Oswald Rivera

Author, Warrior, and Teacher

Category: lamb and goat (page 1 of 2)


This is a Rivera family favorite, Chuletas de Cordero Empananda. Simply, Breaded Lamb Chops. The lamb chops can be coated with flour or breadcrumbs. In the Rivera clan, we prefer the bread crumbs.  The seasoning used you can probably find in your cupboard right now. Note that back in the old days you would have fried the breaded lamb chops in shortening. I still prefer shortening, though today you would most likely use canola or vegetable oil, or a mix of olive oil and butter. We usually serve this dish with a side of parsley potatoes and carrots. But you can complement it with whatever side dish you prefer, or rice, as we did back in Spanish Harlem.

(Breaded Lamb Chops)


2 eggs
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
1 cup bread crumbs
½ teaspoon each, garlic powder, dried oregano and marjoram
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
8-10 lamb rib chops, ¾ to 1-inch thick
1 cup shortening or vegetable oil to cover the pan by ½-inch


  1. Beat eggs with Worcestershire in a shallow pan.
  2.  Mix together bread crumbs, garlic powder, oregano, marjoram, salt and pepper. Coat chops with egg then bread crumbs.
  3.  Melt shortening or heat oil in  a large skillet. Fry lamb chops a few at a time over medium heat until well-browned, 5 to 7 minutes per side. Drain on paper towels. Chops may be kept warm in oven until all are fried.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.



This recipe came about because of the leftover gravy we had from the Thanksgiving turkey. We had some loin chops on hand and decided to cook them in the gravy. Now, this recipe can work as we did it, with leftover gravy. But in a pinch, you can make your own gravy. Its not that hard, and it’s much better than the watery canned gravy you get in a  supermarket.

This dish is great with mashed potatoes. A combination made in heaven.


8 lamb loin chops or rib chops, about 1-inch thick
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon dried thyme
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
2 cups leftover gravy—or you can make your own gravy in recipe given which includes:
¼ flour
2 cups chicken or turkey stock


  1. Wash lamb chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  2.  Season with salt, pepper, oregano and thyme
  3.  Heat olive oil combined with butter pan a large pan or skillet over medium heat. Add lamb chops and sear about 2 minutes on each side.
  4.  Remove chop from skillet, set aside. To the oil in the skillet, add the flour, and blend thoroughly. Add stock, and cook, stirring constantly over medium heat until mixture thickens.
  5.  Add lamb chops to gravy in pan, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or until lamb chops are tender.
    Yield : 4-6 servings.




Years ago I acquired an Indian cookbook that had a recipe for Shish Kabob. They called it Seekh Kabab. I’ve been a fan of skewered meats since I can remember, so I tried the recipe. Problem was it didn’t work. It called for lamb mixed with spices to be threaded onto skewers and grilled. The meat did not bind, It just fell of the skewers whether it was wood or metal skewers.  Then I tried something different, I forwent the skewers and cook the kabobs in oil—and it came out perfect.

Thus here is my modified Indian kabob recipe.  It goes great with boiled or friend rice. It may not be a true shish kabob since it’s not grilled on skewers; but it hits the spot if you want a delicious, satisfying Indian meal.

Seekh Kabab


1 pound (2 cups) ground lamb or beef
1 large onion, finely chopped
½ inch piece fresh ginger root, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt to taste
1 egg, beaten
1/3 cup olive oil

lemon slices
tomato slices
Chopped coriander leaves or chopped fresh parsley


  1. Mix meat with onions, ginger, garlic, ground spices and salt.
  2.  Stir in beaten egg and form the mixture into 8 balls. Then flatten the balls into sausage shapes.
  3.  Heat oil over medium flame in a large skillet or pan. Add meat and cook on all sides until meat is browned and tender.
  4.  Garnish with lemon and tomato slices. Sprinkle with coriander or parsley and serve.
    Yield: 4 servings.



On my mother’s side, the heritage is Italian. In fact, my crazy Uncle Phillip once made it his mission to track down the Italian connection and he discovered that the Bizardi’s, my mother’s maiden name, hailed from Brindisi in Southern Italy. This comes to mind with the dish featured today. It’s one of our family favorites. We love lamb chops with garlic and tomatoes. Sometimes my Mom would use ripe tomatoes. In the winter,  it would be canned Italian tomatoes and, when times were lean, marinara sauce. The dish never disappointed.

