Sunday, September 06, 2009

Mutton a'plenty.

Our rams came back from Lisbon locker a few days ago. Hard to believe we are stepping into our ninth year with Shetland sheep, and although we regularly dump culls/ overstock at Lowell auction, this is the first time we've had sheep brought in for processing.

I should have started doing this a long time ago, but....I always thought I hated lamb. I tried it once in a fancy restaurant, got sick halfway through the meal. I thought I was going to puke, no kidding. It was horrible! In retrospect, it was probably overcooked. Who knows what breed it was or how it was fed.

Then, I had homemade "shepherds pie" at Chris Greene's place one day. Crispy pie crust, brown gravy, peas, carrots, add a katmoget ram lamb named Osbert, and Chris knocked my socks off and sold me on Shetland meat. Mmmmmm! I had two helpings.

After Tom and Al dropped off the rams, I talked to the one of the employees on the phone to get advice on how to have them processed. She said they don't do anything fancy, but here is what most people have done.
I know this is probably "old hat" to most of you who have done this a million time over, here I'll share it here just in case someone out there might be in a similar position.

Loin: Chops, specify inches. I chose 1".
Shoulder: Steaks, or roast. specify inches for the steaks. I chose steaks, I eat store-bought shoulder pretty regularly so have an idea what to do with that, at least.
Leg 'O Lamb: You can get roasts, specify full or half. I chose halves, I figured they'd be easier to cook. OR you can get lamb steaks.
Did I want the shanks? Yes or no. I decided to take them.
Ribs? Yes.
You can get the rest ground, or as stew meat. I wanted both. Specify how many pounds in each package. I asked for 1 lb packages.

They included extras, such as liver, tongue, and hearts. I intend on using all of it. Hard to scale the top photo, but there is a lot of meat there! The mutton filled the chest freezer, and overflowed into the smaller refrigerator freezer. I'll have enough to share with family and friends, and last myself a long long time.
Now is the time to share that I'm a terrible cook. I can do very simple recipes with mixed results, the less ingredients the better. I cook for myself, but I never cook for people other than my husband, and even he turns his nose up at most of my efforts.
A friend recommended the book "Spices for Dummies".
If anyone can recommend good websites for recipes for lamb or mutton, it would be greatly appreciated! The easier the recipe, the better.


Rayna said...

Looks yummy! I can't wait to butcher...I drool every time I look at the ram lambs :D lol. I had lamb burger at G's ( and it was yearling ram lambs) and it was to DIE for! I'm hooked as well :)

Rayna said...

Oh, and I'm not a real fabulous cook either...As long as it's simple...I get distracted too

Theresa said...

Chops & steaks - grill, outside or inside, and marinade with teriyaki, Kroger Steak seasoning, any other marinade. Or just grill plain with salt and pepper.

Roasts - put them in the crock with any number of marinades, red wine, garlic, balsamic vinegar, dijon mustard, or any combo.

Shanks - braise, cook in lemon juice and garlic

Burger - use like hamburger

Stew - braise, with some onion, garlic, and beef seasoning. Make a gravy and put over rice or noodles.

Key - don't over cook Shetland as it is leaner than grain fed beef.

Theresa - who LOVES Shetland and Shetland cross lamb. Nothing better than a meal of your own lamb with vegetables from your garden and fresh ground whole wheat homemade bread!

Laura said...

If the meat is strong because it is ram mutton then try trimming the fat off. Someone sold me that works. We cook lamb stew meat and ground lamb like one would cook beef. We also cook legs in the slow cooker and oven.

Juliann said...

Thanks T. & Laura, that will get me off to a good start. :)

Terri D. said...

We just had lamb-ka-bobs on the grill this past weekend. It was a new meat to most of our guests. I sent home two different packages of lamb with everyone because they all loved it! My marinade for the grill consists of: a bottle of raspberry wine vineagrette salad dressing mixed with red wine vinegar, worchestershire sauce, chopped garlic, and cracked pepper. Dump it in with the well trimmed meat. I always have extra marinade that I freeze and use next time. I also take the time to trim off any "white stuff." To me, it tastes like lanolin. My butcher does a great job with it, but I trim even more. The meat is so mild! I have found that any pork recipe in the crock pot has worked so far also.

stephen rouse said...

you're braver than I am. LOL. I still have a little problem eating my own shetlands. Have done it...just not crazy about it. While the meat is's just not my favorite.