What is Mutton?
Sheep farming experts generally agree that mutton refers to meat from sheep that are over two years old. Traditionalists argue that mutton is always the meat from a wether (a wether is a castrated male sheep; it is thought that castration improves the taste of some meats). A more contemporary view is that mutton comes from a breeding ewe that has reached the end of its productive life.
New guidelines drawn up by Mutton Renaissance aim to ensure that mutton is consistently of the quality expected by chefs and home-cooks. The standards specify that sheep must be over two years old, and that animals must have a forage-based diet (for example, grass, heather and root crops). Sheep meeting the Mutton Renaissance standard should have a given amount of fat cover, and be matured (for example by hanging) for at least two weeks. Mutton producers must be able to provide full traceability records showing where an animal is reared, its breed and age at slaughter.
Although mutton can be available all year, the best meat is produced from October to March. This is because the sheep have access to nutritious summer and autumn grass and heather, and are able to put on fat before being slaughtered. Towards the end of the mutton season, animals are fed on root crops and silage to ensure they reach the standards required by the Mutton Renaissance.
Mutton. Cheap and old-fashioned? Or bursting with delicious meaty flavour with a succulent rich texture? If you think it’s the former then you haven’t discovered Renaissance Mutton!
Info from Mutton Renaissance http://www.muttonrenaissance.org.uk
Calling all student chefs – Enter the Mutton Renaissance Challenge, Renaissance Mutton are looking for the next generation of talented young chefs to get creative and show the nation that Renaissance Mutton is an ideal ingredient for modern menus, whether served in a pub, or fine dining restaurant.
To enter, all you need to do is design a main course dish for four covers using Renaissance Mutton as the main course ingredient. Your dish should be accompanied by at least one carbohydrate based garnish and at least two vegetable based dishes.
With £1,000 worth of prizes (£500 for first prize, £300 for second prize and £200 for third prize), it’s definitely worthwhile entering! The closing date for entry is Tuesday 30 November 2010. Entry details here Mutton Renaissance Challenge
Mutton is available from Paganum Produce