Through experimentation, the only changed I’ve made to the recipe is to add ground cumin. It improves and hightens the taste. Here it is, the Rivera family Lamb Chops Italian Style.  Any grain accompaniment or even pasta will go with the dish. True to our Boricua lineage, this time around I served it with tostones, friend green plantains. Want a good and  quick recipe for tostones? Check my post from 10/16/16.

Also, if you want to make this dish Tex-Mex, substitute 1 cup prepared salsa for the tomatoes.  Thus, the recipe gives you two dining options.



6-8 lamb chops
2 tablespoons olive oil
Ground cumin to taste
4 large tomatoes, chopped, or 1 medium-sized can  Italian tomatoes
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
¼ cup grated cheddar cheese


  1. Brush chops with olive oil and sprinkle with cumin. Heat a pan or skillet over medium-high heat and brown chops on both sides (2-3 minutes).
  2.  Add tomatoes and garlic. Lower heat, cover and simmer very gently for 15 minutes.
  3. Top with grated cheese. Cover briefly to melt cheese. Serve immediately.
    Yield: 4-6  servings.



This was a last minute dish that we made yesterday for Easter. Usually I prepared a leg of lamb and have my usual group over for the traditional Easter Dinner. In the age of Covid-19, that was a no-go.  All my friends and acquaintances, as well as Holly and I, are self distancing and hunkering down until this pandemic is over. Honestly, what with the coronavirus and alI I hadn’t planned a holiday dinner. Then, at the last minute, Holy reminded me of the holiday tradition. Problem was, we had no leg of lamb available. We looked in the freezer, and we did have some lamb shanks. I got to thinking, maybe this time I can still do something special with lamb shanks.

One of my favorite entrées is a Middle Easter dish known as Mozaat. Actually, it’s a veal dish, But, not what you think: it’s a shin of veal preparation where the veal shin is steamed along with herbs and spices. I figured, Why not try the same thing with lamb shanks?  The result is what some people would call a stew. It is rich and flavorful; and is usually served with couscous. We had rice on hand, and we use that grain as an accompaniment.  The results were magnificent.

Be aware that this dish includes potatoes. I usually do NOT peel the potatoes. The potatoes skin is what gives it its nutrients. Problem is, that most potatoes these days are sprayed with every kind  chemical. Thus, we always purchase organic potatoes as sold in a health food store, a local farm, or food coop. If you can’t find fresh organic potatoes, then you’d be advised to peel the things. But, if you are fortunate enough to get organic or farm-grown ones, cooked unpeeled.


4 lamb shanks
3 tablespoons olive oil
6 potatoes, sliced
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano or ½ teaspoon dried
½ teaspoon turmeric
Juice of ½ lemon


1. In a large pan or pot, heat the oil over medium flame and sauté the lamb shanks, turning them to brown all over.
2. Season with salt, pepper, oregano and turmeric. Half-cover with water. Bring to a boil, lower heat and simmer, covered, for about 2 hours or until the meat is soft and the sauce reduced. Add a little water during this time if necessary, and turning the shanks occasionally.
3. Squeeze the lemon juice over the pan just before serving.
Yield: 4 servings.



I like lamb, and I like olives. So, why not mix ’em together? This recipe, by the way, is from an old cookbook I acquired years ago: Ismail Merchant’s Florence. The rosemary sprigs and black olives impart a tantalizing flavor to the lamb.  I do not know if this will work with green olives, or even stuffed Spanish olives. But you are welcomed to try.  Also, you can serve the recipe with any preferred grain or pasta. I served it with  spaetzle (Swiss dumplings) and it was perfect. Note that the ingredients call for a cup of dry white wine. Whether that means you have to serve the dish with white wine, I don’t know. I served it with an Australian Shiraz, and it hit the spot. Enjoy



¼ cup olive oil
2 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
2½ pounds stewing lamb, cut in chunks
1 cup dry white wine
2 fresh ripe tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
30 black olives


  1. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium, add the garlic and rosemary. When garlic is golden, add lamb chunks and brown on all sides.
  2. Pour in the wine. When it evaporates, add tomatoes, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and cook over low heat about 15 minutes.
  3. Add olives to the lamb. Cover and cook very slowly 1½ hours or until the lamb is tender. Add water or beef stock if meat seems to be drying out.
    Yield: 4-6 servings.


