Spring lamb is just around the corner but in the current spirit of cheaper cuts and “stick with what your grandma ate” philosophy mutton has been enjoying a renaissance.
Mutton means meat from a sheep more than two years old, but it could be as mature as four to five years. Carcasses should be hung for three weeks and the meat, which is gamey red, is best boiled or braised slowly in the oven until tender.
When the Prince of Wales began a campaign, in 2004, to revive mutton – once Britain’s traditional meat before it was usurped by roast beef in the 18th century – he shared some morsels with food industry guests from his own rare breed Hebridean flock at Highgrove. The meat was marinaded for hours in red wine and slow cooked then served with pearl barley and mixed vegetables.
Try mutton in a broth or biryani, or a leg of Herdwick mutton from Cumbria roasted very slowly and served with black pudding and root vegetables. For more recipe ideas and regular masterclasses visit muttonrenaissance.org.uk.