Up until last year when my mum took me to Broom House Farm in County Durham, I had never cooked with Mutton. The farm sells their own beef, lamb, mutton and saddleback pork so when I visited for the first time I decided to try some of their mutton mince for a change from lamb mince. The next time I went back I stocked up on some meat to take back with me and put in the freezer, including some lovely diced mutton.
I dont think there is enough promotion of mutton as a great meat to cook with which is a shame. In terms of slow cooking I think mutton is definitely better than lamb in currys or casseroles. For those who dont really know what mutton is, generally it means a sheep that is over two years old. I came across a good website called the Mutton Renaissance which is dedicated to "putting mutton back on the menu". Have a look if you get a moment as it's an interesting site.
When I originally bought the mutton I was thinking of making a slow cooked mutton stew but then I came across a recipe on Waitrose for Lamb Massaman Curry with coconut and peanuts. I had bought some massaman curry paste a while ago but had never done anything with it so thought this recipe would be useful as a guide to making a slow cooked mutton curry.
The recipe below will easily serve 4 and to make it you will need the following:
- 500g diced mutton
- 1 large onion, sliced
- 6 medium or large new potatoes, cut into chunks
- 1 x 400ml tin reduced fat coconut milk
- 4 teaspoons of Massaman curry paste
- 150ml Lamb stock
- Juice of half a lime
- Olive oil
- 2 tablespoons half fat creme fraiche (optional - use it to cool down the curry if you think its a bit too spicy)
1) Turn your slow cooker on to high and replace the lid to let it warm up. Meanwhile seal the lamb in a frying pan with a little olive oil. Add the onions and fry for a couple of minutes until they begin to soften. Add the curry paste and stir together so that the onions and lamb are coated in the paste.
2) Transfer the lamb to the slow cooker and add your diced new potatoes. The potatoes dont need to be par-boiled before cooking as they will cook in the liquid.
3) Add the coconut milk, lime juice and lamb stock and give it all a stir, then replace the lid. Note: it might not seem very spicy tasting at this point but dont add any more curry paste unless you like it with a bit of a kick. I added another teaspoon and I should have just left it - this is the reason for the creme fraiche later on! It didnt burn my mouth off but it was a little bit too spicy for me. It all depends on taste really but the taste at the beginning does not reflect how it actually tastes at the end once it has had five hours of slow cooking
4) Leave to cook on auto (after an hour it automatically turns down the temperature from high to low) for five hours, stirring occassionally. If you find at the end of the five hours it is a little spicy for your taste add the creme fraiche before serving. You dont want to add it at the beginning or it will split. Serve with some rice.
The meat was absolutely beautiful and melted in the mouth. It was a long wait but actually it hardly involved any cooking which is great because it meant I could get on with the rest of my weekend....of doing nothing but sitting listening to the rain beat off the windows. Due to sheer laziness I only took one photo of the finished dish so there isn't any step by step photos.