Alright, technically it’s lamb, but boiled lamb probably sounds even less appealing to you. But don’t be misled, there was a reason this dish was a Victorian classic.
You take a piece of lamb (or mutton) and essentially poach it slowly with herbs and vegetables and you end up with beautiful moist meat that falls away from the bone and a deep meaty broth that makes the perfect basis for soup.
I had bought a half shoulder of lamb and was planning to essentially roast it in some way in the slow cooker, but then I happened across this piece on rejuvenating boiled mutton by Bee Wilson and felt inspired to try it for myself instead.
I’ve been having terrible trouble finding a way to make chicken stock taste like anything on the fodmap diet, but recently cracked it by using celeriac instead of celery and am now into broths again in a big way.
Adding it along with carrot, parsnip, fresh thyme, bay leaves, green peppercorns and the tail end of a bottle of vermouth, I popped the well seasoned half shoulder into my 6.5 litre slow cooker and cooked it on high for 8-9 hours.
I lifted it out and rested it for 15 minutes and the meat just slipped off the bone, pulling apart beautifully. I let the broth cool and strained half of it off as stock for a gravy and blitzed the other half up as a soup out of the sheer novelty of being able to eat soup again for once.
Boiled Mutton (serves 3-4)
- half shoulder of lamb, well seasoned
- 1/4 celeriac, diced
- 2 carrots, diced
- 1 parsnip, diced
- 1 onion (if not on fodmap)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 big sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon green peppercorns
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 3 anchovies
- 100ml vermouth
- 1 litre cold water
There is barely any recipe here if you’re looking for something to make as a Sunday lunch that requires absolutely no effort or washing up but looks like you went out of your way to slave over a hot stove. I can’t decide if Mrs Beeton would approve of such inherent laziness or consider me a massive let down to womanhood…
Prep the veg and put it and the herbs on the bottom of the slow cooker crock and set the lamb on top of it. Add the vermouth and the cold water so the lamb is completely covered.
Cook on high for 8-9 hours. To make up for my laziness, I got my timings cock-eyed and ended up having to set my alarm for 6am to get up and rescue the lamb before it turned woolly in texture.
Rest for 15 minutes and then simply pull the meat away from the bone with a fork and serve with a quick relish made from capers, diced cucumber and fresh mint tossed in a little white wine vinegar, sugar and salt and left to sit for 30 minutes before being lightly squished with a potato masher.
I then served half the lamb with this and some roasted tomatoes and the other half as a shepherd’s pie using some of the lamb broth to make a gravy. All that and soup from one piece of meat? Not a bad night’s sleep really!
*This is another entry for the recent #livepeasant campaign for Simply Beef and Lamb, but all content is my own.