Celebrating Eid al-Adha

Eid al-Adha, also known as Qurbani Eid, is a significant festival celebrated by Muslims worldwide. Qurbani, or Udhiya, means sacrifice and is the tradition of sacrifice and sharing with family, friends, and those in need. This joyous occasion holds great religious and cultural importance, commemorating the spirit of sacrifice, generosity, and devotion. Eid al-Adha allows Muslims to reflect upon the values of compassion, generosity, and unity while deepening their connection with Allah (“God” in Arabic) and their fellow human beings. 

At Westfine Meats it is important to support Eid for several reasons. By recognizing and supporting Eid, Westfine Meats demonstrates its commitment to inclusivity, diversity, and respect for different faiths and traditions. This inclusivity fosters a sense of belonging and goodwill among its diverse customer base.

Eid al-Adha is observed on the tenth day of the Islamic month of Dhul Hijjah, following the completion of Hajj. The key ritual of Qurbani involves the sacrifice of an animal, such as a goat, sheep, cow, or camel. This act serves as a symbolic gesture of sacrifice, humility, and gratitude towards Allah. The meat from the sacrificed animal is divided into three equal parts, as per the Islamic mandates. Muslims donate a third of the meat from the sacrifice to the poor and needy, they gift a third of it to friends and relatives, and the last third is retained for use by their immediate family.

The date of the celebration is determined by the sighting of the moon, as per the Islamic calendar. In 2023, Eid al-Adha is predicted to be celebrated on Wednesday the 28th of June. To confirm the exact date, individuals and Islamic authorities keep an eye out for the sighting of the new moon, which marks the beginning of the lunar month. Once the moon is sighted, people begin preparations for the festivities.

This joyous festival serves as a reminder of the devotion demonstrated by Prophet Ibrahim and encourages Muslims to emulate his unwavering faith. This is a time for families and communities to come together in celebration. Relatives and friends gather to perform prayers at the mosque, exchange heartfelt greetings, and enjoy festive meals. The occasion strengthens family bonds and encourages forgiveness and reconciliation. 

 During Qurbani Eid, the act of Qubrani or Udhiya (sacrificial harvest) customarily involves a dedication of the sacrifice to the name of a family member or friend for the sake of their health and blessings. Then the animal is slaughtered by hand while invoking the name of Allah (“Bismillah Allahu Akbar”) while the animal faces towards Qibla. As a result, Westfine Meats ensures that when our customers get their lamb it has been specifically blessed in the name they have requested. It’s a rigorous and well-organized process in which we track every single lamb and the customer for whom they are blessed, to ensure that they end up with their lamb.  

Have a peaceful Eid al-Adha.

Lamb Holiday Meal Ideas – Incorporate Lamb Into Your Holiday Feast!

The winter holidays are right around the corner and it’s time to start planning some celebratory feasts (this year involving delicious lamb)! 

 Dinner table set up for a fancy holiday meal with red and green candles, a red and black checkered table cloth.
Photo source: https://unsplash.com/photos/tu0nCdW7V4o

This holiday season is a time to create unforgettable memories with the people you love. Invite friends and family over to your house or apartment and get the party started. Or, treat yourself to a gourmet dining experience and enjoy some much-needed alone time, maybe by your fireplace. 

In need of some inspiration? That’s why we’re here! We’ve put together a list of lamb recipes to try out this holiday season. 

Holiday Lamb Mains Courses 

1. Coffee Rubbed Ribs 

Image source and recipe: https://sungoldmeats.com/coffee-rubbed-lamb-ribs/

Honestly, hearty rack ribs make the best centrepiece for dinner tables during the holidays. This year, try Sungold’s signature Coffee Rubbed Lamb Ribs. The flavour-packed coating is a blend of espresso, chilli powder, brown sugar, salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and pepper. The brown sugar and espresso flavours will complement your selection of holiday drinks like hot chocolate or eggnog. 

First step? Buy some Sungold Rack of Lamb ribs and try out this recipe today! 

2. Roasted Lamb with Carrots and Potatoes 

Roasted lamb shanks with peas, carrots, and potatoes with fresh herbs garnishing the top served on an oval-shaped white platter.
Image source and recipe: https://eatsmarter.com/recipes/roast-lamb-with-carrots-and-potatoes

Simple, but a classic! Roasted lamb with potatoes, carrots, and peas is a delicious and easy-to-make meal that will be sure to impress your guests. You will find this dish to be a classic because it is full of flavour and it’s so easy to make. Lambs are naturally packed with flavour, so we don’t have to add a lot of seasoning to the meat itself. The carrots and peas add a slight sweetness to the dish and the herbs bring all the flavours together.

This dish is perfect for a special occasion or even a simple weeknight meal if you feel like getting a bit of a festival this holiday season. It can be served with a variety of sides, but we like to keep it simple with some mashed potatoes and a green salad.

Roasted lamb with carrots and peas is a dish that you will want to make again and again. It’s flavorful, it’s easy, and it’s absolutely delicious!

