Hector trailing the sheep outside of Ketchum


Idaho is finally warming up, and this weekend appears to be setting itself up nicely for a grilling session. Here’s what I would recommend:

Spiced Lamb Chops with Mint-Mango Salsa

This recipe comes from epicurious, where it was highly recommended. The spice rub alone would make for a fabulous lamb chop, but adding the cool texture of a mint-mango salsa balances the dish perfectly.

Mint-Mango Salsa

  • 1 1-pound ripe mango, peeled, seeded
  • 1 cup fresh mint leaves
  • 2 green onions, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • 2 serrano chiles, halved, seeded

Blend all ingredients in a food processor. Add salt to taste. Cover and chill until you are ready to serve lamb.

Lamb Chops

  • 3/4 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 3/4 tablespoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 tablespoon coarse kosher salt
  • 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • pinch of ground cloves
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 8 1-inch-thick lamb loin chops
  • Fresh mint sprigs

Heat your grill. In a small bowl, mix together cumin, coriander, salt, cinnamon, turmeric, cayenne, cardamom and cloves.

In a separate small bowl, mix together olive oil and garlic. Brush oil mixture onto loin chops.

Press chops into spice rub, coating each side.

Grill chops, about four to five minutes per side, or until they reach desired internal temperature.

Serve with mint-mango salsa and garnish with mint sprigs.

Outfitted in mud boots and work gloves, a group of students from the Hailey, Idaho Sage School came out to the ranch a few weeks ago to help us with our on-going stream restoration work. Under the tutelage of Farm Manager Tim Bennett, the group of students cut and planted 100 willow stakes and planted some native grass seed. After the work was done, they checked out the lambs and got to meet the Lava Lake Great-horned Owl.

The Sage School is a new, independent school that strives to create meaningful experiences for its students, engage them in the “real world,” assist them in becoming self-aware, connect them to their community, bring out their natural compassion, and engage them in actions to make the world a better place. The school believes that their environment assists its students in becoming fully engaged citizens who are committed to community action, and humanitarian and ecological responsibility. What better opportunity to connect students with their community, and take on ecological responsibility than to contribute to Lava Lake’s restoration work?

When the group arrived at the ranch, Tim showed students how to identify the different willow species, and how to cut stakes from the existing trees. Students then cut 100 willow poles and planted them along our “Phase II” restoration area. We’ve planted some willows here in the past, but needed the Sage School students to help us fill in the gaps from past efforts. After the willows were planted, the group cut each willow pole just above ground level, so that all of the plant’s energy goes into the roots, increasing the chance of survival.

The group then spent some time scattering native grass seeds in an area that was disturbed last year. We hope this leads to new growth and recovery.

The students had a great time checking out the ranch. We really appreciate their help in contributing to our restoration efforts and look forward to working with these awesome kids again in the future!

Great Horned Owl


Last weekend we participated in the Idaho Preferred booth at the Green Expo in Boise. The expo was a chance to showcase green and sustainable businesses around Idaho. It was also a great opportunity to make some new friends, talk about Lava Lake and feast on yummy lamb.

Life’s Kitchen agreed to prepare our lamb. They are a fantastic organization based in Boise that transforms the lives of at risk teens by training them in the culinary arts. The program supports itself through catering, a cafe, and donations. Their students go on to become successful chefs and food service professionals – what a great mission!

Maggie, of Life’s Kitchen, left us with the recipe for the moorish lamb dish served at the booth. She prepared the dish using lamb shanks, although it would also be good with shoulder.

Lamb in the Moorish Style from El Caballo Rojo in Cordoba

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • lamb shanks
  • 2/3 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/3 cup very finely chopped green pepper
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 Tbsp brandy
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • few strands of saffron
  • 1/2 cup chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp wine vinegar
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp honey

In a dutch oven, heat oil and brown meat on all sides.  Sprinkle with salt.

Add onion and green pepper and sauté until slightly softened.

Stir in paprika, then brandy, wine and softened saffron and simmer for 5 minutes.

Add broth and bring to boil. Cover the pot with a tight fitting lid or aluminum foil. Place in a 300 degree oven until meat is tender when poked with a fork (3-4 hours). Stir in vinegar and honey, taste for salt and pepper, and simmer on the stovetop 10 minutes more before serving.

Thanks to all of our wonderful moms – both humans and ewes!

Idaho’s Bounty’s second annual locavore fest is about to wrap up. A number of Wood River Valley restaurants have been serving up fabulous local food, and some have been featuring Lava Lake Lamb.

Tonight is the final night of Ketchum Grill’s Locavore Week. All of their entrees are $16.91 or less, in honor of their 19th anniversary (Congratulations!). In addition to braised goat and grilled steak, they are offering braised Lava Lake Lamb shanks.

CK’s will wrap up the festival from May 7 – May 13th. They are featuring beef brisket braised in Bellevue  root beer,  and Lava Lake rack of lamb.

Support local producers and our wonderful local restaurants! This is your chance to fill up your punchcard and be entered into a drawing for a gift certificate to Idaho’s Bounty (see the Idaho’s Bounty site for details). Happy Eating!