13 Sep2011

We love lamb in our household. So I am quite surprised that some 30% of all readers don’t like it or eat it, or just haven’t had a chance to try it. And less than 25% of all readers eat it more often than once every other month. I find that many Filipinos associate lamb with goat (why that’s bad at all when kalderetang kambing is a pinoy classic) and claim it is too “gamey” for their liking. Yes, it does have a stronger flavor, I find, but I find it appealing, particularly if it is young lamb, and cooked properly… So you can imagine my excitement when on a routine trip to S&L Fine Foods to pick up some ingredients, the “S” of “S&L” appeared and asked if I wanted to take a peek at the newly arrived lamb from Australia (Junee Gold Prime Lamb)…

Arrgghh, no camera! Wasn’t expecting this treat. Hanging in the state-of-the-art freezers with thick insulated glass windows so customers can see in, were a container full worth of young lamb, hanging in precise rows, looking absolutely spectacular. If I recall correctly, these were 8 month old lambs, and they must have been 20+ kilos each (without the heads and innards). I had been waiting for this moment ever since “S” mentioned months ago that they were opening a real honest-to-goodness butcher shop with in-house butchers for the highest quality lamb and beef… Wow! They let me watch as three expert and experienced butchers, with 25+ years of collective experience amongst them, AND recently trained by Kiwi butchers on how to handle lamb in particular, broke down two lamb carcasses in minutes flat. They ended up with BEAUTIFUL legs of lamb, racks of lamb, lamb necks, boneless shoulders, etc. It was a real treat to witness this process… And all done in the most sanitary and airconditioned of rooms, with all the requisite machinery, etc.

I was so inspired, I decided to ask if I could buy a meaty leg of lamb, and planned to roast it for dinner that evening, despite being scheduled to leave for the U.S. early the next morning. The lamb just looked too good to pass on at that moment… The leg cost far less than any other retailer in Manila, some PHP1,800 or so for a roughly 3 kilo bone-in leg of lamb, and I was one happy camper…

Back at home, I simply studded the lamb with peeled cloves of garlic, sprigs of fresh rosemary and thyme, seasoned it liberally with salt and pepper, added some orange zest, olive oil and orange juice and let that marinate for a few hours in the fridge. Took it out an hour before roasting in a hot oven, directly over the oven shelves with a drip pan below, at say 425F for roughly 20 minutes then lowering the oven to 350F for about another hour or so. Use a meat thermometer to be sure that you get the meat to just the right degree of doneness, this one was about 10 minutes too long as we like it nice and rare…

For the drip pan below the lamb, I prepared some marbled potatoes, carrots, onions and oranges which were tossed with some olive oil and salt and pepper and herbs, and this was placed in the drip pan (after removing some of the accumulated lamb fat) some 30-40 minutes before the lamb was done.

Add a green salad and you are good to go. We called friends that we knew were fans of lamb and we had an instant and easy despidida party for ourselves. :) You gotta love it. Eat more lamb folks! This was incredibly tender and succulent, with a distinct lamb flavor. Delicious. And now that S&L is going to be bringing in all this great lamb at good prices, you no longer have any excuses… :) I intend to return to S&L with a camera to take some photos of the butcher(s), and I already have a 4 month old carcass of lamb on reserve from their next shipment… why? To do a lechon (roasted) whole lamb, of course! If that works out, maybe a greek or mediterranean roasted lamb feast on the outdoor terrace in Cebu for lamb lovers. :)



  1. tonceq says:

    ZUBULAMB? :)

    Sep 13, 2011 | 9:46 pm


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  3. renee says:

    Wonderful! I think supplies are getting better and better in Manila. The reason I can’t eat lamb as much as I’d want (when in Manila) is because of the previously-frozen-only state I can get them in, and I don’t like that :)
    I prefer my lamb as shank cooked in red wine and tomatoes. If this is soupy enough I just serve it with good olive oil, parmesan cheese, and a hunk of bread :)

    Sep 13, 2011 | 9:47 pm

  4. Natie says:

    Looks sooo good!!!

