The characteristic feature of neck (or chuck) of lamb is the fine marbled network of fat, which gives this cut its unmistakable aroma. The relatively high proportion of fat makes the meat especially juicy and ideal for casseroles and roasts. It is usually offered boned or as a joint. The boned lamb meat is excellently suited for making curries, goulash, and ragouts. As a whole joint, the neck can also be made into a juicy roast..
Lamb loins, also known as the saddle, comprises the rib chops, the loin chops, and the two inner tenderloins. The loins can be cut into chops, lamb fillet, and lamb tenderloin. The chops are usually slightly more marbled with fat than the loin chops, making the meat very juicy and full of flavor. With their lower fat content, the loin chops are very tender and lean. The boned back can be used to prepare a delicious rolled roast. The important thing here is not to trim away the fat on the outside, since this layer of fat makes the meat particularly juicy and an ideal carrier of the flavour.
The saddle is the cut from which the most popular lamb parts are taken:
Lamb tenderloin is cut from the lower part of the loin chops and is one of the most popular lamb cuts. Its lean and tender meat make it excellently suited for frying or grilling. Chefs also particularly value the tenderloin as the filling for pies.
Lamb crown is very popular in gourmet restaurants, due to its very aromatic flavour and the way in which it can be turned into an eye-catching dish for the table. The lamb crown comprises two racks of ribs that when trimmed and cleaned can be shaped into a crown. Lamb crown should always be roasted whole to ensure that the meat is crispy on the outside while remaining tender pink in colour and juicy on the inside. The lamb crown can be served by cutting the ribs one by one.
Lamb cannon is a lean and very tender cut taken from the lamb loins. The bone-free meat is the finest cut of lamb and is very popular among gourmet chefs. This meat cut is especially suited for quick-frying.
Leg of lamb (and the classic lamb roast that more or less automatically comes to mind) is an all-time favourite among lamb aficionados. The aromatic and lean leg meat can be bought on the bone or boned. Best suited for cooking is an unboned joint, since the bone serves to keep the joint in shape while it is being braised or roasted. Leg of lamb comes from the lamb chump, and its meatiness makes it suitable for cooking in many different ways. Beside classic roast lamb, which can be prepared with or off the bone, the leg meat can also be diced for kebab skewers, fondues, or goulash.
4. Flank (belly)
This part of lamb is available with or without ribs and cartilage. The flanks can be prepared in any number of ways and are suited for many different dishes. It can be enjoyed braised as a ragout, cooked in a casserole, and also as an ingredient of stews or as a rolled roast stuffed with vegetables and fresh herbs.
Shoulder of lamb is the muscle flesh on and surrounding the shoulder blade, and is characterised by a high proportion of connective tissue. This is why it takes longer to cook to become tender. The lower layer of fat should also be removed.
Like the leg, shoulder of lamb is also excellently suited as a lamb roast. Removed from the bone, stuffed with fresh herbs, and rolled into shape, shoulder of lamb makes a delicious rolled roast. Shoulder meat can also be ground to make lamb mincemeat.
Lamb brisket is finely marbled with fat and accordingly is a very juicy meat. This cut can be used in a multitude of recipes and can be prepared on or off the bone. This marbled meat is ideally suited for making wholesome hotpots, goulash, hearty ragouts, or aromatic soups. Brisket can also be cut and grilled to make excellent spare ribs. A good roast can be cooked with the removed jowls or with the whole brisket.
There are two kinds of shank, namely the foreshank and the hindshank. Lamb foreshank is cut from the lower section of the shoulder, the hindshank from the lower section of the leg. The foreshank is considerably smaller – and hence cheaper – than the hindshank, which is ideally sized to make a portion for one person. Generally, shank meat is lean but strong in flavour.
Cooked on the bone, shank is excellently suited for roasting or braising. Due to its high content of connective tissue, it requires a longer cooking time depending on the size of the joint. It is also a very tasty ingredient in savoury hotpots. The aromatic meat and bones of this cut also go to make strong savoury gravies and stocks.
Lamb innards are very tasty and – like the meat itself – can be used in the kitchen in any number of ways.
Lamb kidneys are considered a special delicacy among gourmets and star chefs. Like the kidneys of all other animals, lamb kidneys must be watered for about one hour before cooking, ideally under running water to rinse out any toxic products. In addition, any visible fat and tubelets should be removed before further preparation. Lamb kidneys can be fried or braised whole or cut in half. Grilled kidneys are a special delicacy – tasting their very best when diced and put on a skewer.
Lamb liver is dark and very tender. Before cooking, the skin covering the lamb liver must be removed and any tubelets cut out. Lamb liver can be fried whole or sliced, and can also be into strips. Another tasty delicacy is lamb liver on a skewer with other pieces of lamb as lamb kebab.
Lamb heart is a firm meat with a savoury flavour. It can be cooked in a variety of ways and tastes excellent no matter whether braised, fried, or grilled.