Food + Drink

From the Chronicle Kitchen
Lobel’s Meat Bible

What’s your favorite cut of meat, and what delicious way do you cook it? A random commenter will win a copy of Lobel’s Meat Bible.

Stuffed Lamb Breast

Because lamb breast is relatively flat and doesn’t have a lot of meat, it is an ideal cut to stuff. This Italian-inflected recipe is great as we present it here, but it would also be delicious covered in a simple tomato sauce or sitting atop a pile of braised white beans. It is good served warm or cool; a salad on the side completes the meal.

Serves 3 to 4

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
1 small onion, finely chopped (about 1/2 cup)
4 large cloves garlic, finely chopped, plus 8 cloves garlic, unpeeled
4 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
1/2 pound ground lamb
1/2 cup fresh or frozen green peas
Kosher salt
One 3 by 3 by 1 inch-thick slice of crustless country-style bread
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh marjoram, oregano, or rosemary, plus 2 fresh sprigs
2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
3/4 ounce finely grated Parmesan or similar cheese
1 large egg, beaten
1 bone-in breast of lamb (about 3 pounds after trimming), trimmed of most external fat and opened up by your butcher to create a pocket the entire length of the breast (see Note)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 cup dry white wine
Tomato sauce

1. Heat the olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion, chopped garlic, and pancetta. Cook until onion is translucent, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the ground lamb and cook until the meat is lightly browned, for 3 to 5 minutes, breaking it up with a wooden spoon as it cooks. Add the peas, 1/4 teaspoon salt, a few tablespoons of water, and cook 1 minute more, scraping the skillet to loosen any browned bits. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and let cool slightly. Soak the bread in water or milk until soft. Break up to form a coarse paste. Drain excess milk and crumble bread into bowl with meat. Add the chopped marjoram, parsley, cheese, and egg and combine thoroughly. Preheat the oven to 450ºF.

2. Fill the lamb breast with stuffing, spreading it evenly and into the corners (it should plump up nicely but don’t pack too firmly). Either sew up the opening using a trussing needle with kitchen string, or tie the breast as for a roast, spacing the loops between each rib, pulling each loop fairly firmly to keep filling in place until it firms up during cooking.

3. Generously salt and pepper the lamb breast and place bone-side down on a roasting rack set in a roasting pan or baking dish just large enough to contain it (there should be space enough to fit a basting spoon between the rack and the pan). Drizzle top with a tablespoon or so of oil and roast for 20 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F and roast for 45 minutes. Carefully pour off fat from roasting pan and add whole garlic cloves, marjoram sprigs and wine. Cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes more, basting lamb breast every 20 minutes or so. Remove lamb from the oven and let rest 15 to 30 minutes to firm up filling before slicing.

4. Place lamb on a cutting board. Snip and discard strings and, using a sharp, heavy knife, cut breast into slices between the ribs, carefully cutting through the filling and then pressing firmly to cut through the breastbone. If breastbone won’t easily separate into ribs, the meat and filling can be lifted off the bones instead – either in one whole piece or in portions. With the filling removed, it’s easy to cut the breast into individual ribs. Serve these alongside the meat and filling. If serving with tomato sauce, spoon warmed sauce over each portion and serve.

Note: One length of lamb breast (a half breast), trimmed, weighs between 2 and 4 pounds. If you can’t find a single piece that weighs about 3 pounds after trimming as called for, you can make this dish with two 1 1/2- or 2-pound pieces, have a pocket cut in each, and divide the stuffing between them. Your butcher can cut the pockets for you.

Purchase Lobel’s Meat Bible.

Click here for more great recipes.

Peter Perez
Senior Marketing Manager

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  • Susanna May 28, 2009 at 6:06 am

    oh, being on a student budget, we buy what’s on sale for cheap and put it in the crockpot. But that’s not going to be acceptable forever, so I’d love to know cuts and how best to prepare them!


  • Erin Tapken May 28, 2009 at 7:37 am

    Doesn't matter what it is, if my husband cooks it for me it's automatically the best meal ever! His speciality is rare steak over bleu cheese and bacon salads.