    Sep 13, 2011 | 10:09 pm

  5. Vettievette says:

    I love lamb and now can get loads of it in Uzbekistan along w/ mutton. So, so good and their preparation is quite simple like yours above. Cheers!

    Sep 13, 2011 | 10:10 pm

  6. friedneurons says:

    I have to say that leg of lamb looks absolutely beautiful. I just never took a liking to it. We never had lamb while we were still living in Manila, but I’ve tried it on multiple occasions since emigrating. The flavor just doesn’t agree with me. The only time I borderline liked it was in a piping hot stew in Iceland. And that was mainly because it didn’t taste like lamb. Or maybe because it was hot stew on a frigid Nordic October morning. lol.

    Am looking forward to further lamb posts from you, though. You just might inspire me to try it one more time. :)

    Sep 13, 2011 | 10:26 pm

  7. Hog Heaven says:

    I love lamb and have it at least twice a month. I like it with mint jelly and couscous. Lamb shank with chick peas, lamb caldereta, grilled lamb chops with lentils…… etc… It’s great that S&L will be bringing more of it at good prices. Whoohoo!

    Sep 13, 2011 | 10:49 pm

  8. mrshoover says:

    that looks so yummy and made me drool! i like it pink too, hmm yum yum! my husband roasts our lamb similar to that except he marinates it in olive oil and chopped tinned anchovies instead of salt and inserts garlic and rosemary in slits.

    Sep 13, 2011 | 11:10 pm

  9. Pink Carnations says:

    Im no lamb eater (i just dont appreciate the smell), but boy do you inspire, with the way you write and express yourself. Makes me want to cook that too, haha! Or makes me want to cook well for my fam, too! Well, thanks MM, you do inspire me, at least, to make satisfying meals for my loved ones. And those flowers you post, theyre always lovely! God bless you!

    Sep 13, 2011 | 11:43 pm

  10. tnm says:

    I think most people don’t like it because they don’t have access to good quality lamb. While living in New Zealand, that’s were I was able to really appreciate it. However, when I saw the cute little things running around, not having a care in the world, I kinda backed off. But not completely.

    Even in the US, where I now reside, I find that the lamb is not as good as in NZ. That’s why I only eat it 1-2x a year. Maybe I’ll find better quality that is sourced locally in our farmers market.

    I’ve tried the lamb adobo at Abe in Manila and loved it. I look forward to it whenever I go home.

    Sep 13, 2011 | 11:57 pm

  11. Artisan Chocolatier says:

    I think I will start camping out at your Cebu outdoor terraces and await your arrival!!! LOL

    Sep 14, 2011 | 12:55 am

  12. Tok says:

    i love it MM simula ng mag work ako dito sa US. namit gid!

    Sep 14, 2011 | 1:02 am

  13. netoy says:

    you’re cruel!!! it’s lunch time here now and it’s so unfair to see that gorgeous and enticing leg of lamb, arrgh!!! that tray of accompaniment also looks so good with all of its simplicity.. thanks for sharing.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 2:17 am

  14. Rochelle says:

    yummy MM! :) Love lamb as a stew best, but would eat them as kebab too and moussaka, or just like yours roasted with lots of herbs and spices! :D

    Sep 14, 2011 | 2:45 am

  15. Fards says:

    I did not like lamb before, but one time my sis and I dined at a resort resto and had rack of lamb. So to be adventurous I ordered that. I was glad I did. It was delish. So tender and just the slightest lamby aroma. Now I love lamb. Altho, I don’t eat it often.
    The leg of lamb looked soo good, MM.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 3:29 am

  16. Stewart says:

    My wife and I buy a whole lamb from an organic farm. We get it all broken down and each portion individually wrapped. I used to get the NZ lamb from Costco then I tried this stuff after seeing them at a local farmer’s market. We were hooked. Price worked out great too.

    Too bad I will miss out on tonight’s dinner. Sounds like you will be having some fine eating with BettyQ’s friend.



