Humans have raised sheep for more than 9,000 years, making them one of our oldest domesticated meat species. One 4-oz. portion of fresh, lean loin-trimmed to 1/8-inch fat and cooked-contains a hefty 30 grams of high-quality protein, almost as much potassium as a banana, and only 217 calories.
Like all meat, the quality of lamb depends on what it was fed and how it was raised. Conventional sheep ranchers do make use of hormones and antibiotics, so it's important to look for organic lamb. And because grass-fed lamb-like all other grass-fed meats-is higher in omega-3s and lower in omega-6s than its feed-fed cousins, organic grass-fed lamb is the best possible choice.
Lamb stew is a classic, but it can run a little heavy on the fats, making it a higher calorie dish than it needs to be-especially if you load it up with potatoes. Our version uses only the leanest cuts from the leg and shoulder and replaces half of the typical white potatoes with sweet carrots. So in one fell swoop you can lower the calories, increase the fiber, and drop in a nice portion of beta-carotene and vitamin A.
Cinnamon-like that found in our lamb stew-is an ancient herbal medicine that's mentioned in Chinese texts as early as 4,000 years ago. A 2010 study from the USDA found that cinnamon may help reduce risk factors that are associated with both heart disease and diabetes.
Cinna-Mint-Spiked Lemon Lamb Stew
Tantalizing undertones of cinnamon, lemon, and mint give this rich meaty stew a special twist that will help satisfy your deepest cravings.
2 tsp. olive oil
1 lb. lean lamb, cut into 1½- to 2-inch cubes
Salt and ground pepper, to taste
1 large sweet onion, chopped
1 stalk organic celery, chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed and chopped
3 large carrots, peeled and sliced into thin coins
3 cups low-sodium chicken broth
2/3 cup dry red wine
1 15-oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tbs. sun-dried tomato paste Pinch Sucanat
1 tsp. lemon zest
½ tsp. cinnamon
8 unpeeled new potatoes, quartered
1 small lemon, peeled and finely chopped
2 Tbs. chopped fresh oregano, or
1 1/2 tsp. dried
3 Tbs. chopped fresh spearmint or peppermint
- Heat oil in large Dutch oven over medium high heat. Add lamb cubes, and season with salt and pepper. Lightly sear on all sides. Add onion and celery, and cook until onion starts to soften, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and carrots, and cook 1 minute more, stirring frequently.
- Add broth, wine, tomato sauce, sun-dried tomato paste, Sucanat, lemon zest, and cinnamon, and stir to combine. Add potatoes and chopped lemon, stir, and bring just to a boil.
- Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until lamb and veggies are tender, 75-90 minutes. Add oregano for last 10 minutes of cook time. Adjust seasonings if necessary, sprinkle mint on top, and serve.
PER SERVING: 258 cal; 21 g pro; 6 g total fat (2 g sat fat); 28 g carb; 52 mg chol; 586 mg sod; 4 g fiber; 9 g sugars