The popularity of mutton has declined over the years and it’s certainly not obvious on any of the butcher shops I have visited in the West of Scotland. Certainly don’t expect to find it the supermarkets but it is easily available at farmers markets and from farm shops and suppliers. There are many reasons for the decline in popularity, including, intensive farming and lifestyle changes over the past 40 to 60 years. But, mutton is regaining it’s well deserved place on the countries dinner tables and to encourage this, a mutton renaissance campaign was launched by HRH Prince of Wales in 2004.
Mutton, for those who don’t know, is meat from a sheep over the age of two years and just like beef is more flavoursome than veal, mutton has a more depth of flavour than spring lamb.
Peelham have been been running their organic farm at Fouldon in Berwickshire for over 25 years and rear free range, pasture grazed, pure bred Llyen and Llyen cross, on the upland coastal pastures. The mutton is dry aged for two weeks and has a unique slightly salty flavour and a succulent texture. Having cooked with mutton shoulder, I was struck by just how tender the meat was after slow cooking.
The usual cuts are available with mutton and Peelham stock the full range, including, leg, mince, chops and mutton bones, much sought after these days for broths and stocks. Being a lover of cheaper cuts for slow cooking, I chose mutton shoulder and it was ideal for this recipe.