The book Much Ado About Mutton includes an ecclectic group of about 20 mutton recipes designed to show the versitility of mutton in the kitchen. Some examples are given here.
Mutton Recipes, Traditional and Modern
The book 'Much Ado About Mutton' contains an eclectic cross-section of some 20 recipes chosen to illustrate the diversity of mutton in the kitchen, and the many varied ways it can be cooked and enjoyed. Mutton suppliers are usually happy to give advice on cooking mutton, and often have recipes on their websites, or include them with their order.
Below is a brief selection of recipes from the book Much Ado About Mutton, plus one or two new ones.
Other recipes in the book include:
Traditional Shetland Reestit Mutton Soup, Slow Baked Shoulder of Mutton, Stuffed Loin of Mutton, Darina Allen's Kerry Mutton Pies, Mutton Croquettes, Herby Mutton Hearts, Simple Mutton Curry, Clarissa Dickson Wright's Mutton with Sumac and Butterbeans, Mutton Casseroled in Ale with Prunes and Raisins, Tagine of Mutton and Chickpeas, and Spiced Mutton Kebabs.
Traditional British Mutton Recipes
Abi’s French Irish Stew
This is taken from the hand-written recipe book of Abi Hall from her time as cook at Arlington Court, north Devon (now National Trust), around the time of the First World War.
As the title suggests, the mutton stew is an international dish. In France, it is known as a Navarin Printanier. France even awarded an AOC (denomination certified origin) recognition for its Barèges-Gavarnie Mutton from the 19 Municipalities in the Hautes-Pyrénées, between Barèges and Gavarnie, Midi Pyrénées Region.
lump of butter (size of an egg) a dozen or so potatoes
turnip or two
two large or six small onions stock or hot water
salt and pepper
Put the saucepan on the fire to warm, throw in a lump of butter the size of an egg. When melted and steaming add the pieces of mutton, salt and pepper them and let them brown in the butter on both sides. When a deep colour remove them with a fork to a dish. Peel a dozen or so potatoes, cut them up and in preference cook a small waxy potato that will not require cutting, add a turnip or two, throw them into the stew pan, let them brown in the same way as the mutton, add a couple of large onions or half dozen small ones, cut in pieces & replace the mutton, add a sufficient quantity of stock or hot water, a bunch of the usual herbs (laurel leaf*, thyme and parsley) cover the saucepan and let the contents simmer on a slow fire for two hours. If the sauce is not thick enough remove a small quantity just before serving, put it into a small bowl and add a teaspoonful of potato flour and pour it into the stew, skim the fat. Add salt and pepper to taste.
From the book Much Ado About Mutton, and as featured in Nigella Lawson's 'Cookbook Corner'
From ancient times, 'broth' meant meat liquor, ie. the liquid produced from boiling meats - the most common method of cooking mutton. In historic recipe books, a broth could also mean a thick soup - the medieval 'pottage' - where vegetables and whatever
meat could be found would be cooked in a large communal pot, and which often included barley grain: wheat is a relative newcomer to the British diet. This is one such recipe; as is typical of recipes before the mid-18th century, quantities are not given, but were left to the discretion of the cook. Such soups were served with oatcakes.
Scrag end of neck of mutton
soup vegetables: onion, leek, carrot, celery, all coarsely chopped
bouquet garni (bay leaf/thyme/parsley)
extra chopped vegetables
barley grains (or pearl barley)
salt and pepper
Put the meat and bones, soup vegetables and herbs into a large saucepan, cover with water, bring to the boil, take off any scum and simmer very gently for around 2 hours, or until the meat falls from the bone.
Strain the soup into a basin; pick out the best of the meat from the debris and reserve. Leave to cool so any fat rises to the top. Remove the fat, pour the broth into a clean saucepan, add a handful of pearl barley and extra chopped vegetables. Bring to the
boil and simmer until the barley and vegetables are soft, around 40-50minutes, adding the reserved meat towards the end of the cooking time. Serve with a sprinkling of chopped parsley or chives.
