A Stuffed Lamb Breast with Apple Cider Pan Sauce is a perfect, small roast for a Sunday or Holiday Dinner. Served with an apple cider pan sauce, this lamb breast recipe is moist and flavorful. Learn where lamb breast comes from, how to cook lamb breast, and what to serve with this delicious roast!
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The story of how this recipe came to be cracks me up each time I think about it. I had been tasked by a viewer of my Facebook Live videos to come up with a video series of alternative meat centerpieces for the holidays. It was a few days before my video and I was shopping with my small son. I decided to quickly check in the meat department just to see what interesting cuts of meat I could find. As I was passing through the lamb section, I saw this amazing cut of meat and I knew I just had to have it for the video! Lamb breast!
I quickly grabbed two breasts and went home to research how in the world I was going to prepare these for the video. And voila, the result was this delicious and small roast of stuffed lamb breast with bacon, apples, and mushrooms.
The other roasts I did for this video series, which you ought to check out, are:
- Whole Roasted Duck with Pomegranate Soy Glaze
- Honey Mustard Roasted Rack of Pork
- Lemon and Herb Roasted Cornish Hens
I know that you must have a lot of questions about lamb breast so let’s get to the meat (pun intended) of this post!
Where Is The Lamb Breast
Now, I will admit, lamb breast is a weird name for a cut of meat (so is pork butt!). This cut of meat is really simple to find on the animal. The lamb breast is found on the under part of the lamb starting where the front legs are and ends before you get to the flank.
Image Courtesy of Recipes 4 US
Ribs are included in this cut of meat which means that you can cook this cut in a few different ways. You can either roast (which is how we cook this particular recipe), braise, or grill lamb breast. This cut of the animal is quite like a pork belly (check out this recipe that showcases pork belly) in that it needs a slow and gentle cooking method to break down the meat and tissues.
If you want to attempt to grill the ribs, I would try cooking the ribs by either braising or sous vid-ing and finish with grilling.
What Does Lamb Breast Look Like
Lamb breast is a slab of meat that is usually sold with the ribs still attached. The packages I happened to buy of lamb breast, also had a bonus rack of ribs attached to them. This is great if you want to cook your lamb two different ways.
Where Do You Buy Lamb Breast and Why Is It So Inexpensive
You might be thinking “lamb breast?! That must be such a hard cut of meat to find!” This is going to sound crazy but I found my lamb breast at *cough* Walmart *cough*. Of all places! I was floored. Be sure to talk to your butcher at your local store to see if they’ll order in a lamb breast or two for you.
I was also taken by surprise to see the price on this cut. While they’re small, lamb meat can run a bit on the costly side. However, if you’re hosting a small holiday dinner for example (2-4 people), you can get two lamb breasts for less than $15! Well, I did at least one time. The price is going to depend on the store you buy from and how big the breast is. I got smaller breasts because it suited my needs for the Facebook Live video.
I truly believe that this meat is so inexpensive because not a lot of people know that it exists. It’s like the beef brisket of the lamb world. Before brisket ruled the world of BBQ, the brisket was a cheap, throw away meat. Now that people have learned to cook it and found out that it’s super delicious, it’s now gone up in price.
Lamb breast is the same way, I believe. It’s a cheap, throw away cut of meat that is super delicious and you need to get your hands on it!
How to Debone Lamb Breast
Deboning lamb breast is really quite simple as meats usually have natural seams that run through them. This makes the process of breaking down meat super simple.
Using my fingers for the first bit, I separated the breast from the plate of ribs until I got to a point where I needed my boning (or a utility knife) to separate the two cuts of meat. The best way to separate two cuts of meat without creating gashes within the meat is to use the tip of the knife to cut the meats apart.
What you’re left with is a lovely breast and a plate of lamb ribs that you can save for later.
How to Cook Stuffed Lamb Breast
As I had mentioned up above, you can cook lamb breast a few different ways. With this lamb breast recipe, we’re roasting the breast!
While I was doing research, I was stuck on what exactly I should do with this roast. However, when I took into consideration, I had been asked for an alternative meat centerpiece, it became apparent that I needed to stuff and roast this lamb breast. Braising was my second choice.
There are two major components to this stuffed lamb breast recipe: lamb breast and a killer stuffing.
Bacon and Apple Stuffing for Lamb Breast
As I was developing this recipe, I wanted this to have a slightly French feel. I began reading through my books, looking at authentic French lamb recipes to see what they have in common. Well… this recipe isn’t really French, but I was inspired by some of the ingredients that they used and this stuffing is based on a French stuffing for lamb.
Of course, the basis for a great stuffing is some good stale bread. I opted to use French bread for this stuffing. Not necessarily because I wanted this to have a French feel but because French bread has a great taste. It also soaks up juices well leading to a more flavorful stuffing.
Bacon (Applewood smoked to be exact) and apples go great together, especially with the fall feel that this dish has. I opted for mushrooms because mushrooms gave this stuffing a great meaty feel and go well with bacon and apples. Honestly, this would a great standalone stuffing without the lamb.
Using the bacon grease to cook the apples and mushrooms helps incorporate that bacon flavor even more within the stuffing, rather than just adding cooked bacon. The herbs I chose to use are classic lamb herbs but work well with fall and apples! Rosemary and thyme help elevate the earthiness that lamb tends to have. They also lend a savory note to the stuffing without being meaty like the bacon and mushrooms.
To finish it all off, adding fresh parsley gives the stuffing a bright and fresh pop of green (and a slightly clean taste) to the lamb. Even though the stuffing loses the bright green color of parsley while roasting, the taste of parsley is still something that is greatly missed if omitted.