Sungold offers plenty of options for lamb shanks. Try out some Alberta lamb this holiday season!  

3. Sweet Potato Bowls with Lamb and Mushrooms 

Sweet potato, lamb, onions, mushrooms, and greens served on an off-white plate against a tan background.
Image source and recipe: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/sweet-potato-bowls

Sweet potatoes are a staple holiday flavour. They make for a flavourful bowl with lamb and mushrooms. It’s a comforting wintertime dish! 

This recipe is flavour-packed and an instant hit, but it’s possible to make in just 30 minutes. Throw it into bowls for a casual last-minute get-together, or serve on your best plates at your more fancy planned events. 

This recipe requires ground lamb, which you can purchase premade! Sungold has lean ground lamb in our Lamb Tonight line. 

4. Lamb, Chestnut, and Cranberry Stew 

Red-coloured lamb stew garnished greens served in a white bowl with handles, against a white wood background.
Image source and recipe: https://feed-your-sole.com/lamb-chestnut-cranberry-stew/

Chestnut and cranberry are some classic holiday flavours. Together with lamb, they make a scrumptious holiday stew to enjoy by the fire. This recipe uses diced lamb shoulder or leg, which is cooked with shallots, mushrooms, and tomatoes, with fresh cranberries, chestnuts and a touch of thyme. To round out the dish, add a side of creamy mashed potatoes, and you’ll have a perfect winter meal.

5. Stuffed Leg of Lamb with Rosemary and Pine Nuts 

 Leg of lamb sliced into thin slices to reveal stuffing filling the centre of the meat. Served on a wooden platter with a gravy boat of gravy in the background.
Image source: https://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/lamb-recipes/stuffed-leg-of-lamb-with-rosemary-and-pine-nuts/

Recipe: https://sungoldmeats.com/stuffed-lamb-leg/

How about a twist on Sungold’s classic Stuffed Leg of Lamb recipe

Stuffing is arguably the best part of any holiday dinner. Take your meals to the next level and make a Stuffed Leg of Lamb – but this time with Christmas stuffing! Take our classic recipe, and replace it with some delicious holiday stuffing. The stuffing creates a fragrant, scrumptious filling on the inside of the lamb while the meat remains moist and tender. This roasted leg of lamb is easy to make, beautiful to look at, and sure to impress any dinner guest.

Treat your family to a holiday dinner that demands to be remembered. Provide a warm, gourmet meal and compliment it with a glass of Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon. It is sure to be a hit with the entire family. If you’re looking for wines to pair, check out our Ultimate Wine Pairing Guide

In need of some locally made leg of lamb? Sungold has got you

6. Skillet Lamb Roast with Cognac Pan Sauce

Image source and recipe: https://sungoldmeats.com/skillet-lamb-roast-with-cognac-pan-sauce/

We saved the most holiday-themed for last! Your winter holiday is not complete without a gourmet Skillet Lamb Roast. The prep time is only ten minutes and gives you and your guests 50 minutes of cook time to hang out, relax, and enjoy a drink or two by the fire. If your guests hadn’t seen you put it in the oven ten minutes earlier, they might think you ordered this in from a gourmet restaurant down the block. 

If you’ve got extra time on your hands and want to make it even more gourmet, make your own sauce by following a Cognac Sauce recipe! Nothing beats the complex flavours of homemade sauces. 

What are you waiting for? Pick up some Sungold Lamb, grab your skillet, and get roasting! 

Holiday Lamb Appetizers 

1. Minted Lamb Puff Pastry Bites 

Breaded pastry bites filled with minced lamb meat served on a black plate. A larger bowl of lamb pastry bites are in the background.
Image source and recipe: https://www.puffpastry.com/recipe/minted-lamb-puff-pastry-bites/

You know what goes well with Christmas? Mint. Do you know what goes well with mint? Lamb, actually. The flavours are extremely complementary. Combined together, minced lamb, green onions, mint, garlic, and black pepper make a scrumptious filling for pastry bites. 

2. Lambs in a Blanket with Cilantro Yogurt 

 Lamb sausage wrapped in breading lined up rows against a white background, sprinkled with sesame seeds. Green cilantro yogurt is in the bottom right hand corner. 
Image source and recipe: https://www.bonappetit.com/recipe/lambs-blanket-cilantro-yogurt

This is a gourmet twist on the holiday classic ‘pigs in a blanket’. Sprinkled with sesame seeds and served with creamy cilantro yogurt, this is the perfect appetizer to bring to a potluck or get-together. 

The recipe calls for Merguez sausage, and you’re in luck. Sungold’s Lamb Tonight line has a Merguez sausage ready-made for you to use. 

3. Lamb Cocktail Meatballs 

Meatballs coated in red cocktail sauce, sprinkled with greens, served on an oval white platter on a brown wooden table.
Image source and recipe: https://www.delish.com/cooking/recipe-ideas/a23694828/cocktail-meatballs/

The recipe we linked uses ground beef, but our Lamb Tonight meatballs are an easy sub-in. Using Lamb Tonight products streamlines the process since they come pre-made, seasoning and all. 

