Baa is the new moo

Their name says it all – Lambtastic! Ray and Nancy Nolan, partners in life and business, own and operate Lambtastic Farms near Vulcan, AB. Lamb is low in fat and full of protein so you can actually feel good about what you eat! Their lambs are raised in a healthy environment without the use of hormones or animal by-product feeds.  Lambtastic is presenting with Grainworks on Friday, July 15, 2016 at 3PM on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage BMO Marketplace, Hall A.
Lambtastic sheep

Calgary StampedeBriefly tell us about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Ray Nolan:  Born and raised on a sheep farm in Ireland, where the family farm still operates today. Before returning to the a agriculture career, I was a chef for over a decade cooking in Ireland, England and finally Canada. During my culinary career I was fortunate enough to work at some great establishments. meeting some great people and cooking for the likes of HRH Queen of England at her royal state banquet to Nelson Mandela which was my personal favorite. Also during that time I met my wife, Nancy while working at the Dorchester hotel on park lane London.

Today we reside in Vulcan AB with our two boys Brayden 4, Charless 2. We run a flock of 350 ewes and grain farm. Our typical day is never a dull one varies from meeting chefs to butchers and the daily business of running a farm which is highly demanding. Our livestock require care 7 days a week, a farmers work is truly never done.

CS: When did you know you wanted to be involved in the food industry?

Ray: Food was always something that intrigued me. When I look back there was always a berry to be picked, a potato in the ground and orchard to be robbed lol. We were surrounded by the local bounty of the Irish country side.

CS:  What do you love about your job?

Ray:  What I love about my job is easy, sharing it with my family, also raising our lamb to make it a quality product chefs are proud to use on their menus. Being involved in that process and seeing people enjoy our lamb is something very satisfying. As a chef it was very rewarding to see empty plates come back to the kitchen, with our lamb and seeing people enjoy it is equally as satisfying.
Lambtastic Farms

CS: Do you have a favourite memory of the Calgary Stampede?

Ray: My first memory probably was –  wow these guys are crazy! Growing up we didn’t see a lot of rodeos, bull riding or chuck wagons so it was great to finally see it live. But, my favorite memory was 2 yrs ago when our ewes were used in the world stock dog championships. We hope to keep that relationship for many years to come.

CS:  Do you have a recipe you would like to share with our readers?

Ray: We recently cooked at the Calgary co-op kitchen theatre. We did a lamb chili that was very popular:

Stampede Chili….

• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• 1 pound lean ground Lambtastic Farms Lamb
• 100 g. Lambtastic Farms smoked Lamb Belly
• 100 g. Lambtastic Farms Chorizo Sausage
• 1 large onion, diced
• 4 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 carrots, diced
• 1 leek, diced
• 1/8 cup each Organic Grainworks Turtle Beans, Pinto Beans, Garbanzo Beans and Kidney Beans
• 3 tablespoons chili powder
• 2 tablespoons paprika
• 2 teaspoons ground cumin
• 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
• 1 teaspoon salt
• 5 fresh Roma tomatoes
• 4 cups Chicken Stock

Preparation
1. Soak beans in cold water overnight, refilling water if necessary
2. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add ground lamb, onion and garlic. Cook, stirring and breaking up the meat with a wooden spoon, until the meat is no longer pink, 3 to 5 minutes.
3. Add smoked belly, chorizo sausage, carrots and leeks. Continue to cook over medium-high heat stirring occasionally, 5 to 7 minutes.
4. Add chili powder, paprika, cumin, cinnamon, and salt and cook, stirring, until aromatic, 30 seconds to 1 minute.
5. Stir in tomatoes and beans.
6. Add enough stock to cover ingredients. Turn heat to low, stir occasionally. Add more stock if needed. Cook until the liquid is reduced and thickened and the beans are tender. Approximately 1 hour
8. Serve!

For a full list of presenters on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage please visit the Western Showcase website.

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