Chow Bella's Guide to Eating Cute Baby Easter Animals
Super cute Easter animals are more than just super cute -- they can be pretty freakin' delicious. This Easter, skip the ho-hum ham, save the turkey for Thanksgiving, and let's eat some super cute baby animals.
Here's our little guide to feasting on completely cute meats. Enjoy!
Cute Animal: Veal -- or baby cow or calf -- Veal is actually a byproduct of the dairy industry. If a dairy cow gives birth to a steer, the only real use for it is to become something delicious on your plate. The cute little guys are slaughtered anywhere from a few days old to the ripe old age of 35 weeks and are used in various French and Italian dishes.
Make it: The first rule of veal is DO NOT OVERCOOK. You'll end up with a tough piece of disgusting baby meat. Always marinate your cuts and wet cook at low temperature for longer periods of time to ensure a nice, tender final product. Try this recipe for pan-roasted veal chops with chipotle-lime butter, or make this Osso Buco recipe for a more traditional dish.
Eat Out: Check out Wright's at The Biltmore's Citrus Veal Loin "Oscar" with king crab, lemon scented asparagus, and tarragon butter, or the Vietto Marsala con i Funghi Selvaggi with sauteed veal and mushrooms from La Torretta Ristorante in North Scottsdale.
Cute Baby Animal: Lamb -- or a baby domestic sheep under 12 months old -- Unlike mutton (the meat from adult sheep), lamb is super tender and has a far less "gamey" flavor. The little lambs are slaughtered anywhere from one month to one year old. The younger the lamb, the pinker and more tender the meat. Lamb is a popular ingredient for many Mediterranean dishes but is used in cuisine all over the world.
Make it: Always choose a well-marbled cut of lamb, and don't use a whole lot of seasoning or salt. Lamb is naturally fatty, which equals super moist meat. The preferred method of cooking lamb is to use high heat at first to lock in the juices and then to finish cooking at a lower temperature to keep it tender. Check out this recipe for Honey-Lemon Rack of Lamb.
Eat Out: We highly suggest taking a trip up to Cave Creek for a Pecan Smoked Lamb Shank with Ginger Beer and BBQ Sauce from Bryan's Black Mountain BBQ (it's only on the menu for a limited time). It's 100 percent worth the drive!
Cute Baby Animal: Suckling Pig -- These tiny piggies are raised on their pig mom's milk for two to six weeks, and then they say goodbye and -- well, you know what happens after that. Suckling pig meat is generally more intense in flavor then its older brothers and sisters and is considered a delicacy in the United States, Latin Countries, and Eastern Europe.
Make It: Suckling pig is best roasted whole either over an open flame or in your oven. McReynolds Farms in Phoenix has fully cleaned and prepped piggies for sale and will even deliver the little guy to your house. For open flame roasting tips, click here to check out Eat, Show & Tell's step by step post on how it's done.
Eat Out: Since it's an expensive, big piece of meat, it's not easy to find a restaurant around town that serves these babies on a regular basis. Kai at Wildhorse Pass has a Suckling Pig Torta with Epazote Mole on their appetizer menu that sounds delish, and Aloha Kitchen in Mesa serves up a tasty Kalua Pig on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
Cute Baby Animal: Young Chicken -- Technically, if you're buying chicken from the grocery store it's a Cornish Cross and was only alive for about two months. Due to crossbreeding, these babies can reach four pounds in just six short weeks. Since they grow so fast, these birds can sometimes have a few growing pains such as failed tendons, crippled legs, and heart failure. Yum!
Make It: Go to Whole Foods and pick up a couple of their Step 5 chicken bone-in chicken breasts (they are more expensive then the your standard grocery store, but oh-so worth it!) then slap your favorite barbecue sauce on 'em and toss them on the grill. Or, check out this recipe for Roasted Young Chicken.
Eat Out: Anywhere you go that serves chicken is going to have young chicken. You probably won't ever be eating "old" chicken.
Cute Baby Animal: Rabbit -- If you see a rabbit labeled as a "fryer," it's a baby. They are generally harvested around 9 weeks old. You probably aren't going to find "baby bunnies" on anyone's list of foods to eat or on any menus around town, but you will find rabbit on a few french menus around town.
Make It: Rabbit isn't a common everyday grocery store item, but we have seen it frozen at several of the larger Asian markets around town. Rabbit is best cooked by braising or stewing, but you can also grill it just like in this recipe.
Eat Out: If you're going to try rabbit for the first time, we suggest Christopher's in Phoenix. They have rabbit on the menu every Tuesday and it's always exquisite.
Wanna see something gross? Check out the Chop PHX special Balut (duck embryo) right here. It's the ultimate in baby animal eating.
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