Here in Portugal, lamb, kid and even better, baby milk lamb are almost as essential to the Easter table as turkey is to the Christmas table elsewhere.
This week, whole (or half) kids and lambs are on promotion at most supermarket butchers, and the better butchers will also have milk lamb.
Slaughtered at about the same age as young kid (between 10 and 12 weeks) and weighing between 7 and 9 kilos, the meat is totally white in colour and has a more delicate flavour than kid.
In Spain, milk lamb (cordero lechal) is a true delicacy. The tiny legs and shoulders are quickly roasted at high temperature in wood burning ovens at the “Asador” restaurants which are typical of Burgos in northern Spain.
Spit-roasting over a wood fire is equally good but all parts of a lamb this small, including the leg, are small enough to barbecue over charcoal, and will take no longer to cook than a chicken.
Personally, when buying a whole or half milk lamb (the price is usually around €15 per kilo), I prefer to roast or bbq the legs and shoulders and have the body section chopped up to make a stew, and serve this with the roast meat so that the sauce doubles as a gravy.
Inspired by Spanish flavours, I always do a simple recipe for stewed milk lamb of kid, browning off the meat in some olive oil then building up the stew with onions, garlic, red peppers, fresh (preferably wild) thyme, bay leaf, dry white wine and saffron.
By PATRICK STUART firstname.lastname@example.org