There is a strange phenomenon here in Wales: sheep appear to be everywhere in the countryside, and lamb meat is readily available in the shops, but it’s mostly imported New Zealand lamb. I’m not entirely sure where most of the Welsh lamb goes, whether it’s off to the continent (mainland Europe) or all the way to New Zealand in massive agricultural irony, but I make a point of buying Welsh lamb whenever I buy lamb. It’s part of my philosophy on supporting small, local producers as well as minimizing food miles.
Having freed up some freezer space, we recently had the opportunity to pre-order half a lamb from one of the farmers at our local monthly market. Holding my breath at paying up time the next month, it turned out to cost LESS than last year’s (admittedly fancy breed) Thanksgiving turkey. The bundle included a whole leg (5 1/4 pounds), a boned and rolled shoulder (as per my order), half a dozen or so thick sliced chops, over a pound and a half of ground meat (mince) from the breast and a generous package of ‘bones’ with rather a good amount of meat left on them for stewing and making stock. Together, that’s a lot more portions than one turkey! I couldn’t resist roasting the leg the first time we had a few people around for Sunday dinner. There were still a lot of leftovers. Here’s what we ate for awhile (in between non-lamb meals):
Day one: Leg of lamb oven roasted with garlic and rosemary; roasted beetroot, squash and onion; boiled potatoes; gravy.
Day two: Glazed re-fried lamb with corn on the cob, steamed beans and beet tops (all veggies late offerings from the allotment).
Day three: Freshly roasted potatoes and beets (there weren’t any leftovers of these from day one) with lamb slices laid over the top for the last 15 minutes in the oven.
Day four: Lamb and butternut squash casserole, steamed beans (probably our last fresh ones of the year), apples baked with cinnamon candies.
Day five: Pasta with lamb and tomato sauce.
Plus: We also had sliced lamb sandwiches for lunch once or twice, and a couple of very nice soups using lamb stock and leftover gravy.
Now if I could just find a source for mutton…