Where's the beef? Try lamb

It's equally versatile
CHRISTINE WEBER HALE

Greek Pocket Bread Sandwiches with Lamb

It's tempting to fall back on tried-and-true quickies ― like broiled hamburgers ― when time is tight.

But ground beef isn't your only quick-burger alternative. Ground lamb cooks as quickly as beef, and it has its own unique character that teams well with a different spectrum of seasonings, including a refreshing touch of mint in the Greek fashion.

Ground lean lamb is available in most supermarkets. Its fat content varies, but it's usually similar to that of ground beef chuck. If the ground lamb is already shaped into patties, just break them up, season, and re-form.

Like any ground meat, ground lamb has a short storage life. So for freshest flavor, cook within 24 hours of purchase. Or, for future quick meals, season, shape, and freeze up to three months.

For moist, juicy results, broil lamb just until it is barely pink in the center. Otherwise the meat will be dry.

MORE FAST IDEAS FOR GROUND LAMB

  • Stir-fry to brown meat and sliced mushrooms, then cook briefly with sugar snap peas and sliced water chestnuts and season stir-fry with an Asian-sauce mix.
     
  • Mix meat with crumbled blue or feta cheese and shape into burgers. Grill or broil, then serve on spinach leaves mounded on toasted, crusty bread.
     
  • Season meat with chili powder or hot sauce, shape into balls, and pan-brown or oven-fry. Serve with prepared tomato pasta sauce over linguine. Or wrap in warm tortillas to make tacos, seasoning with salsa.
     
  • Use browned meat to make lasagna or to top pizza.
     
  • Use ground lamb in place of part of the ground beef in your favorite meat loaf recipe.