Rolling a Stuffed Lamb Breast
Now, this step is crucial to help ensure an evenly roasted lamb breast. It’s not as intense as trussing a whole duck, or even a leg of lamb. However, in order to make sure that the lamb breast doesn’t come unrolled after roasting, you need to tie the roast tight!
When filling the lamb breast with stuffing, I leave a border around the edge of the lamb breast so that stuffing doesn’t come spilling out. It also makes for a tighter rolled roast.
Since lamb breast is such a small (comparatively) cut of meat, tying it three times down the middle of the roast is plenty to keep everything tucked.
All meats tend to shrink while cooking which means that the trussing of the lamb breast roast could potentially end up being too big for the end roast. To prevent that from happening, make sure to really pull the strings taut before tying. As the roast shrinks, with taut strings, the roast will keep its shape and won’t unroll during roasting.
What Temperature to Cook Lamb Breast
This lamb breast is such a small roast and I didn’t want to risk overcooking it (nothing is worse than overcooked lamb). Instead of cooking this roast low and slow over a long period of time, I opted for just roasting it at 350 degrees until the inside reached 140 degrees. Lamb is perfect when served at about medium rare.
I’ve talked about this a lot in previous posts but the best way to know when your roast is done is using an oven-safe thermometer (affiliate). I can’t harp on this enough, my life has changed since I got one of my own! Be sure to set the thermometer slightly cooler than the actual doneness you want to account for carryover cooking.
I found that roasting my lamb breast in a cast iron skillet (affiliate) worked perfect for this roast, plus it gave me lovely pan drippings to make a lovely pan sauce!
Apple Cider Pan Sauce for Lamb Breast
I truly think that any dish can be elevated by adding a pan sauce. I do it pretty much any time I pan roast a chicken in the oven. It’s a way to use up everything in the pan while making a sauce that goes perfectly with the dish.
My cast iron skillet (affiliate) happened to have some drippings left in it after the roast was done cooking and I just so happened to have some apple cider on hand. Making this pan sauce was as easy as heating the pan on my stove and deglazing the pan with apple cider. Whisk in some butter and voila! Apple cider pan sauce! Drizzle that on top of the stuffed lamb breast and boom! Dinner is served.
What to Serve with Stuffed Lamb Breast
Now that you have this gorgeous stuffed lamb breast filled with bacon, apples, and mushrooms, AND a killer apple cider pan sauce, what do you eat with this?! Well, I have a few suggestions:
- Mediterranean Couscous Salad
- Italian Loaded Mashed Potato Casserole
- Edamame and Corn Succotash
- Cold Green Bean Salad with Greek Yogurt Herb Dressing and Pickled Red Onions
You also might be interested in checking out this recipe of 20+ Unique and Gourmet Holiday Side Dishes. You’re most likely making this roast for a holiday dinner but if not, these are still some great suggestions!
I hope that you enjoy this recipe and that if you’re making it for a small holiday dinner, that your guests enjoy it as well! Feel free to tell me all about this recipe down in the comments below (leaving a rating as well!)
Be sure to also check out this post of 15+ Main Dishes for a Non-Traditional Holiday Dinner for other great dinner ideas!
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- 4 pounds lamb breast, ribs removed
Lamb Breast Stuffing
- ¼ pound bacon, cut up small
- 1 medium Gala apple, cut small
- 5 button mushrooms, sliced and then diced
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- ¼ French Bread, torn into small pieces
- ½ tablespoon rosemary, minced
- 2 teaspoons thyme, minced
- 1 tablespoon Italian parsley, minced
- To taste salt and pepper
- ¼ cup apple cider, for deglazing
Apple Cider Pan Sauce
- ¾ cup apple cider
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1 sprig rosemary
- 3 sprigs thyme
- Preheat a large skillet over a medium heat and render bacon until crispy, about 5 minutes. Removed bacon from skillet, leaving the grease behind.
- Saute apples and mushrooms together until tender, about 5 minutes. Add shallots and herbs together, mix until evenly distributed and cook for 2 minutes.
- Deglaze pan with apple cider. Add torn French bread to the pan, along with fresh parsley. Season as needed with salt and pepper. Set aside and allow to cool before stuffing lamb breast.
Stuffed Lamb Breast
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Clean lamb breast by removing ribs from the breast. Either discard or save for a future use. Season lamb breast with salt and pepper.
- Place stuffing in the middle of the lamb breast and spread evenly, leaving a boarder around the meat.
- Roll lamb breast starting at the short end until you get to the other end. Tie the roast together with butchers twine in three areas of the roast. Be sure to pull the string taut each time.
- Heat a small cast iron skillet over medium heat. Sear stuffed lamb breast on all sides for about 2 minutes per side. Stick an oven safe thermometer in the middle of the roast and place the cast iron skillet in the oven. Set thermometer for 140 degrees and roast until the thermometer beeps (about 1 hour).
- When thermometer goes off, take skillet out of the oven and allow the roast to rest before cutting.
Apple Cider Glaze
- Heat skillet on stove over a medium heat. Add herb sprigs and deglaze pan with apple cider. Allow cider to reduce, about 3-5 minutes. Turn off heat and add butter. Stir until smooth and well incorporated. Remove herbs from sauce and serve with stuffed lamb breast.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 8 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 1494 Total Fat 96g Saturated Fat 33g Trans Fat 2g Unsaturated Fat 31g Cholesterol 508mg Sodium 1002mg Carbohydrates 19g Fiber 2g Sugar 12g Protein 141g