Mutton Dressed as Mutton

In the last 40 years, mutton has almost disappeared from our menus – although that seems like it might be changing slowly but surely. The recent revival of the once loved meat has put it back in the public eye with chefs and home cooks alike celebrating the meat’s versatility and depth of flavour.For years mutton was on a par with roast beef as the meat of choice for many a British family. Having been given more time to range freely, age and eat more, mutton offers the taste we have come accustomed to with lamb (only more so).There’s no ‘one size fits all’. There are many things to consider when choosing mutton, as there are countless variables that all contribute to the taste of the meat. Age, breed, what the animal feeds on, where the animal was reared, the hanging of the meat – the list goes on.At Swillington Organic Farm all of our livestock are reared organically, consequently our sheep are purely grassfed and live low stress, high welfare lives before being slaughtered locally and hung for over a fortnight.So, what is mutton?Mutton is simply sheep meat. Whilst we have recently become more accustomed to lamb, mutton was once the more popular choice. There is no legal definition, however it is widely agreed that it is a sheep over two years old.Many people are under the illusion that mutton is too old to be tasty, and as a result the meat is tough and slightly gamey. Whilst there are definitely sheep that are too old to be considered ‘tasty’, much like most animals, being only slightly older than their lamb counterparts at just 2 year’s old – they are still very, very tasty.How do you cook it?As a slightly tougher meat (not much though), the best way to cook mutton is with some moisture around it. So think stews, casseroles and curries.At Swillington, we think that mutton is the perfect meat to slow cook and best enjoyed with some crusty bread as a delightful winter warmer. It’s definitely a comfort food is ever there was one! A light stew, with some stock and fresh vegetables will complement the meat perfectly and provide a delicious, full flavoured gravy too.Much-ado-about-muttonThroughout November we will be including a mutton cut in all our meatboxes, giving you the perfect opportunity to try it for yourself if you are yet to be converted.Much ado about MuttonOur farm is listed as one of 60 specialist suppliers in Bob Kennard’s book ‘Much ado about Mutton’ which looks at the rise and fall of mutton. In the book he explains the health and environmental benefits of the meat and why it’s poised for a resounding comeback.The book is not just a great source of information on the meat’s history, but it also includes some fantastic recipes to make the most of its distinctive flavour.You can find out more about the book and try out some delicious mutton recipes by visiting their website at meatboxes are the perfect way to get quality, organic and seasonal meat delivered straight from the farm, all year round. Discover how you could benefit from a monthly meatbox.