Vegetarians, look away now.
I was contacted by the lovely Kathryn at The Blackface Meat Company and asked if I'd like to receive some of their 5 year old mutton, to cook up into a delicious meal. As anyone who knows me will tell you, meat is one of my big loves* so I was hardly going to say no, was I? So 1kg of mutton duly arrived at my door, ridiculously well packaged and extremely prompt. Along with the mutton, I was sent some recipe ideas and I decided to make the Mutton Fast Slow Stew, with a few variations.
Blackface is a small family business, run from their farm in the South West of Scotland and they do a huge range of different meats, including venison, grouse, lamb, pork and haggis. They also do a range of seasonal boxes which I'm dying to try so if someone would like to buy me the Small Packages (snigger) box then please FEEL FREE. If you like meat, and you have the money, then get yourself over to the website now and get meated up. You won't regret it. Delivery is included in the price and if the delivery is anything like mine, it'll be at your door by 9am. Amazing service.
- 2 large onions, roughly chopped
- 1kg diced Blackface mutton
- Chantenay carrots, peeled and chopped (I didn't weigh these, just used a decent amount)
- 2/3 pint vegetable/beef stock
- Balsamic vinegar (a few good splashes)
- A sprig of rosemary
- 2 bay leaves.
- A sprig of thyme
- 3 cloves of garlic
- Ground pepper and salt to taste
- 2 tsp ground cumin
- 1 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tbsp olive oil
Heat half the oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Add the garlic, onion and carrot and sweat for eight to ten minutes, until softened. (I always use a piece of baking paper, just placed over the top of the vegetables, to assist in the sweating)
Add all the spices to the vegetables and fry for a few more minutes before transferring to tagine or casserole dish. Turn up the heat under the (now empty) pan and add the rest of the oil. Brown the meat quickly and add to the vegetables. Pour over the stock and the balsamic vinegar, ensuring that the meat is just covered. Add the herbs, pop on the lid and place in a low oven for 3 hours.
Serve with mashed potatoes and green beans and DIE with joy when you taste how incredible that meat is. Seriously. So so good. It melts in your mouth.
Notes: The recipe called for "good" stock but I used Oxo cubes (two vegetable and one beef) and it worked just fine. I ommitted the apricots from the original recipe as I can't bear fruit in savoury dishes. Instead I added the carrots to bulk it up a bit and it was perfect.
*The others? Gin, cheese, a really nice pert bottom and Mark Owen. The last two are not mutually exclusive.