Lamb is a family favorite and can be a real special occasion type of meal in our house. As with a lot of recipe suggestions not all of them will work for your family so just have a little cherry pick of the best ones for you.
Classic herbs that go well with lamb include; mint, oregano, sorrel, thyme and rosemary. These are all pungent herbs with strong flavors that work well with the rich but fatty lamb. How we choose to cook with them will also improve the flavor profiles, from a herb crust to a mint sauce.
Some of these ideas will work for weeknight meals as well as weekend spectaculars!
How To Use Herbs With Lamb
Knowing which herbs go with lamb is a great starting point but trying to incorporate the flavors in different ways can give a totally new flavor to your family favorites.
You can add your herbs cut into the lamb before cooking – rosemary is a great example. Use them as fresh sprigs to lay the meat onto with a little water for a steam cooked moist joint. You can even make up marinades, sauces or butters using the herbs we have suggested. Not to mention a herb salad!
A herb crust is not the only option when dealing with lamb!
Mint And Lamb
There are many ways to use mint with lamb and it is a classic combination.
In the West we use mint sauces or jelly’s with lamb. There are many creative ways to use mint as it has an astringent flavor that will cut through the heavy, fattiness of lamb and really compliment the subtle flavors. Spearmint is the variety that tends to be used but we can grow our own and mix it up!
Click here for more on how to grow mint in your own backyard – in pots.
- Mint Sauce For Lamb This is the basic recipe for mint sauce and you can see it is vague about the type of mint you may wish to use. There is tremendous differences between each type so get a bit more creative and use pineapple mint or applemint instead of just spearmint.
- Mint Jelly With Lamb Mint goes well with mint jelly as the lamb may well have been seasonal in Spring as the jelly is being made. Foods that come into season together tend to go well together.
- Minty Lamb Steaks work really well together as the spearmint will cut through the greasiness of the lamb and make for a lean tasting meal. This recipe uses dried mint which is easy to store and you won’t have to worry about growing your own.
- Mint Crusted Rack Of Lamb This is a perfect weekend treat and one which you can tailor to your family’s preferences. I personally am not a fan of undercooked meat, but this comes out a little pink an dis just right.
- Lamb Loin Chops With Mint Chimichurri. This is a good example of a lamb recipe using herbs where you can then take the herb theme on with the side dishes. Boiled new potatoes with mint in the water to pull across some of the flavor or use chopped parsley as garnish later on as well with steam vegetables.
Oregano And Lamb
Oregano is a woody and pungent herb that has an herbaceous quality to it. Earthy and almost pine like in flavor and aroma. Oregano can stand up to the stronger joints of lamb and compliment the nature flavors.
If a recipe calls for a ‘bunch’ of oregano we think this is equivalent to around 6 sprigs. A sprig is equal to around 1/2 teaspoon dried. So one bunch of oregano = 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of dried.
Click here to find out more about growing oregano in your own garden.
- Greek Roast Lamb This recipe calls for a herb paste to be made and then pushed into slits made in the lamb. It is a perfect way to infuse meat and if you can do this the night before and leave in the refrigerator then all the better.
- Lemon & Oregano Lamb Chops The citrus is great with the woody earthiness of the oregano and it cuts through the lamb chop greasiness really well. Gentle and not overpowering as well.
- Greek Lamb Kleftiko This is an incredibly heavy oregano dish with 1 tablespoon of dried and 2 tablespoons of fresh used. However when used with the bay leaves it is a really well balanced dish. Go for lighter side dishes like Spring greens, steamed.
Sorrel And Lamb
Sorrel is a zesty, leafy Spring herb that has a taste almost like a cross between spinach and lemon. A tartness that will help to cut through the fattiness of lamb. It is best used sparingly but will work very well with lamb in salads or in place of parsley chopped up fine and sprinkled over a dish.
Click here for more on how to grow sorrel in your kitchen garden.
- Lamb Chops With Greens and Salsa Verde uses 2/3 cup of fresh sorrel. You will want to remove the bottoms of the stalk first and then really compact it into your cup for measurement. This is just because it will wilt down and become a little lost in the dish otherwise. The more mature the leaves are the stronger the flavor when it comes to sorrel.
- Lamb With Garlic & Sorrel Butter This is a lovely recipe that is just right for Springtime! Be aware that when you cook sorrel it will wilt and change from a vibrant green to a dull sort of camouflage green like you would see the military wearing (or not I guess) but it is slightly unappealing.
- Lamb Rump With Vanilla Braised Chicory & Sorrel Pesto This is an Ottolenghi recipe and if there was ever a master of the herbs it is this guy! A real favorite in our house as this is just perfect for sitting out with friends and a few glasses of red. It also combines rosemary and thyme with the lamb and mint and sorrel in the pesto. Perfection on a plate.
- Lamb, Sorrel and Samphire Salad This is on of those five minute recipes that use up leftovers and can be really quite impressive. We do this on Monday evenings to use up the roast lamb from the weekend. It is a leftover meal that you will deliberately make sure you have the ingredients for before even making the roast the day before!
