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One of our customers came to us last week with a special request for mutton. They’re running an Indian theme night and wanted to make it as authentic as possible – the chef is an accomplished (and acknowledged!) curry expert, and he says lamb just doesn’t behave in the same way. It has to be mutton!

Since we’ve a few ‘muttoners’ earmarked, we’re taking the opportunity to help fill a few customers’ freezers with the best meat for rich, hearty midwinter meals. Mutton’s a much maligned meat – everyone tends to regard it as a dreadful hangover from the fifties, and mentioned in the same breath as some of those rationing ‘horrors’ like Woolton Pie…but ‘modern’ mutton probably deserves a new name so that it’s not tarred with the same brush.

Mutton comes from sheep who are more than two years old. At Pancake Farm, all our sheep are pasture-fed, so during those two years (and more – many of our muttoners have been with us for a few more years) they’ve been eating a rich and varied diet; a diet that changes with the seasons as different plants and flora peak. Winter grazing is very different from summer grazing; not only is there less about, but the plants themselves are packed full of a different balance of nutrients and tastes. Winter-slaughtered meat tastes very different from summer-fed – it’s rich, multi-layered in flavour and completely delicious.

Many of today’s top chefs have cottoned onto the amazing flavour of well-cooked mutton and are changing its perception, slowly but surely. Adventurous ways of cooking it, too – it doesn’t have to be slow cooked, as many people think – the tenderness can be achieved through hanging (which we do for two weeks) just as you would expect from good beef. One of our favourite cuts of mutton is the rack – this can be cooked to perfection in less than an hour, still slightly pink, mouthwateringly tender and absolutely laden with flavour.

One of our neighbours remembers being served ‘quality’ (ie not the common-or-garden version!) mutton when they were young, during the 60s; they had a first joint from us last year and proclaimed it a matchless taste: “Just like I remember it – delicious!”

If we’ve convinced you to try some and become a modern convert to mutton, or if you’ve been seeking out a decent supplier of mutton, then a selection from our latest consignment could be heading your way! Our selection boxes at £20 are a good way to try out some chops, small joints and diced meat (ideal for those curries); larger selections are also available (or of course, whole carcasses for the adventurous!).

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