24 August 2008

A happy sheep is a tasty sheep

You know, I thought we might have trouble getting the kids to eat lamb that was raised here. They know the sheep by name, and I did think that we might encounter some resistance when "Brownie" was placed in front of them on the table.

Instead, they asked for seconds!

Apparently, a happy sheep is a tasty sheep.

We have been eating lamb out of our freezer for a little while now, and I have to admit, I am pleasantly surprised by both the willingness of our smaller family members to eat animals they knew by name, and by the taste of the meat.

We have tried a variety of the cuts we got from the butcher: ground, chops, and roast leg of lamb. The roast lamb was so tender it fell apart on your fork, and tasted almost exactly like roast beef, with just the slightest hint of a different flavour to it. Dipped in HP sauce and served up with mashed potatoes from the garden, it was a fabulous meal. The chops grilled up beautifully on the barbecue, as did the lamburger - seasoned with onion and barbecue sauce, and served in buns, you'd probably never have guessed you weren't eating cow.

I've had lamb at restaurants in the last year or so, and the taste was indeed fairly mild, as one would expect with grain finished lamb (all lamb that carries the "Alberta Lamb" label has been grain finished, so it's easy to know what you're eating). I was prepared for a very strong lamb flavour in our meat, as we feed only pasture, hay and the odd bit of alfalfa pellets, and grass-fed meat is often a bit stronger in taste than grain fed meat. However, the Icelandic sheep are known for a very mild taste when fed a grass-based diet, and my taste buds tell me it's absolutely true.

There's nothing quite so satisfying as eating a meal that came entirely from your own yard. Roast lamb and mashed potatoes from the garden one night, chops with salad and beans another night ... it's a good feeling.

Eating locally is a good thing. Eating from your own back yard is even better. :)

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