Mutton’s a great meat for a meal’s centrepiece. You can substitute lamb here (or hogget – between lamb & mutton in age). Mutton is deeper in flavour though, and best with long slow roasting, and strong spicing.
The North African flourish comes from ras el hanout, a truly lovely spice blend that you can buy with or without rose petals.
Serves: 10 – 12
- 2.2kg (approx 5 lb) mutton shoulder blade (i.e., on the bone)
- 1 tablespoon juniper berries
- 1 tablespoon pink peppercorns (if using black peppercorns, just 1 tsp)
- 1 tsp sea salt flakes
- 250ml soured cream
- 2 tablespoons ras el hanout
- 3 bay leaves
- One large roasting tin
- A mortar & pestle (a rolling pin/meat mallet and a sealed plastic bag can substitute)
- One small mixing bowl
- Tin foil to fully cover tin (loosely)
- Start the night before serving by putting the meat in the roasting tin.
- Thoroughly crush the juniper berries, peppercorns, and salt, and stir in the bowl with the soured cream and ras el hanout. Pour the marinade over the meat, ensuring the marinade is spread all over the top and rubbed a bit into the sides.
- Cover the roasting tin with foil, crimping it tightly on all sides but leaving it loose over the top. Leave in the fridge to marinate overnight.
- Two hours before cooking, take the tin out of the fridge and turn the meat over. Scoop up all marinade from the bottom of the tin and spread/rub all over the meat again. Add the bay leaves atop the meat, rubbing them to coat with marinade. Re-cover the tin with the foil.
- Heat your oven to 150 C (135 C fan-assisted). Roast the meat for 4 hours, turning the tin and basting the meat with the run-off marinade and all juices every 1/2 hour. After 3 hours, remove the tin and turn the meat over; baste again, re-cover with the foil, and return to the oven.
Leaving the foil cover on for the entire roasting time ensures the mutton is falling-off-the-bone tender, and retains a deep, rose-pink colour.
Serve with the vegetables of your choice. A tray of carrots/parsnips with a bit of oil and maple syrup drizzled over can be added to the oven for the last 45 minutes of roasting time; or, steamed broccoli or green beans would be great with a light lemon sauce.
The main recipe picture shows steamed green beans, a spiced-up butternut squash & sweet potato puree with a creme fraiche garnish, and my braised red cabbage.