    Sep 14, 2011 | 3:36 am

  17. sur says:

    besides fish, lamb was ubiquitous + in most of my meals in the recent visit to istanbul, jesusalem, tel aviv, [and in the occupied palestine ;-) but im splitting hairs] in the forms of stews or roasts. prior to this, i always liked goat, so it did not take much adjustment. although i find lamb more novel and bold. i love the intersection of gaminess in the context of fine dining — except for seared duck breast, its my go-to main dish that over the years i’ve invariably ordered rack when dining at gotham, eleven mad, [the now closed] chanterelle, cafe bouloud, gramercy tavern, l’espalier,… for starters…

    at home, i rarely stew; i like to cook racks dabbed with wine reduction [the last episode with quick stewed pluots], roasted medium rare paired with quinoa or couscous. a glass of a chewy red et voila: a fine fine nite…

    Sep 14, 2011 | 5:18 am

  18. Mary Kim says:

    dad grew more than a hundred years ago but people in our region(bulacan) didn’t consume much lamb at all. Those lamb eventually aged to a 2 year old sheep and ended to another farm bargain.=( We used to roast them like beef…

    Sep 14, 2011 | 6:56 am

  19. Dragon says:

    Hi MM – your roast looks great! It’s spring here in Melbourne and that means there will be a great supply of spring lamb – tender, delish and well-priced!

    I just cooked lamb tagine the other night using shoulder (cheap cut), ras-al-hanout, preserved lemons, olives, honey, cinnamon, eggplant, zucchini, carrots and turned out beautifully for something prepped and cooked under 90 minutes! I paired it with couscous flavored with parsley, sultanas, pistachios and almonds.

    Sometimes the lamb flavor and smell can be overwhelming, other times it’s not. The generous use of herbs, particularly rosemary helps a lot.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 7:33 am

  20. ami says:

    One of the few who likes the taste of lamb. We get ours from the frozen section of Shopwise.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 8:33 am

  21. linda says:

    I would rather have your roast lamb than having dinner with Tom Cruise :)

    This was an ad on Oz t.v. a few years ago.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 9:03 am

  22. underqualified says:

    We buy lamb from Cebu’s S&R. We just add salt and mint jelly. :)

    Sep 14, 2011 | 10:23 am

  23. millet says:

    i can almost smell that!

    artisan chocolatier, lucky you!

    here in davao, one can order “lechong tupa” from a local farmer, and he comes to the party venue with the locally-raised lamb on a spit, and roasts it right there (much like the roasted calf purveyors). the lamb is turned over hot coals, and the guy lops off slices as requested. it’s seasoned pinoy style – plenty of garlic, peppercorns, knorr and/or toyo, onions, and the meat is very tender and flavorful, although not as “luxurious”-tasting as imported lamb.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 10:52 am

  24. MiMac says:

    Guilty! I was one of those who ticked, “No. I don’t like lamb and don’t eat it. ” I don’t like the, pardon my word for it, “mapanghi” taste of it.

    But, I like goat’s meat! I eat kalderetang kambing and i love pinapaitan and what we call, “umbaligtad” at home– goat’s skin cooked over open fire (grilled? hehe) chopped thinly (like sisig consistency) then added with lots and lots of native suka, fresh onions, pepper, etc. Right, ChrisB?

    But lamb. Nah. When I look at menus, I skip lamb. I never order it. But if served, I can eat it naman. Then, I’ve got to have a really wicked dessert after that. Pambawi. Hahaha!

    Sep 14, 2011 | 11:26 am

  25. PITS, MANILA says:


    Sep 14, 2011 | 1:08 pm

  26. sally says:

    Sana puedeng mag ‘like’ ng comment because I really liked @MiMac’s comment :)

    I do eat lamb but only in selected restos and when my in-laws prepare it. I think I’ve eaten a roasted one as rare as yours, MM. It was good, though it became unappetizing when it turned cold on my plate. Naging ‘mapanghi’ (borrowing MiMac’s term) ang lasa.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 1:13 pm

  27. PITS, MANILA says:


    Sep 14, 2011 | 1:14 pm

  28. Hilda says:

    AWWW!!! We love lamb in our family specially roasted one like that. Although its kinda hard to source that in Manila I never had any problem finding them when we were still in France! Kudos you just made my eyes crave for more :-)

    Sep 14, 2011 | 1:15 pm

  29. uniok says:

    @MiMac, cguro kagaya mo yung buddy ko dati pag namalengke sa Yokohama, Tanong sa Hapon, Buta?, Buta?…kasi parehas ang itsura at cut nila. mahirap e-identify baboy o tupa..Now that im here in the Middle east, I enjoy eating Lamb…Sarap pag nagkakamay..

