Slow-roast shoulder of organic mutton
Sheepdrove head butcher Nick Rapps:
"Organic meat is better for our health, our animals and the planet. That is why I am passionate about making organic meat as affordable as possible.
"My first piece of advice might sound strange coming from a butcher: Eat less meat. A few generations ago, a Sunday roast was a special event. Now meat is reared industrially, in factory conditions. It may be cheaper but the animals and our health are paying the price.
"So my next advice is: Eat better meat!"
"We have lots of tips to make organic meat affordable. Here are two more: shop in a butcher's that practices nose-to-tail butchery (as we do at Sheepdrove) and choose the cheaper cuts such as skirt, blade and scrag. They are more fatty but remember - if the animal is organic and thus grass-reared, this is 'good' unsaturated fat. It’s the good fat that gives the meat its great taste. The 'bad' saturated fat comes from feeding an animal too much cheap grain which produces meat with the wrong balance of fatty acids and other essential nutrients.
To save pennies, choose organic mutton over lamb. Mutton is a sheep over two-years-old, and needs longer to cook. But it also has more good fat so has a fuller flavour. Our award-winning sheep graze on pastures sown with herbs so the sheep can self-medicate. These wild herbs also give our meat its distinctive aroma and taste.
Choose shoulder of mutton (instead a leg) for the same reasons as you are choosing mutton: cheaper, fattier and more flavour."
- A shoulder cut costs about £12 and will feed six – about £2 a serving.
- Insert rosemary or garlic cloves in the meat with a sharp knife, season, slosh two glasses of wine over it as it sits on its roasting tin.
- Cover seasoned meat with foil and cook on a seriously low oven: heat the oven to 150 C / gas 2 and roast the foil-covered meat for 40 minutes per 450g.
- Remove the foil for the last half hour of cooking. Roast slices of seasonal squash with the meat, too, in the last hour of cooking.
Sheepdrove Organic Farm on the Berkshire Downs has two butcher’s shops, one in Bristol, the other in Maida Vale, London, and also an online shop. Sheepdrove was one of the first farms to sell its organic meat by mail order in the 1990s. Sheepdrove will be having special offers during Organic September!