The lamb breast is one of the lesser known cuts of lamb, but can be one of tastiest.
The very rich flavor you get with this cut makes its preparation worthwhile.
This fatty cut comes from the belly of the lamb and usually incorporates a few of the ribs.
You will probably recognize this when you see that roast that has been rolled up, tied and cooked.
In the Middle East we cook lamb breast differently, and that is the recipe I will share here.
In the Arab world it is very common that you slaughter a sheep for the feast of the sacrifice.
It celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.
Of course he didn’t go through with it because at the last minute God had him sacrifice a lamb instead.
To this day Muslim people will sacrifice a sheep and give it to the poor on this feast.
When I was a kid living in Jerusalem, about a month or two before this feast a cute lamb would show up in our yard.
It would graze and get fatter and fatter, and at first I thought it was so lovely that my grandparents had gotten us a new pet.
Of course the grim reality would come around soon enough, and this is where I learned about what I was eating and where it came from.
How to Cook Roast Lamb Breast
Slaughtering the lamb meant that we would use all of it, all cuts of meat, including the head.
And when it came to the lamb breast, my grandmother would open a slit between the fat of the belly and the meat.
It is slow cooked allowing the meat to melt in your mouth, in a truly delicious way.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F (150ºC)
Put the lamb breast in the roasting pan fat side down to catch the fat drippings.
Make the rice stuffing in a pot and transfer to the roasting tin by stuffing the lamb breast.
Place in the oven and cook for an hour, increase oven temperature to 450 for an hour.
Turn down to 200 for two more hours.
My dad loves this meal, I think because of the associations of being young and at home.
It is a bit time intensive, but if you can get the butcher to create the pocket for you it makes it that much easier.
Roasted Lamb Breast Recipe
- Preheat oven to 300ºF (150ºC).
- Mix the rice with the salt, spices, and ground lamb until well incorporated. Put rice in a medium sized pot and add the water.
- Bring to a bowl, and then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cover the pot, leaving a gap for the steam to be released. Cook until all the water has evaporated and the rice is done.
- Cut an opening between the lamb fat and meat using a very sharp knife. Create a pocket for the stuffing.
- Once the rice is done, allow it to cool so it reaches a temperature you can work with. Stuff the lamb breast with the rice stuffing.
- Put in a pan and cover tightly with aluminum foil. Place in the oven for an hour.
- Raise the temperature to 450ºF and cook for an additional hour.
- Lower the temperature to 200ºF and leave for two more hours.