April 3, 2007
I’ve come to the conclusion the phrase ‘Mutton dressed as lamb’ is an insult to mutton. It’s great stuff, and shouldn’t feel shy about flaunting it’s mature charms. We’ve been eating it regularly since we found a supply at the local organic deli down the hill. We’ve ‘ad it roasted, stewed, and braised with tatties and onions in the (sadly neglected) classic, Lancashire hot pot.
On Sunday I picked up a copy of Lizzy David’s ‘Salt and Spices in the English Kitchen’ down Camden Market. It’s a typically eccentric collection of recipes, perhaps better at stirring the culinary imagination than providing practical instructions for real life meals.
There are two particularly bizarre recipes for ‘Mutton Hams’ – boned leg or shoulder of mutton cured in brine, smoked (for 10-15 days!), and boiled like hams. After boiling, these mutton hams were pressed for a few days, then sliced and served cold – and seem to have been a staple feature of the British Raj breakfast table.
Amalee‘s brave attempts at curing her own lambacon seem to have a precedent here. Are her pioneering experiments with salting lamb evidence of a culinary folk memory rising to the surface after decades of neglect, or just another sign that we’re all losing our collective gastromarbles?