Can you be an ethical carnivore? I asked the question in a post a few weeks ago as I’ve been reading The Ethical Carnivore – My Year Killing to Eat by Louise Gray.
The one-time vegetarian in me wants to feel that the food choices I make cause minimal suffering and don’t impact the environment as negatively as factory farming does. At the same time, I like following an omnivorous diet and think that is the best possible health choice.
So, what to eat?
Eat less meat
I believe in what small-scale producers do. They deserve our support, but their products are expensive and more of an effort to seek out. As many people have discovered before me, the answer is to eat less meat, which is what most people did in years gone by, and buy the best quality you can sourced from farms that treat their animals with respect and dignity.
Chicken, pork and beef are all problematic unless you buy them from farmers’ markets and small co-operatives because of the ways they are farmed before they are killed. The same applies to dairy. As for fish, most of the stuff in supermarkets comes from fish farms and/or is sourced from far-away countries, making it an environmentally unfriendly choice.
Unlike Louise Gray, I can’t bring myself to directly kill anything, hypocritical as that is. But I’m open to eating a lot less meat, trying out plenty of low-carb vegetarian dishes and including more beans and pulses in my diet.
Lamb – the ethical choice
I’m also happy to continue eating lamb, as the production of lamb doesn’t lend itself easily to factory faming. And there are sound arguments for it here. If you want to eat lamb in this country, it can be a challenge sourcing the UK stuff (an irony that appals me as a farmer’s daughter) because most supermarkets import New Zealand lamb.
Nevertheless, if you do find it, lamb lends itself to many delicious dishes, including this one – lamb with home-made hummus. This amount makes enough for two to three dinners.
For truly velvet-y hummus, you should take the skins off the chickpeas. I’ve done it—once—and it makes quite a difference. But it’s a tedious job. Skins-on chickpeas will still make a fabulous-tasting dish.
Lamb with Hummus
- 2 lamb leg steaks, chopped into equal sized chunks
- Juice of a lemon
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
- I green chilli, sliced finely
- 1 tbsp sumac
- Rapeseed oil
- 1 tin chick peas, drained
- 3tbsp tahini
- Salt and pepper
Mix the chopped meat in a bowl with a tablespoon of the lemon juice, salt and pepper, the sumac, chilli and one of the cloves of crushed garlic. Set aside to marinate for at least 30 minutes, though a couple of hours will benefit the dish.
Blend the garlic, lemon juice and tahini in a food processor so a minute or so to get it as smooth and combined as possible. Add the drained chickpeas and two tablespoons of rapeseed oil. Mix well. Add a tablespoon of water if you feel the mix is too thick. You can also use a hand blender to make the dish.
Heat a tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and add the meat. Cook over a high heat—the meat will take about five to ten minutes.
Serve with the hummus.
My carb-loving husband made his own flat breads to go with this, but it’s fine just as it is with a salad on the side—perhaps a Greek one to continue the Mediterranean theme.
Allow about 8-10g carbs per serving.