Traditional Spiced Leg of Mutton
This recipe was a common way to prepare roast mutton in the UK for several hundred years
until after WWII. Normally it would involve a leg, but shoulder or loin would do equally
Mutton leg (or shoulder)
butter for rubbing the joint
ground black pepper
Lather the joint with the butter then sprinkle it well with black pepper, a little powdered
thyme, a few pinches of mace and fine oatmeal - do not use salt. Cover the joint in foil and
cook very slowly, Gas mark 2/300F/150C (until tender and cooked through, approximately
2½ to 3 hours). During the cooking, at least twice, remove the foil and baste the joint well,
being careful to re-seal with the foil each time. When cooked, remove the joint from the
oven, loosen the foil and let the meat rest for half an hour. For a delicious gravy, use the
meat juices with a spoonful of capers added. The meat is equally good cut cold.
Traditional Recipes from around the world
One of the greatest contributions to South African food culture has been made by the Malay community. In the 17th century, these were slaves transported by the Dutch East India Company from the Dutch colonies in Indonesia, particularly Java. Later these were joined by dissidents to Dutch rule who were exiled to South Africa by the Dutch authorities in the Far East. They brought with them their knowledge and a combination of sweet and sour as well as spicy sauces, curries, chutneys, and blatjangs (pronounced blud-youngs), which is a condiment traditionally served with bobotie and other meat dishes. It is a cross between fruit chutney and jam. These spice combinations and flavours create very tasty yet mild dishes that have become part of South African cookery, and which work well with mutton.
Bobotie (pronounced Bo-boor-tee)
The author’s student daughter and her friends are particularly fond of this traditional recipe which has been a family favourite for many years.
500g minced mutton
1 slice white bread
200 ml milk
1 medium onion
60 gm seedless raisins
60 gm blanched almonds
2 tsp apricot jam
2 tsp fruit chutney
1 tsp curry powder
½ tsp turmeric
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp salt
2 tsp butter or oil
2 bay leaves
Soak the bread in half the milk, squeeze to remove the milk and mix the bread with the minced mutton. Mix all the other ingredients, except the butter/oil, eggs, milk and bay leaves. Melt the butter/oil in a frying pan and brown the meat mixture lightly. Turn out into a casserole. Beat the eggs and the rest of the milk together and pour over the meat. Garnish with the bay leaf. Bake in the oven at Gas mark 4/350F/180C until set, about 50 minutes.
Mutton with Coconut and Black Pepper
This recipe is not featured in Much Ado About Mutton
A favourite of mid-Wales's best cook, Lavinia Vaughan, this is a wonderfully tasty and aromatic dish.
0.7kg cubed mutton
400ml tin coconut milk
2 level tsp black peppercorns
2 level tbsp coriander seeds
4 tbsp oil
2 medium onions peeled and chopped
4 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
4 cms fresh ginger grated
400g can chopped tomato
1 tsp turmeric
Pinch chilli powder
Salt and freshly ground pepper
Toast the coriander seeds in a small pan until they are warm and fragrant. Grind finely. Repeat with the peppercorns this time grinding coarsely.
Put the oil in a casserole and heat. Put in the mutton and brown lightly on all sides. You may need to do this in batches. Remove the meat with a draining spoon. Add the garlic, onions and ginger to the pan. Reduce the heat and cook over a gentle heat uncovered for 15 - 20 minutes until the onions are translucent.
Add the tomatoes. Stir and leave to simmer until they have collapsed into the onion mixture.
Stir in the coriander seeds, peppercorns, turmeric, mutton and chilli powder.
Pour in the coconut milk.
Season with about a teaspoon salt and leave to simmer gently for about and 1½-2 hrs
Just before serving stir in chopped fresh coriander and check seasoning.
Serve with rice.