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Aussie Meat Trends

Ingredients that love our meat: Aji amarillo

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It’s pronounced like “Ahi” the tuna, but there’s nothing fishy about Aji Amarillo, the Peruvian chile pepper. Often found in the US as a prepared paste, Aji Amarillo lends its brilliant yellow (aka Amarillo) color and earthy heat to just about everything in Peruvian cuisine. But its usefulness isn’t limited to South American fare! Just like other chile pastes from around the globe like sriracha, sambal, gochujiang, or harissa, Aji Amarillo is quite versatile, especially when paired with Aussie grassfed beef and lamb.

antichuchoHere are a few ideas: Added to just a few other ingredients, it can be a finishing glaze on grilled meat, a marinade or a stir-fry sauce as on lomo saltado. Or blend it with a cooling substance like Greek yogurt or sour cream, and you have a tasty dipping sauce for skewers or meatballs.

Here’s a collection of dishes with Aji Amarillo for your inspiration! We’d love to see your ideas, so post them here in the comments.

Aussie lamb meatballs, Peruvian style

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Aussie lamb meatballs with aji saucesThis month’s featured recipe shows the simple versatility of Aji Amarillo, a brilliant foil for our Aussie lamb. Here, savory lamb meatballs – with just a touch of heat on their own from peri peri hot sauce – are set up with a trio of Aji Amarillo-based dipping sauces; one straight Aji Amarillo, one cooled with greek yogurt, and a third done aioli-style with mayo. Better crack open a stubbie to cool the fires, this Peruvian chile paste can turn up the heat…

See the recipe here.


What makes Aussie lamb so special?

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If you’re reading this, chances are you already know you like Aussie lamb. Maybe it’s the sustainable bona fides, the pasture-raised ethics, or that Aussie lamb is raised without added hormones. But most likely it’s about the flavor! While the natural pasture diet and non-use of added hormones are part of producing great tasting lamb, there are a few other factors at play as well.

raw rack of lambFirstly, it’s in the genes! Australian sheep farming was once a wool-focused industry, going back over 30 years ago. While wool production for our famous Uggs and other wool products still exists, today’s Aussie lamb farmer has more likely bred his animals specifically for meat. This means fewer pure bred Merinos and more diversity in the flock with meaty breeds like Dorpers and Suffolks.

The second factor, and probably more important on the whole, is that lamb from Australia must be slaughtered before it grows adult teeth. Anything after that, and by law it’s not lamb, it’s mutton! In the US and other countries, this is not the case, which is why Aussie lamb tends to be smaller in size, have less surficial fat, and be milder in flavor. Typically this means Aussie lambs are 12 months old or less.

Third, and speaking of age, the wet aging that occurs in transit to the US actually improves the eating quality of Aussie lamb — something many ex-pats from Down Under will comment on when they eat Aussie lamb in the States. Much like dry-aging a steak, wet aging allows natural enzymatic activity to begin to break down connective tissues and tenderize the meat, along with developing flavor. Because of the technological advancements and high standards of our processing plants for export, we can achieve the benefits of aging without sacrificing shelf-life, with 90 days the average for fresh product.

Aussie lamb for the win!