat, cover and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

For the couscous, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Add couscous, apricots, mint, green onions, oil, salt and pepper and cook over medium heat, stirring constantly to ensure couscous does not stick to bottom of pan, for about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, cover and allow to sit for about 7 minutes, while couscous absorbs the remaining water.

Meanwhile, make the stir fry. Heat canola oil in a wok or skillet over high heat until very hot. Add lamb and its marinade and cook, stirring constantly, until lamb is browned, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Transfer lamb to a plate. Add mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes, until their liquid is released. Add beans and snap peas and cook, stirring frequently, for about 3 minutes, until crisp-tender. Stir in wine, scraping to release browned bits on the bottom of the wok.

Return lamb wok and cook for about 3 minutes, just until lamb is cooked through. Add spinach and cook, stirring constantly, until just wilted, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Serve lamb and vegetables spooned over the apricot couscous.

Recommended wine pairings: 2013 Patria Cabernet Sauvignon, 2005 Molino y Lagares Bullas Lavia

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

5. Grilled Leg of Lamb With Spicy Lime Yogurt Sauce

Feed a crowd by grilling leg of lamb using this recipe from The New York Times. From the leg of lamb, you’ll end up with 12 to 15 servings–ideal for parties. For the best results, marinate the lamb overnight in the fridge.

Ingredients:

Lamb

  • 1 (5- to 6-pound) boneless butterflied leg of lamb, well trimmed
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup mixed chopped thyme and rosemary
  • Grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 8 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2½ teaspoons kosher salt, more as needed
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper

Yogurt Sauce

  • 1½ cups plain Greek yogurt
  • ½ cup basil leaves
  • ¼ cup mint leaves
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 (1-inch-thick) slice of ginger, coarsely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 small jalapeño, halved and seeded if desired
  • 1 large scallion, trimmed
  • Grated zest of 1 lime
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt, more to taste

Directions: Pat lamb dry with paper towels and place it on a rimmed baking sheet. In a bowl, combine oil, herbs, orange zest and juice, the minced garlic cloves, salt and pepper. Rub mixture all over lamb. Cover with plastic wrap and let marinate at room temperature for 2 hours, or overnight in the refrigerator.

Meanwhile, prepare the sauce. Place all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Taste and add more salt if you like.

Heat the grill. Wipe lamb with paper towels, removing most of the rub, then grill until a digital thermometer reads 120 degrees for rare or 130 for medium (about 6 to 15 minutes per side, depending on how you like your meat and how thick the lamb is). If the meat starts to char before it’s done, move it to a cooler part of the grill to finish cooking. Let rest for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing and serving with the yogurt sauce.

Recommended wine pairings: 2012 Ombré Pinot Noir, 2011 Nugan Third Generation Shiraz

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

6. Marinated Lamb Kebabs

To grill lamb while feeding fewer people, make Ina Garten’s lamb kebabs from the Food Network. Featured in an episode about Greek inspired dishes, keep Garten’s theme going by serving with a Greek salad, or warm pita bread. It yields between 4 and 6 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound plain yogurt (regular or lowfat)
  • ¼ cup good olive oil, plus more for brushing grill
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (2 lemons)
  • 5 tablespoons fresh whole rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 pounds top round lamb
  • 1 red onion

Directions: Combine the yogurt, olive oil, lemon zest and juice, rosemary, salt, and pepper in a large, non-reactive bowl. Add the lamb, making sure it is covered with the marinade, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight or for up to 2 days.

Prepare a charcoal grill with hot coals. Spread the coals in one tight layer on the grill. Cut the lamb in 1½-inch cubes. You should have about 20 cubes.

Cut the red onion in 8 pieces and separate each piece into 3 or 4 sections. Loosely thread 3 or 4 pieces of lamb onto skewers alternately with sections of onion. Sprinkle both sides of the lamb cubes with salt and pepper. Place the skewers on the hot grill and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, turning 2 or 3 times, until the lamb is medium-rare.

Recommended wine pairings: 2013 Brethren of the Road Syrah, 2010 MRLT Merlot

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

7. Eggplant Stuffed with Lamb and Feta

Rather than using ground lamb to make burgers or a pasta sauce, use to make AllRecipes.com‘s stuffed eggplant. With measurements based on 2 large eggplants, you can easily adjust the recipe to make as many eggplant halves as needed.

Ingredients:

  • 2 large eggplants, halved lengthwise
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1 pound ground lamb
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • ½ green bell pepper, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1¼ cups marinara sauce
  • 1 (8 ounce) package crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • ½ cup dry bread crumbs
  • ½ cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Brush the cut surfaces of the eggplant halves with half of the olive oil. Place cut-side-up onto the baking sheet, and place into the oven. Bake the eggplant for 30 minutes until tender. Once done, remove and allow to cool slightly. Scoop out the flesh, leaving the shells ½-inch thick. Remove as many of the seeds as you can, then coarsely chop the flesh, and place into a large mixing bowl.

Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the ground lamb, and cook for a few minutes until it begins to crumble. Stir in the onion, bell pepper, garlic, cinnamon, allspice, and black pepper. Cook until the onion has softened, and the lamb is no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Place the meat mixture into the bowl with the eggplant, and stir in the marinara sauce, feta cheese, eggs, and bread crumbs until well mixed.

Evenly divide the lamb mixture into the eggplant shells, then return the eggplant to the oven. Bake for 10 minutes, then sprinkle with the mozzarella, and reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Bake until the filling has set, and the mozzarella has turned golden brown, about 25 minutes more.

Recommended wine pairings: 2010 Salient Cabernet Sauvignon, 2007 Miller Wine Works Syrah

Source: iStock

Source: iStock

8. Herb Roasted Lamb Chops

Bon Appétit‘s herb roasted lamb chops are a versatile main. For a light dinner, pair the chops with a salad or side of vegetables. You could also make a risotto, or creamy mashed potato to accompany the meal. It will yield 4 servings.

Ingredients:

  • 4 large garlic cloves, pressed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves, lightly crushed
  • 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves, lightly crushed
  • 2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 6 (1¼-inch-thick) lamb loin chops

Directions: Mix first 4 ingredients and 1 tablespoon olive oil in large bowl. Add lamb; turn to coat. Let marinate at room temperature at least 30 minutes and up to 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil in heavy large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add lamb; cook until browned, about 3 minutes per side. Transfer skillet to oven and roast lamb chops to desired doneness, about 10 minutes for medium-rare. Transfer lamb to platter, cover, and let rest 5 minutes.

Recommended wine pairings: 2010 Redux Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Rockwell Merlot

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