What if you have a hankering for meat and a vegetarian’s budget? You might consider shopping halal. At the Atlantic Avenue butcher shop where I buy leg of lamb, it goes for $4.50/lb., as compared to $6 to $7 a pound at Fairway and $7.99 at Whole Foods last time I checked. There are some differences between halal lamb and the kind you’re probably used to, and we’ll let you decide how you feel about the slaughter practices.
It tastes a bit different as well—halal lamb is completely drained of blood and it hasn’t been aged, so it’s not that super-tender lamb chop you’re going to grill to a pink medium-rare. This is hearty flesh that responds to marinades, barbecuing, and to slow simmering. Here’s a recipe I came up with…
Butterflied lamb with Yoghurt and Garlic
Have the leg deboned by the butcher, or do it yourself. Rub a cup of creamy Greek yoghurt onto the flesh, along with three finely chopped garlic cloves and about 4 sprigs of oregano. Salt. Let it sit for a few hours in the fridge, and then put it under a blistering broiler for maybe 8-10 minutes a side. Then it rests. It is very good on a wood fire, too. Or charcoal. Whatever. After ten minutes of resting slice it and serve with something strong like a fennel-and-potato salad.
Halal Meat Market, 232 Atlantic Ave. between Court Street & Boerum Place, 718-625-2781. See more from Marie Viljoen here.