CHULETAS DE CORNERO CON PAPAS (Broiled lamb Chops with Potatoes)

We Puerto Ricans love spicing up food. It’s in our nature. One of our favorite methods is dried spice rubs. This is a favorite with the old folks and the older generation. The beauty of these dishes was that you didn’t need fresh herbs. A lot of them were not available once a criollo family arrived on the mainland from the island during the great migration in the 1950s. Dried spice rubs became the norm. What’s singular about this method is that the longer the spice rub coating is left on the meat, the stronger the taste. It was also convenient. You coated the meat in the morning, went to work in a factory during the day, and when you got home, the meat was  prepped for cooking.

This method of cooking has survived through the ages. Today I use the same spice rubs my parents used back in our apartment in Spanish Harlem. And one of our favorites was spicing up lamb chops. Then as now, it’s a great dish exploding with flavor. In this variation, I served the lamb chops with red potatoes. But you can use regular potatoes, if desired. In our household, we never stood on rigid formality.

Now, in this recipe, the game plan is thus: you rub the lamb chops with the spice rub, and then marinate them for the time desired. You grill the lamb chops while you boiled the potatoes to just tender. Remove the chops from the oven, replaced with seasoned potatoes and broiled them for a couple of minutes. Then  serve both to the delight of family and friends.

(Broiled lambs Chops with Potatoes)


8 lamb chops
2 teaspoons dried rosemary, crumbled
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon salt
Pinch of cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Preheat broiler to high
  2. Wash lamb chops under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Combine rosemary, garlic powder, thyme, oregano, black pepper, salt and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well.
  4. Brush the lamb chops with the olive oil and rub the spice mixture into both sides of lamb. Let stand 1 hour at room temperature or, better yet, overnight in the refrigerator.
  5. Arrange chops on a shallow baking pan (I prefer cast-iron) and broil 5 minutes. Turn and cook until done (about another 5 minutes).

Yield: 4 servings


2 pounds red potatoes, cut into chunks (do not peel)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

  1. Wash the potatoes under running water. Place in a medium pot or pan, cover with water, bring to a boil, and                cook until almost tender, about 10 minutes.
  2.  Drain the potatoes, brush them with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3.  Place on a shallow baking pan and broil until tender, about 2-3 minutes, turning once or twice.

Higado Al Sarten

Mention liver as a food, and the reaction you’ll invariable get is Aaak! Ugh! Yuck! Liver does that to people. In our family, we loved liver. Still do. Maybe it’s a Rican thing and, yes, in certain circles liver is considered a delicacy. And I’m not talking about Hannibal Lecter lovingly describe how he ate a human liver with fava beans and Chianti. I mean other methods: in classical French cuisine liver pate and foi gras are at the top of the food pantheon.  Plus, chicken livers and onion has always been a standby in English cooking. Our family’s humble contribution is Higado al Sartén. In Spanish, sartén translates as “frying-pan.” Rather than terming it “Frying Pan Liver” we translate it, roughly, as “Sautéed Liver.”

When my mom cooked this dish, it was always with either calf’s liver or lamb liver. We never tried it with beef liver, so I wouldn’t know how that would turn out. And we served it (because my father insisted) with rice, preferably yellow rice. But you can elect to have it with mashed potatoes or, as I did this time around, with boiled potato chunks drizzled with olive oil.

The other thing to note about liver is a wine matchup. Liver is notorious in this respect. No matter what animal it comes from, liver is gamy, and it renders a unique flavor. Experts in the field (if you believe experts) usually recommend a good Italian red like a Rosso di Montalcino, if you can find it. Others recommend Pinot Noir or Burgundy. My experience has been that a French Syrah, or Shiraz from Down Under, makes a perfect match. We had this dish with a Shiraz from South Eastern Australia (Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2016), and it was just right.

