Lamb with herbs and honey
Lamb with herbs and honey

Baked lamb is a dish with a deep-rooted gastronomic tradition in our country. It is a classic dish to share with family and friends during the festive season or on special occasions. It is simple to prepare and will take little of your time, so, in fact, no matter the time or place, any day of the year is good to enjoy this delicacy.


The nutritional benefits of lamb and honey

Lamb meat is not a food we should consume with excessive frequency due to its high fat. Despite this, it is very beneficial for our health. For example, it contains proteins that guarantee the contribution of all the essential amino acids that our organism needs but that it does not produce by itself or is challenging to obtain. It is also an easy-to-digest meat. It is rich in folic acid, indispensable for the proper development of the fetus; iron, necessary to prevent anemia; vitamin B12 and lysine, which strengthen the immune and nervous systems; and tryptophan, which favors sleep, reduces stress, and improves mood.

As for honey, ancient civilizations already knew about its medicinal properties and used it frequently. Today, it is a very nutritious food, rich in antioxidants and micronutrients. Regular consumption reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, reduces bad cholesterol and triglyceride levels, increases good cholesterol, and acts as an anti-inflammatory and antibacterial agent. In addition, despite its glucose content, people with diabetes can tolerate it better than sugar.

How to prepare lamb with honey and herbs

The following culinary proposal is based on the traditional recipe but with a different touch by sweetening it with honey and substituting basil for rosemary and thyme.

Ingredients:

  • 1 shoulder of suckling lamb
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 3 heaped spoonfuls of honey
  • 5 tablespoons of mild virgin olive oil
  • Fresh basil
  • Approximately 500 ml of water
  • Salt and black pepper

For the garnish:

  • 6 large potatoes
  • 1 onion
  • Salt
  • Fresh basil
  • Extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:

  • Peel the garlic cloves and put them in a mortar with the basil. Add 5 tablespoons of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of honey when well crushed. Stir so that all the ingredients are well integrated.
  • Season the shoulder with salt and pepper on all sides and place it in an ovenproof dish. Spread it well with the honey mixture.
  • Add about 150 ml of water to the plate and put it in the oven at 180 °C, with heat up and down, for about 90 minutes, depending on the oven.
  • Turn the lamb over so that all sides are well browned, and add water as it evaporates during the baking process. After this time, the meat should be well-browned on the outside and cooked on the inside. You can open a little in the meatier areas to check if the meat is done.
  • To avoid running out of sauce and the honey caramelizing excessively, drizzle the meat with the cooking liquid every time you turn the lamb and add water.

Preparation of the garnish:

  • Peel the potatoes and onion and cut them into slices.
  • Add plenty of light olive oil and vegetables with a pinch of basil in a large frying pan.
  • Cook over medium heat for 35-40 minutes or until the potato is golden brown and crispy. Remove from the heat, add salt to taste, and drain.
  • Serve the lamb with the potatoes and some baking sauce in a separate bowl.

Tips for a perfect baked lamb

When choosing which part of the lamb to cook, remember that the shoulder is the most delicate and smallest part, while the rack has the fattest and, therefore, the juiciest.

There are also differences between suckling lamb and the rest, which are somewhat larger. On the one hand, the taste of the suckling lamb is milder, and it cooks in just 2 hours. On the other hand, the others will take 30 to 50 minutes longer to roast.

For a crispy finish, preheat the oven to 180º, bake the lamb for 45 minutes skin side down (this way, the meat will be more tender and juicy), and 45 minutes skin side up. Then raise the temperature to 200º and bake for 15 more minutes to finish roasting the skin.

Remember to place the lamb on an oven rack on a tray in which a little water should be placed. Do not allow the meat to come into contact with the liquid.

Honey adds a touch of sweetness to this dish. But be careful not to increase the quantity indicated in the recipe because you risk the roast being too sweet and masking the flavor of the lamb. When cooking more shoulder lamb than expected, you can add more honey, but always proportionately to the meat.

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