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LAMB SHOULDER Tunis or Navajo-Churro Bone-in, 4-5lb
Tunis or Navajo-Churro
Tunis or Navajo-Churro
This roast is the perfect hearty addition to winter and spring meals. We recommend covering the roast thoroughly in salt, pepper, olive oil and rosemary sprigs. Then roast it in a 400 degree oven until the internal temperature reaches 145 (or a little bit less as the roast will continue to cook after leaving the oven).
The Tunis is smooth, minerally and herbaceous with notes of buttermilk and a bouncy texture.
It’s hard not to respect a breed that was referenced numerous times in the Bible (see fat-tailed sheep) and is reputed to be 3000 years old. It’s even harder to imagine the Tunis not being completely delicious since the first three U.S. Presidents raised and consumed them.
John Adams mentioned the breed in his diary in 1782 when the Tunis had an excellent reputation for delicious mutton — and tail (not sold today!). Thomas Jefferson ordered the importation of a second herd from Tunisia because he loved them so much he thought they should be more readily available. George Washington bred them —one of his early legacies was the proliferation of his particular Tunis crossbreed on farms and dinner tables along the East Coast.
The tail is now smaller and the color ranges from tan-to-red with the occasional white spot on the head and tail. Ewes usually birth twins although the Tunis still remains on the ALBC-USA.org Conservation Priority List. The Tunis is an excellent ambassador breed for the grass-fed movement – they don’t like to eat a lot of grain.
The Navajo-Churro tastes rich, earthy, tangy, silky and sweet with notes of herbs and mustard seeds.
The Churro was brought to the Americas in the 1500s by the Spanish. The earliest domesticated livestock in the New World, it quickly became integrated in native culture and cuisine. The Navajo-Churro produces excellent wool and meat. It was Navajo women who owned the sheep, the grazing rights and the wool, which was an important source of income.
The Navajo-Churro existed in great numbers until the 1860s when the United States government targeted their populations while at war with the Navajo. The breed is listed as Threatened by the Livestock Conservancy.
Ben Machin grew up in Vermont on a small organic homestead where his family grew their own food, and produced apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and maple syrup. After some years working for the US Forest Service as a Smokejumper, Ben came back to Vermont to study and work on various natural conservation projects. Eventually he rekindled his interest in farming. Raising sheep has been in Ben's blood for generations. His great-grandfather started a Tunis flock in the 1920s and then Ben's grandfather began to work with Dorset Horn sheep for a 4-H project. In 2006, Ben had a conversation with his grandfather, Herb, during Herb's final days that encouraged Ben to dedicate himself to revitalizing the family flock.
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