Lamb meat: nutritional properties, benefits, and recipes
Lamb takes pride of place on the Italian table on Easter days when it appears in many different recipes depending on the region. In fact, it should be part of your diet throughout the year, as an alternative to other types of white meat, such as chicken or turkey.
Lamb meat is light, substantial, and digestible. If you are careful to choose the one coming from small and medium-sized farms, with an important zootechnical tradition behind them – like those of Abruzzo, a region always devoted to sheep farming and sheep breeding – you will ensure certain taste and benefits. In addition, you will help protect the territories that struggle to maintain their typical features.
Lamb meat: nutritional properties
Lamb is the son of the sheep that have passed weaning but has not yet passed 12 months of age. Let’s see what are its nutritional values.
Lamb meat: the benefits
Lamb is a type of meat that can provide you with many benefits. Here are what they are:
- rich in proteins of high biological value, ideal for the development of muscles, so much so that it is often recommended for athletes. Its protein content also makes it particularly digestible and therefore suitable for children, right from the weaning phase: lamb is in fact one of the first to be introduced in the feeding of infants in the first months of life, also for the adequate content of minerals and vitamins, especially of group B.
- Compared to other white meats, lamb is also a valuable source of potassium. A nutrient that in addition to ensuring proper muscle and heart function is also fundamental for correct maintenance of the blood pH and for the conduction of nerve impulses.
- It is a good source of iron which, in this case, is easily absorbed by the human body. An essential mineral for the transport of oxygen to organs and tissues. But it also contains other minerals such as zinc, an essential mineral for tissue growth.
- It is lean and low in calories (100 grams of raw meat bring about 100 calories and contains 2.5 g of lipids). Compared to other types of meat, it has a particularly balanced proportion between proteins and fats, an important factor for healthy eating. Furthermore, if you choose leaner cuts – such as the thigh – and eliminate the fatty parts, the caloric intake of the lamb is lowered.
Like other types of meat, it is a good source of purines, substances involved in the onset of ailments such as gout or kidney stones: those who already suffer from these pathologies should avoid consuming this meat.
Cuts and cooking
- To make lamb meat lighter and not to disperse mineral salts and vitamins, the best way to cook it is on the grill, roasted or even boiled.
- For the cuts to choose from:
- the thinnest is certainly the thigh which, when deprived of the fatty parts, has a lipid percentage of 2.5%. It is cooked whole or boned, especially to prepare the roast;
- the shoulder has a firm but tender flesh and is an excellent cut to be stuffed;
the neck is an inexpensive and tasty cut, suitable for preparing stews and braised meats since it requires long cooking;
the carré is the other fine cut of lamb together with the leg, from which the famous ribs are obtained, that is the slices of meat between one bone and the other, also known as “scottadito”.
Porked Easter lamb from the Terre Pescaresi
There are Easter recipes with lamb that manage to combine health and taste, such as that of suckling lamb, typical of the Terre Pescaresi.
This second dish combines the value of tradition and history of a region that has always been a land of shepherds and nutritional. Lamb meat is in fact an important source of potassium, vitamin B12, folate, and antioxidant trace elements such as selenium and zinc.
For your diet, keep in mind that in lamb the fat level is higher than that of veal (8.8% against 5%), but if, as in this recipe, the leg without the fat part is used, the percentage it drops to 2.5%.
In addition, the one in the oven is one of the best cooking methods for preparing lamb and, if you pay attention to the seasonings and choose to accompany the suckling lamb with seasonal vegetables, you will ensure a tasty and nutritious dish, which will allow you to celebrate Easter without guilt.
Porked lamb is a recipe by Chef Pasquale Giardini of the MACCHIE DI COCO restaurant in Roccamorice (PE).
Porked lamb: how to prepare it
Ingredients for 6 people:
- a leg of lamb of about 2.5 kg
- 2 finely chopped garlic cloves
- chopped rosemary, thyme, a bay leaf, sage
- a glass of Trebbiano d’Abruzzo
- extra virgin olive oil to taste
- Salt to taste.
- pepper as needed.
- butcher’s net and string