Contains: Offal. Uses either soy or coconut aminos. Is: Gluten-free, potentially Paleo and Whole30.
Heads UP!!! Or, half a head is better than none!
Yes, I uploaded another head recipe a few hours ago – I figure I get these heads out of the way so we can carry on hereafter. For that one, see: Khmer Pork Head. I promise, no more heads this year…
Your best bet for finding a lamb’s head is from ethnic markets in larger metropolitan areas, or if you know farmers who pasture raise sheep, you can always ask. Since readership here is international, many of already have your own nearby sources. I’d buy them already split in half, as this will make them easier to eat. Although I remember Dad coming back from a foray into some region of New York City with an entire sheep’s head, which as I recall he simmered on the range for a long while, with whatever seasonings he used, but was yummy as all get out. (This was probably the only dish Mom didn’t want to join us with.)
Dad started us off early on nose to tail, years before this became an expression or a “trend”. Indeed, Mom was usually also in on this, too — she cooked beef tongue, heart, and both made sweetbreads. The tongue and heart were recipes she was familiar with anyway, hailing from Kentucky in the mid-century as we did.
The appearance doesn’t skeeve me at all; after all, I grew up with this sort of stuff. But be forewarned if photos may be problematic for you to view — I’ll try to put the most visual of them towards the end of this post. Note though: a lot of this stuff (beef or pork-wise) is already in the hot dogs you may be purchasing and gnoshing down. (There are a lot worse things in most hot dogs and commercial sausage than offal…)
There are a lot of different seasoning profiles you can do. Another thought is to use a Moroccan ras al hanout rub, or an African harissa spicing, or to bring in Indian curry flavors. Rosemary marries well with lamb, no matter what part you are cooking. I do like making sure that the brains are marinating in some type of acidic ingredients, which is why I like lemon in any case. (And another good reason to have the butcher give you halves of heads.) While portions of the head are a bit on the fatty side, especially the brains, the forehead and cheek meat is markedly less so.
This head is harder to eat than the pig head – less meat and more bone ratio. I wouldn’t serve it for an elegant dining experience, as you have to crack into the head to get much of the meat.
PS: before you decide to stop following this blog based on these two recipes, there won’t be any more head recipes this year. I won’t guarantee about other offal, but yep, the only head recipes for 2020 are posted today. I’ll note that since I do eat meat, I don’t want parts of the animal to go to waste just so I can eat the “prime” parts. Besides, this is really good…
Cooked early March, 2020.
Prep Time: 10 minutes.
Cook Time: 2 hours.
Rest Time: 10-15 minutes.
Cuisine: European/American offal.
Leftovers: Yes. And save bones for stock. I wouldn’t microwave leftovers due to the large amount of bone.
Roasted Lamb’s Head
- 1/2 a lamb’s head – get your butcher or supplier to cut it in half. Thaw it in the fridge.
- 1 tablespoon low sodium, gluten-free tamari, or use coconut aminos for Paleo eating or for soy allergies/intolerance.
- 1 tablespoon ginger/garlic paste, divided.
- 1 tablespoon capers, rinsed.
- Juice of 1/2 lemon, divided
- 1/8th teaspoon ground pepper
- 1/8th teaspoon salt, I choose sea salt.
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Remove and reserve the brains. Should you choose, discard the brains, but I did use them. Rinse the head and pat it dry. Should you choose, remove the eye and discard. This I did, although I found it easier to remove the eye AFTER roasting. Marinate the brains with half the lemon juice, one teaspoon of the garlic/ginger paste, a dusting of salt, and the capers while the rest of the head roasts, in the fridge.
Season the outer side of the head with the seasonings listed above, 2 teaspoons (or so) of the ginger/garlic paste, 1/4 of juice of a lemon, and all the tamari, salt and pepper. The rest is reserved for the brains, should you decide to include them. If the brains provide too much of a squee factor, you certainly can discard them!
Roast uncovered in a preheated oven at 350 F degrees. Outside facing up.
Roast 1.5 hours.
Pull head out of oven, and return seasoned brains to the brain cavity, and the head back to the oven. Inside facing up (or the brains will fall out…)
Continue roasting until done, another 20-25 minutes, the meat should look roasted, and should be fork-tender. Test, eat. (Lambs do come in different sizes, which will affect cooking time.)
I know this may be a hard thing for some of my readership to appreciate, but if you’ve gotten this far… Enjoy!
Next week: I promise, a vegetarian recipe!!! (But if you do eat meat, consider the whole animal, in some form or another. It does not have to be this form…)
This recipe is brought to you by the Rolling Stones: Goat’s Head Soup. (Which I have not tried, but I figure it should be similar, but less fatty.)
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