Last week was my birthday, but my college kids who are away at school weren’t here. My daughter said she didn’t have money, but she would give me time during her spring break and we would do whatever I wanted. When I asked if she wanted to take a Lamb Cutting Class – she asked – as in food? I replied in the affirmative and she agreed, though since only one of us would be participating in the trimming the rack of lamb, she did ask if she should bring a book to read because she wasn’t sure it would be all that interesting. No book reading involved – except the copy of their Bluescreek Recipes for 2010 that we received. This class was fun, informative and delicious.
David and Cheryl Smith own Bluescreek Farm and also Bluescreek Farm Meats stall in the North Market. They told us they don’t have a factory farm, they still raise their animals the same way their grandparents did without growth hormones and antibiotics . The class was held on a Sunday morning in their North Market area before they were opened for the day. The sheep was waiting for us when we got there and had been prepared by the butcher, ready for the Smiths to cut it up. I won’t go through all the details, but I would encourage you to try the class out. You get to see where all the parts come from and they explain which pieces are the most tender – and why the leg of lamb might not be your favorite after all. My daughter – the pre-vet major enjoyed the cutting and the part identification – especially when David pulled out the skirt steak. She said she told herself – oh wow – that’s the diaphragm and then David told us that the skirt steak is the diaphragm and she was thrilled she was right. They told us that Alana’s buys a lot of their lamb skirt, so it isn’t in the case (if you want it you need to make a special request). I liked that after they were done cutting up the lamb and talking about the different parts, that Cheryl kind of reassembled it and went over it again. That was helpful for me.
Two of us opted to do hands on preparing of the rack of lamb. We were able to cut the meat and fat off the chop bone and remove it from the top of the chops down to where the meat was. Using a handy dandy type of bandsaw, David cracked the spine between the chops for us (thank you). The meat cutting was fun, but it was stressed to us how sharp the knives were and how we must cut away from us to prevent serious injury. My rack wasn’t the prettiest I’ve ever seen, but it was mine. They wrapped up our racks, along with the extra pieces we removed from the fatty area along the top of the chops; those can be used as stew meat in another dish.
After the cutting class, they reclaimed their market area and we traipsed upstairs to the Dispatch Kitchen. Cheryl placed one rack of lamb in the oven, then before demonstrating how she made the rack, she gave us samples of some of their lamb products. My daughter was thrilled – she said that she’s on kind of a forced vegetarian diet because she can’t afford to buy meat in school and practically drooled the whole time. Bluescreek lamb gyro meat is delicious, made into a small meatloaf that you slice for your own gyros. We absolutely loved, loved, loved their lamb mint sausage, too. In fact, I bought a couple of packages, and I’ve been ordered to pick up more by my daughter. Cheryl then demoed the preparation of the lamb roast using the recipe from their book – which is also on their website.
We were stuffed, totally to the brim so we froze our lamb because we could not eat it right away – we were too full. Oh, and my daughter wants me to remember that Cheryl made Bacon wrapped pecan stuffed dates – that were so good we couldn’t stop popping them in our mouths. The group was small, but though Cheryl kept things progressing we were relaxed and not rushed. We had our own personal photographer – their daughter who took photos of the whole class and was her mom’s trusty assistant.
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