Lamb

Chopped or on the spit, deliciously Greek!

Lamb is the meat from young sheep that are less than one year old. Its lean and high in protein meat is very healthful and extremely delicious, having a very tender and buttery quality.

Lamb is a good source of vitamin B12 and also provides important amounts of the B vitamins B1, B2, B3, B6, folate, biotin, pantothenic acid and choline. Vitamins B6, B12, folate and choline can help prevent unwanted accumulation of excess homocysteine in the body which is a key risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

lamb2Lamb also provides antioxidant minerals, such as selenium and zinc that have been shown to help lower risk of cardiovascular disease by reducing unwanted oxidative stress.

In addition, depending on the lamb’s diet, as well as its mother’s, and whether they are nutritionally supportive, the result can be a cut of lamb with a very impressive amount of omega-3s. In regions of some countries without access to a coastline and fish, lamb has sometimes been shown to provide more omega-3s than any other food in the diet.

Sheep were among the first animals ever to be domesticated by humans more than 10,000 years. As a source of not only food, but also wool, sheep were introduced and became popular throughout many regions of the world. In Greek mythology, fleece from “the gold-haired winged ram” was the reason for the great question of Jason and the Argonauts that was needed to convince King Pelias of Jason’s worthiness of a kingship.

In Greece, unlike the rest of Europe, lambs and kids aren’t confined in organized stables and farms so they enjoy free pasture thus their meat has the greatest taste. Due to the same reason, their free range meat contains neither hormones nor antibiotics. The lamb of Elassona is a product of protected designation of origin (PDO).

The variety that exists in Greek cuisine with dishes whose main ingredient is lamb, is really impressive. Among the most famous and delicious that you ought to try when visiting Greece are: lamb grilled on the spit on Orthodox Easter day, lamb fricassee, a stew of lamb and greens, flavored with dill and onion and thickened with the egg-lemon concoction, and of course “kleftiko”, a variation of lamb cooked in embers which according to history was discovered and “named” by “kleftes”, meaning outlaws during the ottoman occupation, who in order to avoid arrest,  they used embers to cook their lamb and not fire and smoke which would reveal their hideout.

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