We have plenty of mutton in this week, ideal for a slow comfortable stew that can be prepared in advance and allowed to simmer on the hob while you go for a long walk, ready to warm you on your return.
Mutton is lamb that is over two years old, and while tougher than lamb, has a depth of flavour that can be coaxed out with slow, gentle cooking. The rewards are worth the wait, as the slow cooking breaks down the mutton until it is tender, and the flavour creates a rich sauce.
There are a couple of tips for slow cooked stews:
- Brown off the meat and veg before putting in the pot, adding flavour and colour
- Slow-cooked veg breaks down quicker than meat, so either opt for larger pieces, or add the veg half way through cooking
- Simmer with a lid or foil to keep the moisture in.
- Stop cooking once the meat is tender, and then adjust the consistency of the sauce. If too thick, add wine, stock or water, if too thin, the remove the meat and veg and boil down to the right consistency.
Mutton Casserole Recipe (serves 4)
- 600g of diced shoulder of mutton
- Tblsp of tomato purée
- 100ml of red wine
- Tblsp of red wine vinegar
- 500ml of chicken stock
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 sprig of thyme
- 100g of carrots
- 100g of celeriac
- 100g of swede
- 1 onion, medium
- 4 garlic cloves
Preheat the oven to 140°C/gas mark 1.
Brown the diced mutton in small batches in the casserole pan with a little oil. When browned on all sides, add tomato puree and fry for further two minutes.
Deglaze the pan with the vinegar, then add the wine and reduce the liquid by half.
Add the stock, bring to a simmer and add the herbs. Seal with a lid or foil, and place in the oven
Dice the veg, peel and roughly chop the garlic and add to the meat after 1 hour of cooking. Return to the oven for a further two hours or until the meat is tender. Serve with celariac mash and braised purple sprouting brocolli.