    Sep 14, 2011 | 1:43 pm

  30. Irene says:

    MiMac, maybe the taste you’re looking for is maanggo. It’s the reason my mom doesn’t eat lamb.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 2:00 pm

  31. Fernandes says:

    Never could find lamb/mutton when I was in Manila.

    Kuya Ding from Pangasinan, said it is very common in Pangasinan.

    Here in UAE we avoid Lamb from Australia or New Zealand, since we feel it is more gamey than either Local, Indian or Pakistani.

    Once for the Pangasinan Family Day, some Farm hands prepared two whole Goats, in Luau like Fashion, with Biryani Rice, Wowwww

    Sep 14, 2011 | 2:56 pm

  32. Marnie says:

    I love Australian lamb. I usually cook lamb back strap instead of cutlet or chops because it has little fat. I marinate it in olive oil, rosemary, crushed garlic, salt and pepper. I either pan grill or bbq it until medium rare.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 4:40 pm

  33. allen says:

    TUPA! That leg looks awesome!

    Sep 14, 2011 | 8:22 pm

  34. lee says:

    i love lamb. i remember arguing, coercing, pleading with dining facility servers for an extra piece.

    Sep 14, 2011 | 8:30 pm

  35. MP says:

    One of my hubby’s biggest frustrations is my aversion to lamb. He loves lamb and needs to put a gun to my head for me to give it a go. I hope he doesn’t read this and tries to convince me that MM can’t be wrong, lamb is great! I won’t hear the end of it…

    Sep 14, 2011 | 9:19 pm

  36. Lava Bien says:

    I love love lamb. leg of lamb, rack of lamb, lamb chops (west african style is the best for me) and my preferred shoulder of lamb (morrocan way, oh man!) This is when I eat meat hehehe when eating good lamb ( a little under cooked), hunter or papak style no rice or bread but I gots to have my veggies. I go for goats too as I prefer smaller animals than the big ol’ heifer hehehe.
    In the Philippines we’ve had some very decent lamb from EDSA-Shangrila, one weekend brunch with friends and family. It was nice, lamb plus sushi, yay!

    Sep 14, 2011 | 11:03 pm

  37. Anne :-) says:

    I remembered way back when Rustan offers lamb chops (I don’t know if they still have it) and my parents will bring back home a kilo of those. My mom would marinate it with toyo, kalamansi, sprite, lots of garlic and grilled to perfection! Yummy!

    Sep 15, 2011 | 11:41 am

  38. gerry says:

    my family loves lamb. everytime i eat at an upscale resto, i always look first at the lamb menu items.

    Sep 15, 2011 | 4:26 pm

  39. jakespeed says:

    I love lamb tagine. Meanwhile, here in Singapore, mutton is plentiful and are usually sold in hawkers as mutton curry.

    Sep 15, 2011 | 5:10 pm

  40. jakespeed says:

    During the late 90s, I eagerly used to buy the ‘buy-one-take-one’ lamb chops that Rustan’s sell occasionally back then. I grill them after sprinkling with a bit of salt, then just use Tabasco or A1 as my dipping sauce.

    Sep 15, 2011 | 5:19 pm

  41. Sharon says:

    I think the younger the animal, the milder the taste of “gameyness” or “maanggo-ness”? (HA just made up a new word :-) That’s why spring lamb is the best probably and Australia’s got it good I have to say (although that NZ lamb gives Oz a run for its money MM). I find that putting lots and lots of garlic in roast lamb helps to do two things – one, it lessens the gamey taste and two it adds the wonderful flavour of roasted garlic to the dish, which goes so perfectly with the lamb too…and absolutely heaven for garlic-lovers if you’re like me! Roast lamb with garlic, it’s like bacon and eggs, an unbeatable combo! Not to mention other ingredients that complement it such as others have said, rosemary and even anchovies and also mustard and mint jelly (though perhaps not all at the same time!!) The Greeks love it with lots and lots of lemon juice too and Greek oregano. So many ways to enjoy lamb, so little time :-)))

