Food & Drink

Versatile spiced lamb dish a juicy weeknight meal

Spiced lamb steak with Florentine rice.
Spiced lamb steak with Florentine rice. Tribune News Service

A steak cut from the leg of lamb is tender and juicy and cooks in minutes. The spiced coating makes this dish special with little effort. It’s great for a weeknight dinner. If the lamb steak is not in the meat case, ask for two steaks about  1/2 to 3/4 -inch-thick cut from the leg. It is cut right through the leg, making a round steak with a small bone in the center.

Fred Tasker’s wine suggestions: When it comes to lamb, I always turn to dry red wines such as merlot or Rioja.

Helpful hints: Rib or loin chops can also be used instead of lamb steak. Spices keep for about six months. Buy new ones if yours are older.

Countdown: 1) Make lamb. 2) While lamb cooks, make rice.

Shopping list: To buy: 2 6-ounce lamb steaks, center cut from leg, 1 bottle ground allspice, 1 bottle ground cinnamon, 1 bottle cayenne pepper, 1 bag washed, ready-to-eat spinach and 1 package microwaveable brown rice. Staples: Olive oil spray, olive oil, salt and black peppercorns.

Spiced lamb steak

2 6-ounce lamb steaks center cut from leg, fat removed

1 teaspoon ground allspice

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Olive oil spray

Remove fat from lamb. Mix allspice, cinnamon and cayenne pepper together. Spread mixture on both sides of lamb. Heat a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat and spray with olive oil spray. Add the lamb and brown 2 minutes, turn lamb over and brown 2 minutes. Lower heat to medium, cover with a lid, and cook 5 minutes. A meat thermometer should read 125 degrees for rare, 145 degrees for medium.

Per serving: 255 calories (40 percent from fat), 11.3 g fat (3.4 g saturated, 5 g monounsaturated), 108 mg cholesterol, 34.5 g protein, 2.4 g carbohydrates, 1 g fiber, 112 mg sodium.

Yield: 2 servings

Florentine rice

5 cups washed, ready-to-eat spinach

1 package microwaveable brown rice to make 1 1/2-cups cooked rice

2 teaspoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Place spinach in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high 1 minute. Remove and cook rice in the microwave according to package instructions. Measure 1 1 / 2-cups and set aside the remaining rice for another dinner. Add rice to the spinach and toss with olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.

Per serving: Per serving: 220 calories (25 percent from fat), 6.1 g fat (0.9 g saturated, 3.8 g monounsaturated), no cholesterol, 5.9 g protein, 36.3 g carbohydrates, 4.4 g fiber, 68 mg sodium.

Yield 2 servings