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 a 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.
What is Lamb Breast?
The lamb breast is cut from the belly of the lamb, it normally has some rib bones attached to it.
It is a very fatty cut, and can be very tough if not cooked properly, making it a less expensive piece of meat.
Typically we see this cut treated similarly to pork belly, rolled, tied and cooked at a low temperature over a long period.
The Middle Eastern version of lamb breast recipe is different in that it incorporates stuffing and no rolling.
The stuffing is a typical rice, ground meat, and spice filling stuffed into the lamb breast.
Known as dullah in the Levant, it is a very popular dish, and of course delicious.
How to Cook Roast Lamb Breast
When a lamb is slaughtered in the Arab world, all the cuts of meat are used, including the head.
And when it comes to the lamb breast, a slit between the fat of the belly and the meat is opened up.
This forms a kind of pocket that holds the rice and meat filling, that once filled is closed with string.
It is slow cooked, so once done, allows the meat to melt in your mouth, in a truly delicious way.
The details are as follows:
Preheat the 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 it to the roasting pan to stuff the lamb breast.
It is optional to rub olive oil and black pepper on the meat before you cover with foil, and place in the oven.
Place in the oven and cook for an hour, then increase oven temperature to 450 for another hour.
Turn down to 200 for two more hours.
Remove the lamb from the oven and let rest in the foil for 20 minutes before serving.
This meal is a bit time intensive, but well worth it especially as the meat falls off the bone.
If you can get the butcher to create the pocket in the breast for you it makes it that much easier.
Lamb Meat at Feast Time
In the Muslim world it is very common that a sheep is slaughtered for the feast of the sacrifice.
This ceremony should also be familiar to Jews and Christians as the biblical story of Isaac.
It celebrates Abraham’s willingness to sacrifice his son as an act of obedience to God.
In the end he didn’t go through with it because at the last minute God sent him a ram to sacrifice instead.
To this day, it is a tradition that Muslim people will sacrifice a sheep and give the eat to the poor on this feast.
The animal is normally blindfolded, and killed benevolently, thanking the animal and asking God to accept their sacrifice.
“Oh our God, bless us as you blessed Abraham, and the family of Abraham” is the phrase Muslims recite during this feast.
Roasted Lamb Breast Recipe
- 2 lb Lamb Breast including a few ribs
- 2 cups Rice
- 4 cups Water
- 2 tsp Salt
- 2 tsp Seven Spices
- ⅛ lb Ground Lamb
- 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.
- Serve with salad and yogurt.