Slaughter on 10th Avenue
Posted 7/24/2008 9:14pm by Eugene Wyatt.
Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone writes:
I just took home my first lamb leg steak* from your Greenmarket stand in USQ. I can't wait to enjoy it!
Like lots of foodies, I have lately become even more concerned with the ethical and environmental tolls that factory farming has taken on all parties involved (except for big business). The literature that is out now talks about how many animals are humanely raised but then sent to large scale slaughterhouses where horrific abuse often occurs. I spoke to your rep today at the Greenmarket who was well aware of how your animals are raised but really was only able to tell me that "They get sent off somewhere for slaughter." Have you been happy with the level of care demonstrated by the facility in the slaughtering process?
I thank you again for your help and your responsible farming.Jeremy Ellison-Gladstone
*a lamb leg steak is a center cut of a leg of lamb, about 1.5 inches thick.
As bluesman Albert King sings on a CD of mine, "Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die." Most people don't want to know about the last moments of a lamb's life, including my reps at market; so I go lightly there.
I use a small slaughterhouse that is owned by a 76 year old man. Howard Darling has an employee, Willy, who remembers when they started killing in La Plume in 1946. They are as humane as killers of animals can be; they care for the lamb before and they care for the lamb after. Death is small & personal in La Plume, not large & anonymous as agribusiness death is.
I wonder where I will take my sheep when Howard & Willy die.
I hope the lamb leg steak pleases you; I'm collecting lamb recipes and cooking anecdotes to post on the website; please tell me how you cooked it and give me permission to reprint your letter there too, as death is an important aspect of eating lamb raised on a small farm. And it is a subject that is best brought up by a patron of small farm food from a farmers' market.
Sorry it's taken a while for me to get back to you. I actually ended up freezing the lamb leg steak and making it tonight. First of all: Wow. I haven't had had lamb of this quality in a long time. It is deliciously rich and I will absolutely recommend you to my fellow friends/cooks. Here is the recipe I made up for tonight. Please feel free to post either the recipe or my original letter. I'll speak to you soon.
Preheat oven to 250
Heat a tsp of Olive Oil in a cast iron pan on high
Salt and pepper the lamb steak liberally
Sear the steak on high for 4 minutes per side
While lamb is searing, cut up a large potato
Remove lamb from pan and toss potato in juices left in the pan and then salt them
Toss in 3 cloves of whole garlic
Place seared lamb steak on top of potatoes and place in oven for about 20 minutes or until lamb reads 130 on an instant read thermometer
Remove lamb, turn potatoes, turn oven up to 500 and roast potatoes for 15 minutes more while lamb rests
Dice a red onion and toss with a small piece of feta cheese and whatever fresh herbs you have around and maybe some lemon juiceEnjoy. This is really, really good. : )
To plate, spoon roasted potatoes in center of plate. Place lamb (whole or sliced) on top and then top with feta/onion saladServe with a light bodied red wine (Rioja from Spain or Pinot Noir from France or Oregon)
Thanks again Eugene.