Slow-cooked stuffed breast of mutton with wild garlic and fennel

Slow-cooked stuffed breast of mutton with wild garlic and fennel

By
From
Mark Hix On Baking
Serves
4
Photographer
Jason Lowe

Breast of mutton is one of the most under-used cuts of meat. Its fattiness puts people off, but stuffed and slowly cooked it makes for a tasty, cheap meal. The breast can be stuffed with any of the lesser cuts such as minced shin or neck, or with offal as I suggest here. Fennel may not seem like an obvious partner for lamb but its subtle, aniseed flavour works a treat.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
1 x 500g mutton or lamb breast, boned
1 fennel bulb, halved and finely sliced
1 onion, peeled, halved and finely sliced
3 tablespoons fresh white breadcrumbs
3-4 tablespoons water
2 handfuls wild garlic leaves, washed and dried

For the stuffing

Quantity Ingredient
1 small onion, peeled, halved and finely chopped
a good knob butter
a handful wild garlic leaves, washed and dried
salt
freshly ground black pepper
200g coarse mutton mince
or 200g coarse lamb mince
or equivalent amount lamb mince, mixed with sweetbreads, liver, heart and kidneys, minced
or 200g sweetbreads, liver, heart and kidneys, minced

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C. To make the stuffing, gently cook the onion in the butter for a couple of minutes until soft. Transfer to a bowl and leave to cool a little. Roughly chop the wild garlic and add to the bowl with the mince and offal, if using. Season and mix together well.
  2. Lay the mutton breast skin-side down on a work surface or board and spoon the stuffing down the centre. Roll up tightly and tie with string at 2–3 cm intervals. Season.
  3. Heat a roasting tray in the oven for 10 minutes. Remove the hot tray from the oven, add the mutton and roast for 25–30 minutes, turning every so often. Lower the setting to 160°C. Remove the mutton from the tray and scatter the sliced fennel and onion down its centre, repositioning the mutton on top. Return to the oven to cook for a further 1 ½–2 hours, basting every so often. If the onion and fennel slices look as if they are browning too much, cover the mutton with foil. Once cooked, remove the mutton, cover in foil and set aside for about 10 minutes to rest.
  4. While the meat is resting, transfer the roasted fennel and onion to a saucepan with the cooking juices and water and leave to simmer for 3–4 minutes. Chop the wild garlic and add to the sauce. Transfer half the sauce to a food processor and coarsely blend, before returning to the pan and leaving to simmer for a further 2–3 minutes. To serve, remove the string from the mutton and slice into 1–2 cm slices. Arrange on plates and pour over the sauce to finish.
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