Thyme And Lamb
Thyme is an earthy herb with pine like notes and a floral intensity that mean it can be used with lamb to heighten the natural flavors. Used correctly thyme can help to lift the richness of the lamb whilst cutting through the fattiness.
Click here for a full guide on growing your own thyme.
- Slow Cooked Lamb With Onions And Thyme This is a great dish for a weeknight family meal. Total cooking time is 3 1/2 hours but you can start it before work and cook low and slow.
- Garlic, Rosemary, Thyme & Mint Dressing For Lamb is perfect for a light Spring dish and uses so many of the fresh herbs you will be growing in your kitchen garden. Make sure to stick to the ratios as outlined as there is a fine balance with these robust herbs that compliment lamb so well.
- Lemon Thyme Lamb Chops This recipe uses thyme and lemons, you can choose to grow lemon thyme and use this here as well as the citrus ingredients. That is the beauty of growing your own herbs!
Fennel And Lamb
Fennel has a gentle anise flavor not dissimilar from licorice but with a more herbaceous background flavor too. Fennel works well with lamb and will lift the more earthy and richer flavors. It is also good to cut through the fattiness of lamb and kind of clear the greasiness.
Click here to learn how to grow fennel in your herb garden.
- Sardinian Lamb With Fennel This recipe uses fennel seed as well as fennel bulb and the garnish is parsley and mint, however you can use fennel fronds as well to really keep the anise flavor theme.
- Fennel Confit With Grilled Lamb This is a great recipe if you have the time to marinade your meat for at least 24 hours in the fridge. Your fennel seeds will be great if you have ground them freshly in a mortar and pestle.
- Lamb Chops Crusted With Fennel And Black Pepper Make sure to crush the fennel seeds and combine with the rosemary and coriander mixing it well and then cover your lamb. This is a light way to enjoy lamb and the fennel cuts through the fatty chops really well. Great with couscous or lentils.
Rosemary And Lamb
Rosemary is a pungent, piney and earthy herb that can easily take control in a dish. Use it cut into the fat of the lamb to help break it down whilst infusing flavor. Laying a leg of lamb in a deep roasting pan with sprigs of rosemary on the bottom can help to steam the aroma and taste into the meat as well.
Click here for more on how to grow your own rosemary.
- Roast Leg Of Lamb This recipe from BBC Good Food allows for a generous entire bulb of garlic to be used with your rosemary. Cut the lamb to allow you to push sprigs of rosemary and slices of garlic into the meat. Brown it first and then add to a roasting tray with a few root vegetables and some red wine. This will allow the joint to half roast and half steam. Meaning you retain the moisture of the joint. It is a perfect Easter Sunday treat, plus the leftover meat is perfect for shepherds pie!
- Lamb With A Lemon, Garlic And Rosemary Marinade. Realistically lamb chops will take being marinated for between 4-5 hours without any change in color and maximizing the flavor. This is less time than for a joint but the acid in the lemon will cause the discoloration and the herbs will need time to infuse the meat.
Tarragon And Lamb
Tarragon is much like fennel in that it has a licorice or anise flavor that cuts through the fatty lamb. It will allow the natural flavors of lamb to come through and works very well with other herbs such as rosemary and thyme.
For a full guide on growing tarragon at home click here.
- Slow Roasted Lamb With Tarragon When cooking with tarragon you can strip the stems quickly by holding the top end in one hand and running thumb and fore finger down against the grain of the leaves and they will all fall away. This is a nice recipe for the weekend with plenty of time to enjoy the smells of cooking.
- Slow Roasted Lamb Chops With Tarragon Mustard Sauce. This is a great recipe for entertaining and the mustard goes well with the brightness of the tarragon. Not too sweet or too heavy with the mustard to damage the gentle flavor of the lamb. It is a rich meal though.
- Tarragon And Lemon Lamb With Spring Vegetables This is such a celebration of the season. From the crunchy carrots to the soft asparagus it all sort of comes together in a fresh and vibrant dish. Not too heavy but certainly a rich and warming dish.
- Rack Of Lamb With Tarragon Rub This recipe needs time to settle. Once you have created the herb rub allow time for the herbs and spices to infuse before cooking your meat.
Parsley And Lamb
Parsley goes well with lamb when used as a garnish. The grassy and fresh herbaceous flavor of parsley cuts through the fattiness of lamb and will lift the final dish. Especially when combined with a squeeze of lemon. Use chopped and only as a last minute addition to avoid wilting leaves.
Bay Leaves And Lamb
Bay offers a piney and earthy flavor with an astringent nature that will help to lift a lamb stew or casserole. Remember to remove the bay leaves prior to serving to avoid a nasty sharp surprise. Bay leaves are a great addition when combined with other Mediterranean herbs like rosemary and thyme.
Not all of these herbs have to be cooked directly with your lamb. Think about your side dishes. A parsley and mint tabbouleh on the side of a warm leg of lamb can work just as well as mint sauce poured over a roasted joint. What about herb roasted rosemary new potatoes with Lamb shank? It can mean that those in the family who are a little nervous of strong flavors can opt out a little as well.