Of course, if you’re someone who loves making everything from scratch, you can use our lean ground lamb and make the meatballs yourself. 

So many classic holiday meals could be taken to the next level with lamb subbed in over other meats. Get experimental with this season’s holiday meals and pick up some Alberta-raised lamb

The Homo Sapien Saga: 10,000 Year-old Lamb Kebabs

Sheep with shepherd in the mountains

Taming Fire and the First Outdoor Grill

About two million years ago, prehistoric humans were as unimpressive as any other wandering land mammal. In fact, our particular species, the Homo sapiens, didn?t even make it to the top of the food chain until about 100,000 years ago – a very recent date with respect to the evolutionary timeline.

The ability to control fire was a pivotal point for human development. It provided warmth and protection, allowed weapons and tools to be shaped, and enabled our hominids (any of the species in the Homo range) to start cooking food. Prior to the advent of fire, the human diet was primarily made up of easily digestible plants, seeds, flowers, and fleshy fruits. Plant stems and roots still couldn?t be incorporated because the raw cellulose and insoluble fibres were indigestible. Raw meat was hard to chew, hard to digest, and was often full of parasites.

Once the early humans figured out how to cook their food over fire, a large variety of dietary options opened up. It quickly became evident that cooked meat was a great source of nutrients and caloric energy, and it naturally became a dietary staple. As the amount of energy they absorbed from their food increased, so too did the survival and reproductive rates of humans. We became stronger, faster, and more prevalent on the earth.

In fact, as the human diet changed, the human body also adapted physically. Teeth that were big and flat (for grinding raw leaves) eventually became narrower and sharper (better for cutting into cooked meat and vegetables), resulting in the much smaller jaw size you see on our own faces today. It?s also likely the increased caloric energy that came from eating meat allowed human brains to grow in size quickly – giving them a competitive advantage over other large mammals that existed at the time.

The big-brain advantage also ended up being the selective feature that allowed Homo sapiens (our species!) to out-compete other species in our genus like H. erectus, and spread all over the world to create our own nomadic communities.

Sheep: Man?s Second Best Friend

Sheep were the first animals to be domesticated as a food source by humans, dating back as far as 9,000 BC in the ?Cradle of Civilization? (current day: Iraq, Kuwait, Turkey and Syria). But before they were domesticated, they wandered the fields in a larger, wilder form called mouflon.

A Wild Mouflon
A Wild Mouflon
Photo Credit: Animalia.bio

The nomadic human groups that first hunted wild mouflon gradually changed the composition of the herds on which they preyed. Humans found out that it was to their advantage to only hunt adult rams and old or sick sheep, sparing fertile females and young lambs in order to preserve the long-term vitality of the herd. Then, as the mouflon became a more established part of their diets, humans started actively trying to protect their new food source from wild beasts (and other hunting groups). Over time with selective hunting and protection, the wild sheep herds became more docile, more fat, and more wooly – much like the sheep we see today.

Eventually, however, it would just start making more sense to corral the sheep in an enclosed space for easier access. Why? Well, there were some other factors involved as well.

Vive la Revolution!

About 14,000 years ago, as humans started discovering the power of domesticating plants, they began to settle in large groups near bodies of freshwater and fertile land. The Agricultural Revolution (otherwise known as the Neolithic Revolution) started spontaneously happening in different places around the world.

Over the next millennium, the agricultural revolution would dramatically transform nomadic groups into sedentary societies that would grow into villages and towns. Humans began to selectively breed cereal grasses like barley and wheat, spending the vast amount of their days growing, watering, and taking care of their crops. However, because meat was still such an important part of their diet, people had to find a better (and faster) way to access it; day-long hunts were no longer an option.

Ergo, the sheep pen was developed. Herding and housing all the sheep in an enclosed space at the center of the village was an efficient way of protecting and maintaining villagers? main source of meat. There is established archaeological proof that proves the domestication of sheep in early Mesopotamian civilizations from over 10,000 years ago – ranging from bone specimens to dung remains in places where sheep were corralled together.

Other than being a delicious (and nutritious) addition to a diet, the secondary advantages of sheep domestication became even more clear as time passed. Sheep provided dung for crop manure, bone for the creation of needles and arrows, fat for tallow candles, milk for dairy consumption, and wool for clothing. In fact, sheep became such an invaluable part of daily living that they were soon traded all over Europe and eventually, to all four corners of the earth.

Today, sheep farms exist all over the world – even here in Canada!

SunGold Meats

Want to test out the original grill meat and try your hand at some lamb-centered culinary masterpieces? 10,000 years of history thinks you should!

SunGold Specialty Meats is a federally inspected, HACCP-certified, full-service lamb and goat processing plant located in Innisfail, Alberta, Canada. Operating since 1974, SunGold is proud to work very closely with some outstanding western lamb producers to bring our customers top quality, grain-finished lamb products.

Find out more about our story here and get started on your next food adventure!

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