Braised Leg of Mutton (ie lamb since it is difficult to source Mutton)

Braised Leg of Mutton (ie lamb since it is difficult to source Mutton)

Instructions for Braised Leg of Mut..err…Lamb, are very easy. One of the reasons I chose this lovely recipe, the other is my deep fondness for lamb. Of all varieties.

Mrs. Beeton says:

Ingredients.–1 small leg of mutton, 4 carrots, 3 onions, 1 faggot of savoury herbs, a bunch of parsley, seasonings to taste of pepper and salt, a few slices of bacon, a few veal trimmings, 1/2 pint of gravy or water.
Mode.–Line the bottom of the braising pan with a few slices of bacon, put in the carrots, onions, herbs, parsley, and seasoning, and over these place the mutton. Cover the whole with a few more slices of bacon and veal trimmings, pour in the gravy or water, and stew gently for 4 hours. Strain the gravy, reduce it to a glaze over a sharp fire, glaze the mutton with it, and send it to the table, places on a dish of white haricort beans boiled tender, or garnished with glazed onions.

I did this in my usual unplanned way and ran into a a couple small roadblocks. I decided on Sunday morning to make this dish for Sunday dinner and then went out in search of the appropriate ingredients. So that left real mutton a non-choice. According to the internets, you can special order real mutton from some farm in Ellensburg. I made my trek to A&J Meats on Queen Anne and let them help me. Veal trimmings? Nope, but they had a pound of frozen, ground veal that they thought would add good flavor to the broth and was supposed to melt right into the liquid. Leg of lamb? Sure! Which side did I want, shank or leg? Looking at the whole leg (which I really wanted) I chose the shank side. I still regret not getting the whole leg, but it wouldn’t have fit into any pot I own.

I admit now to being at a real disadvantage to not reading more of BOHM before starting this recipe. Gravy in a braised dish? Faggot of herb? Only 1/2 cup of liquid for 4 pounds of meat? Huh?

So I kinda punted a little on this dish. Faggot of herb I assumed was some sort of bouquet garni so I went with my standard empty tea bag and herbs that go with red meat (thyme, rosemary, marjoram). I get those empty tea bags from Uwajimaya and they are great for loose leaf teas AND stocks and soups – amazing for infusing flavor with no flecks of herbs in soup.

As for the gravy, I used a reduced, un-thickened stock from a different beef braise. Still 1/2 a pint is only 1 cup, or if you use the British pint it is still only 10 ounces. Most braises have the meat immersed in liquid. So, I also added a cup of red wine and a cup of beef stock (still not very much liquid for that much food).

Another thing I have never done, line the pan with bacon. Crazy! So I did all that, covered the lamb with bacon and ground veal (which did NOT melt into the sauce as the man at A&J Meats said it would) and added vegetables, liquids, herbs, parsley and covered.

That is one seriously ugly dish

Alright, cook gently for 4 hours? I don’t cook next to a fire, so I used my usual braising temperature of 325 degrees. (Perfect temperature)

Still not very pretty.

After cooking, I took the lamb out, strained the sauce, de-greased, and reduced by more than half. Meanwhile I did a quick roast of the meat to get a nice carmelization and served with broccoli tossed in butter and leeks (not white haricot unfortunately, but butter and leeks cover a lot of mistakes).

Much prettier.

The meat was very tender, close to fork tender and the sauce was divine. It was a perfect Sunday evening meal. We both had seconds. I used the sauce and leftover meat the next day to make a quick soup (hi, lamb soup is so much more flavorful than beef soup). The fat didn’t render on either the lamb or the bacon so the sauce didn’t have that much grease to skim off. I think that kept the meat nice and tender throughout the cooking process. Although, I like when all the fat renders, biting into soft, fatty pieces isn’t that much fun. Perhaps a nice browning of the meat beforehand?

Covering the meat with bacon kept everything moist so perhaps I didn’t need to add the extra broth – I didn’t have the courage to follow the recipe to the letter in case it turned into dust. We really enjoyed it and it was a good early foray. I am considering making stock this next weekend but it depends on my ability to source beef shin and veal knuckle.


I have a penchant for starting tasks at the last minute. I also made this cake on Sunday, with just about as much forethought.

39 Responses to “Braised Leg of Mutton (ie lamb since it is difficult to source Mutton)”

  • This looks tasty as heck. I think all of my mutton adventures will be starring lamb as well.

  • I think we’re all making some adjustments as we go along, and what you came out with looks great!

  • What should not be amazing to me is how much beef shank and lamb shank look alike (but is). All the same weird muscle groups around a bone, just different sizes. I wonder if our shanks look sort of like that? Of course, we are upright, not too likely, I suppose.

    Thank you, ladies! It turned out well for slaphazard and not following rules. I am so excited to post the info for the stock I made this weekend, all rules followed and it turned out delicious! Now I need to find something to make WITH the stock.

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