(Sautéed Liver)


8 whole black pepppercorns
2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1/2 teaspoon dried
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 pound lamb or calf’s liver
Juice of 1 lime
1 cup flour
3 tablespoons olive oil


  1. In a mortar, crush peppercorns, garlic, oregano, and salt.
  2. In a medium saucepan, place liver in water to cover along with lime juice. Bring to a rapid boil. Drain and pat dry with paper towels, then cut into thin slices.
  3. Mix crushed seasonings inside a zip-lock bag along with the flour. Add liver slices, and thoroughly coat the liver with the flour mixture.
  4. Heat olive oil in a large frying pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add liver (shaking off excess flour) and sauté until firm (but not hard) and browned on the outside, about 2 minutes per side. Drain on absorbent paper towels, and serve.

Yield: 4 servings.

Easter Lamb (with Pineapple)

Here we are again, the Easter Holidays. Time to break out the big Easter ham or, in our case, the lamb. In our family, lamb was it for this particular occasion. It was made Puerto Rican style with lots of spices so that it tasted more like pork than anything else (we did the same thing with the Thanksgiving turkey).

This time around, we’re going to try something different: leg of spring lamb with pineapples. It’s a really neat and easy dish to make. Perfect it you’re lucky enough to procure a New Zealand or Australian leg of lamb with its tender and more delicate flavor. I find these variations the best—unless you’re near a farm that raises lamb on  premises. You can find lamb in the frozen meat section of your supermarket, or Caribbean markets where you may be able to find it fresh. Whichever, you can’t go wrong with this dish. Just right for one of the most important and oldest of Christian festivals.


1 leg of lamb, about 5 pounds
2 cloves garlic, sliced into small slivers
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh chopped oregano, or 1 teaspoon dried
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 can (1lb. 4-oz) pineapple chunks

1. Wash leg of lamb under running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. With a sharp knife, make small slits throughout the lamb. Insert the garlic slivers into the slits.
3. Brush the lamb with the olive oil. Sprinkle all over with the oregano, salt and pepper. Place in a covered dish, or wrap tightly in aluminum foil. Place in the refrigerator for at least one hour, or better yet, overnight.
4. Place lamb in a  roasting pan, and roast in a 325 degree oven for 1 hour.
5. Pour undrained pineapple chunks over lamb. Roast 1 1/2 to 2 hours or more depending on desired degree of doneness, basting frequently.
    Yield: 8 servings.

Lamb Shanks with Apricots

This recipe is probably Arabic in nature. Which means its original providence is Persia, or modern day Iraq. In the seventh century, Muslim armies conquered Persia, and the Arabs moved their capital from Damascus in Syria to Baghdad, the heart of the former Persian empire. And thus began the great change in Arabic cooking. The desert Arabs had subsisted on sheep’s milk, barley, mutton and dates. In contrast, the caliphs of Baghdad enjoyed truffles from the Arabian Desert, cakes from Egypt and couscous from North Africa. Arab cooking underwent a transformation. Now they were dining on spices from India and China, apples from Syria, raisins from Jerusalem. and exotic fruits, such as  apricots, from Central Asia. And this all went into their dishes. This, in turn, was transferred to Spain with their conquest of the Iberian Peninsula. Eventually, this was co-opted by the Crusaders, who took it back to Europe, and introduced strange and fascinating new recipes from the Holy Land.

Which leads to the current recipe listed. A round-about historical perspective, I admit, but a damn good meal for any occasion. And one which I know you will enjoy.


4 lamb shanks
1/2 cup flour
Salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup sliced dried apricots
2 tablespoons honey 
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2  teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
3 tablespoons vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Rinse lamb shanks under cold running water and pat dry with paper towels.
2. In a plate, combine the flour with the salt, pepper, oregano and garlic powder. Dredge the shanks in the flour.
3. Heat olive oil over moderate heat in a large pan or skillet. Add shanks and brown on all sides.
4. Add chicken broth, cover and simmer on low heat for 30 minutes.
5. Add remaining ingredients, bring to a boil, and cook for 3 minutes. Lower heat, cover and simmer for an additional 30 minutes. or until shanks are tender.
   Yield: 4 servings.  

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