I find pasture-raised lamb to be an incredibly flavorful, versatile and nourishing red meat. A few years ago, I was inexplicably exhausted. Not only did the slightest physical exertion, like a five-minute telephone conversation, drain me of all energy, I was always freezing cold! At the time, I would go to bed, shivering, despite wearing three sweaters over flannel pajamas and two pairs of socks to warm my frozen feet. My search for answers lead me to finally connect with an integrative doctor, who diagnosed me with severe adrenal dysfunction and hypothyroidism (low thyroid).
I began adding more grass-fed red meat into my diet, especially grass-fed lamb. It was a huge 180-degree turnabout: I went from eating red meat on rare occasion (twice a year, at most) to eating it (mostly lamb) at least three times a week! I quickly got over my misguided belief that red meat was unequivocally “bad for you” and that it “caused” cancer or heart disease. The evidence was in my bloodwork.
And in how I felt. Over a period of 10 months, I gradually began to regain my energy and focus. Incorporating 100% grass-fed lamb in my diet was very beneficial. How often you eat red meat is a matter of personal preference and / or tolerance. My point is that eating quality red meat is not inherently “bad” for your health. Pasture-raised lamb is an underappreciated (and significant) source of omega-3 fat, a healthy fat with anti-inflammatory properties, commonly associated with salmon, walnuts, flaxseed, pumpkin seeds and black beans.
A great source of high-quality protein, vitamins, especially B-complex vitamins (important for energy), and an excellent source of B-12 (for brain health and mood), lamb is also a tasty source of minerals, like zinc and selenium, which support a healthy thyroid.
What I appreciate most about eating lamb is its satiety factor—both my gut and my brain feel full and satisfied afterwards. In addition to omega-3 fat, grass-fed lamb also contains conjugated linoleic acid (CLA), another healthy fat, that has been associated with improved blood sugar, reduced body fat, improved bone mass and increased immune function. As with any animal protein, how an animal is raised affects its nutritional profile. Studies show that grass-fed lamb, especially those grazing on fresh pasture grasses, contains almost twice as much CLA as conventionally raised lamb.
I love these flavorful lamb burgers any time of year, but especially in the summer and early fall, when I can raid the herb garden. Classic herbs de Provence is a blended seasoning of dried herbs native to Provence in southeastern France, typically used for roast chicken, grilled meats or vegetables. This dried herb combination can include savory, marjoram, thyme, oregano, basil, tarragon and lavender.
I prefer adding fresh herbs to burgers. Lavender adds delicious depth of flavor. My favorite combination is oregano, lavender and sage.
Provencal Lamb Burgers
Makes 4 to 6 burgers.
1 pound 100% grass-fed ground lamb (alternatively, grass-fed ground beef)
1/4 cup minced shallots
1-1/2 tablespoons whole grain country mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh herbs (any combination of tarragon, sage, mint, oregano and/or
lavender for Provencal flavor)
1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Place all ingredients in a medium bowl. Using your hands, combine well. Form patties, about six 3-ounce patties.
Prepare grill. Place burgers over a hot fire (direct heat) and cook apx 3 minutes each side. Move burgers off the flame and cover for another 2 minutes (to steam burger all the way through).
Depending on the size of your cast-iron skillet, cook burgers in batches, as needed. Heat seasoned cast iron over medium-high heat. Add burgers to pan and, over medium-high heat, cook apx. 3 minutes per side—or until meat feels firm to the touch.