April 17, 2024

Westside People

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Easter | Meat with many qualities

Easter |  Meat with many qualities

“Lamb is a meat with an exceptional flavor, fat and texture ratio,” enthuses chef Marc-André Jette.

Sitting at a high table at Hougan et Beaufort restaurant in Montreal's Angus district, the chef-owner multiplies the qualifications to describe this product he particularly loves. The words “delicious” and “incredible” came up several times during the interview.

In his view, lamb is the meat that best reflects the spirit of his restaurant, which is known for cooking over a wood fire.

Lamb fat and fire are the perfect marriage.

Marc-André Jetté, chef-owner of Hoogan et Beaufort restaurant

We move near a large fireplace where a few flames crackle. The impressive architecture with its industrial character contributes to the warm atmosphere of this magnificent complex – not too long ago, the site served as a warehouse for the Angus Railway factories.

Photo by Alain Roberge, The Press

Hoogan et Beaufort Restaurant is known for its wood-fired cooking.

On Sunday, for Easter, Marc-Andre Jetté and his team will present a special menu in which lamb will be served in different ways.

Photo by Alain Roberge, The Press

One of Chef Marc-André Jette's missions is to democratize lamb. In photo, chef Bruno Chamboux.

Today their food includes goat meat Pres : A plate of wood-fired lamb neck and squash agnolotti. When we arrived, the chef, Bruno Chamboux, was busy preparing pasta.

Typical question

Marc-André Jetté has generously accepted our invitation to cook for our readers and share one of his recipes as he wants to contribute to the “democratization of lamb”.

Although it is the fourth most consumed meat in Quebec, it is much less popular than its predecessors, namely, chicken, beef and pork.

1.1 kg

Average annual lamb consumption per Canadian in 2022. During the same period, a Canadian ate an average of 35 kg of chicken.

Source: Statistics Canada

For many Quebecers, eating lamb isn't part of their diet, notes Marion Dallaire, spokeswoman for Éliveres d'Ovins du Québec, in a phone interview. A survey conducted by the organization in 2020 and made public the following year indicated that 43% of the population used it.

“When I was a child, we did not eat lamb in my family. Zero,” underlines Marc-Andre Jette. His love for this meat developed later, thanks to a former partner of Italian descent. “In his family, they cooked a lot of lamb and rabbit,” he recalls.

However, in recent years, we have felt a certain enthusiasm for this meat, argues Marion Dallaire. Not just on special occasions, he explains. “Even during the week people want to add variety to their menu. […] They like to try new flavors. »

Why do some potential consumers not dare to cook lamb? “The main reason is that they often don't know how to prepare it. They are afraid to make mistakes,” answers Marion Daler.

A question of taste

And then there's the taste that not everyone likes. In the 2021 survey, this unique taste drove some consumers away, while for others it was the reason for their purchase.

In the collective imagination, we still associate lamb with a “woolly side,” unpleasant in the mouth, laments Marc-Andre Jette.

“Our parents and grandparents boiled lamb […]They are poor quality lambs, very old lambs. […] It brought the taste of wool that is etched in the minds of the world,” he says.

Photo by Alain Roberge, The Press

Marc-Andre Jette

Today, “we're a long way from that,” the chef continues.

Now, with crossbreeding, through genetics, the lamb is exceptional.

Marc-André Jetté, chef-owner of Hoogan et Beaufort restaurant

Lamb from here

This is especially true for Quebec lamb, says Marc-Andre Jette, who has always preferred large mass productions from Australia or New Zealand.

Photo by Alain Roberge, The Press

The chef works with Marrow's lamb chops located in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu in Monterrey.

In the province, we often hear about the lamb production of Bas-du-Fleuve, whose animals feed on salty herbs that give the meat salty notes. “It's a very high-quality lamb, we can't deny that, but it's very expensive,” says Marc-Andre Jette.


Number of sheep producers in Quebec

Source: Quebec goat breeders

Édouard et Léo is also the owner of the butcher shop and the Annette wine bar, which for about fifteen years has been sourcing its products from the same passionate producers: the sheepfolds of Marrow, located in Saint-Charles-sur-Richelieu in Monterrey.

It is true that lamb is expensive compared to other meats like chicken or pork. Noble cuts, for example, rack and leg of lamb, come with much larger bills.

Photo by Alain Roberge, The Press

The final touch

However, some parts of the animal are still accessible. This is the lamb collar, similar to the neck, a piece that Marc-Andre Jette incorporates into his recipe today. “It's an incredible portion,” he promises, adding the finishing touches to the appetizing plate.

We can only agree with him when we feel the braised meat melting on our tongue and its flavor invading our taste buds.

Visit the Hoogan and Beaufort website

Visit the Agneau Québec website

Visit Édouard et Léo Butcher's website

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