The season is upon us and the colder weather is setting in. This can only mean one thing: Stews, slow cooking and hearty dishes of food. The Ginger Pig, infamous for their love of quality meat, have given us their top tips on what to buy this Autumn.
When the Autumn chills set in it’s time for slow cooking and belly-warming, flavourful dishes. The front end of the animal lends itself to this sort of cooking.
Meat taken from the fore end is not only the best value, it is also the sweetest tasting. 70% of the animal’s weight is held up by the front legs, increasing muscle bulk and adding great fat marbling.
With all its muscle structure and connective tissue, fore end meat needs to be cooked long and slow to break down the muscles, while the extra fat will add flavour and baste the meat to increase moisture, leaving it juicy and tender.
Slow roast shoulder of lamb
Lamb shoulder has the most flavour and is very succulent. Ideal for slow roasting and good value:
Serves 6, takes 4.5 hours
1 head of garlic
3kg shoulder of lamb or hogget
6 onions (peeled)
8 carrots (peeled)
freshly ground pepper
Serves 4, takes 2.5 hours
1tbsp olive oil
1 onion, peeled and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed, then peeled
175g (6oz) mushrooms, finely chopped
175g (6oz) spinach, finely chopped
140g (4oz) cheddar cheese
1 egg, beaten
Freshly ground black pepper
1breast of lamb, boned (keep the bones)
1 tbsp plain flour
1 tbsp redcurrant jelly
100ml red wine
The hardworking heft of muscle from the forequarter of the animal, which can be broken down into separate parts or roasted whole to great affect. Although leg (from the rear of the animal, which does less work than the front) is often favoured as the premium cut, it is shoulder the gives the most flavour and succulence, thanks to its marbling of fat and intramuscular tissue. Cooked slowly and allowed to tenderize over a number of hours, shoulder has every ounce of leg’s majesty at around half the price. While shoulder makes a fantastic roast, it’s ideal for dicing or mincing too. A whole shoulder will feed four to eight, depending on whether you have a small new season lamb around Easter or a large hogget in the new year.
With a whole or piece of lamb shoulder, you can’t really go wrong. Marinade or flavour if you wish, then give it 10 minutes at 200°C before adding a glass of wine and turning the oven down to 140°C for 3-5 hours.