    Sep 15, 2011 | 5:39 pm

  42. ka_fredo says:

    Lamb and mutton should be made more available here. It’s great for curry, calderata or just plain fried. Pan fried lamb tastes good with a toyomansi dip. :)

    Sep 16, 2011 | 1:43 pm

  43. Betchay says:

    I am not a lamb-eater too but I guess “sanayan lang” and depends on how it is cooked :)

    Sep 16, 2011 | 9:26 pm

  44. Justine says:

    Doesn’t matter how it’s cooked. I haven’t met lamb I didn’t like :)

    Sep 17, 2011 | 12:01 am

  45. atbnorge says:

    I have eaten moose meat so lamb is just “chicken” to me! I will be throwing a party next weekend and seriously considering a roasted leg of lamb.

    Sep 18, 2011 | 4:33 am

  46. Ellaine says:

    I agree that lamb may be an acquired taste for some, but I love it! I especially like the lamb kebabs (smothered with garlic and chili sauce) with couscous at Cafe Med… it would be lovely if Zubuchon puts out its own specialty lamb dish…

    Sep 19, 2011 | 10:02 pm

  47. MiMac says:

    Hi, MM! I take it all back. Hahaha! I was in India over the weekend and all I did was eat lamb for lunch, lamb for dinner- 3 days in a row! I’m a happy convert!

    The lamb in Delhi and Agra had no “maanggo” taste at all. :) If not for your post, I wouldn’t have tried the lamb and would have just ordered chicken kebabs and paneer forever! Thank you, thank you, than you!

    Sep 21, 2011 | 3:26 pm

  48. shanghaiedflip says:

    Wow that looks amazing. I wonder if there’s any place in the Philippines where you can get whole roast lamb? I’ve had it twice before seasoned with mostly cumin, and pepper powder which is how the Uyghurs in China like their lamb. With autumn and winter coming soon lamb bbq skewer stands will soon be popping up on the streets of Shanghai too! :)

    Sep 23, 2011 | 2:36 pm

  49. chilli tamale says:

    Hello MM,

    Western australian lamb is at it’s best at the moment being spring- yes, i like a bit of roast lamb. Australians found different ways of roasting them, greek-italian-hungarian-slovenian-indonesian-mongolian-indian-swiss?-korean- macedonian- espanyol- heck whatever….L.O.L….

    kind regards,

    Sep 25, 2011 | 12:58 pm

  50. JungMann says:

    I never understood why so many Filipinos dislike lamb. We eat bagoong, but lamb? “Mabaho naman!” It is really a lot more versatile than many of us fear. I am an avid consumer particularly in stews that are somewhat a cross between afritada and kaldereta.Thin cuts of lamb marinated in toyomansi are terrific stir fried with sibuyas, garlic, vinegar and chilies. Binagoongan ni cordero, is a recipe that might not have seen its time yet.

    Sep 27, 2011 | 11:30 am

  51. Anna Maria Elisa Manalo says:

    Lamb is great, particularly since it’s sold fresher than other meats here in my part of the U.S. I can’t wait to try this dish as a variation on the Mechado which we customarily do with beef and used to have about twice a month. When bought fresh and young, lamb is flavorful and is enhanced by Rose or Merlot. I even add a little bit of the wine to most of the lamb roasts I make.

    Sep 28, 2011 | 11:05 pm

  52. Allyn says:

    Nice leg! :D

    Lamb has distinct taste. I prefer it over goat meat. I used to eat lamb a lot when I was still in the province as my aunt raised sheeps. Now, lamb meat is very expensive. @_@

    Sep 30, 2011 | 5:21 pm

  53. Ed says:

    Hi..anyone can tell me for the suppliers of Lamb Fat in the Philippines. I need 100 kilograms monthly. Please call me at 02-6240766 or 09178089867; email add.: biofoodhalalproducts@yahoo.com.ph



    May 30, 2012 | 3:38 pm


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