  • Cameron M May 28, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    My favorite: Venison and wild boar sausage on a stick over a nice camp fire. Mmmmm. Something primal about that.

    I eat mostly plants, so when I do cook meat, I like it done perfectly. Thanks for the book suggestion.


  • andrea May 28, 2009 at 1:14 pm

    alas, my repertoire is seriously lacking in the meat department, but lamb chops on the BBQ is excellent.


  • Kimberly May 28, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    Pork butt, covered in a spicy dry rub, slow roasted in the oven, and pulled to perfection!


  • Sally May 28, 2009 at 1:23 pm

    Angus steak tip kabobs – tips marinated in a homemade garlicky/spicy teriyaki, along with quartered red onions, sliced zucchini and summer squash, and chunks of bell pepper… all strung together on skewers, and cooked over the grill until the onions just start to char. Best served with ocean breezes and Motown.


  • foodwoolf May 28, 2009 at 2:47 pm

    After a recent tragedy of ordering some badly butchered lamb from a local farmers’ market (and a fail on my part to figure out how to make the best of the situation), I’ve been looking for a recipe to turn my friends’ perception of my lamb-cooking abilities around. This beautiful recipe is just the thing.

    Thanks for the recipe. I can’t wait to see the book on the shelves!


  • Beth May 29, 2009 at 11:47 am

    I’m just re-entering the world of meat after a 15 year vegetarian hiatus. Quite frankly, I’m most excited about a reunion with organic, hormone-free, happy-cow burgers!


  • Christine June 1, 2009 at 10:36 am

    steak, all the way!


  • Jenn Burgess June 1, 2009 at 12:58 pm

    Believe it or not… Flank Steak.


  • Susan June 1, 2009 at 12:59 pm

    The only thing I’ve managed to never mess up is pork tenderloin – pan seared, then baked and topped with a tamari/agave nectar glaze. Mmmm!


  • Cat W. June 1, 2009 at 1:01 pm

    It may sound simple, but I love a good pork chop, unseasoned, cooked on the George Foreman. I did, however, cook pork hocks for the first time last Christmas — I made an excellent ham and bean soup, and it certainly made me want to be more adventurous with my meats.


  • Clint June 1, 2009 at 1:04 pm

    Bison (Buffalo) Rib Eye. Very lean meat lets you get away with a little extra marbling. Do it Medium Rare or Rare – anything more is bad for Bison.


  • Leah Greenstein June 1, 2009 at 1:07 pm

    I love using super-affordable pork shoulder to make pulled pork sugo to serve with chestnut polenta or homemade orechiette!


  • guinevere June 1, 2009 at 1:09 pm

    Best meat experience ever = buffalo burgers at Bullshead in San Francisco. omg soooo goooood. And practically healthy compared to beef!


  • Carey June 1, 2009 at 1:12 pm

    Love meat, could never be a vegetarian! My favorite is rib eye steak. Yum, yum, yum. I could really use this book!


  • Mary Beth June 1, 2009 at 1:18 pm

    I am also in the Slow Roasted Pork Butt boat….I’m an Iowa girl!


  • Jen June 1, 2009 at 1:19 pm

    Favorite cut of meat – this may sound cheap, but I love stew meat cooked in the crock pot. My mom’s stew recipe is the best.


  • trav June 1, 2009 at 1:24 pm

    Lamb, is by far my favorite. I even have a tried and true grill method, but too be completely honest, what you posted above has GOT to be better!



  • Vid. R June 1, 2009 at 1:28 pm

    I love a prosciutto di parma. Thinly sliced. Or a grass or corn fed filet of steak. Well spiced cooked rare to medium rare so it melts in your mouth. Or wild boar.


  • Gards F. June 1, 2009 at 2:35 pm

    cube steak marinated in lime and chopped garlic then friend with sweet onions served with rice.


  • Ian June 1, 2009 at 3:37 pm

    Lobel’s steaks are amazing.


  • Peter June 3, 2009 at 12:23 pm

    And the lucky winner is…foodwoolf! Congrats!


  • nolan August 11, 2009 at 6:09 am

    I`m crazy about wild hog ribs made on Rufus way
    Any similar recipe?


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