Rolled Loin of Mutton (Very Excellent)
INGREDIENTS. – About 6lbs of a loin of mutton, ½ teaspoonful of pepper, ¼ teaspoonful of pounded allspice, ¼ teaspoonful of mace, ¼ teaspoonful of nutmeg, 6 cloves, forcemeat, 1 glass of port wine, 2 tablespoonfuls of mushroom ketchup.
Mode. – Hang the mutton till tender, bone it, and sprinkle over it pepper, mace, cloves, allspice, and nutmeg in the above proportion, all of which must be pounded very fine. Let it remain for a day, then make a forcemeat, cover the meat with it, and roll and bind it up firmly. Half bake it in a slow oven, let it grow cold, take off the fat, and put the gravy into a stewpan; flour the meat, put it in the gravy, and stew it till perfectly tender. Now take out the meat, unbind it, add to the gravy wine and ketchup as above, give one boil, and pour over the meat. Serve with red-currant jelly; and, if obtainable, a few mushrooms stewed for a few minutes in the gravy, will be found a great improvement.
Time – 1½ hour to bake the meat, 1½ hour to stew gently.
Average cost, 4s. 9d. Sufficient for 5 or 6 persons.
Seasonable at any time.
Note. – This joint will be found very nice if rolled and stuffed, as here directed, and plainly roasted. It should be well basted, and served with a good gravy and currant jelly.
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861) (p181),
"The supper was an excellent one too...the tea service was extremely plain...but the bread and mutton chops, and the butter, and even the tea, were such as Mrs Powell's china was never privileged to bear."
Susan Warner's description of a Welsh farmhouse, about 1850,
“McNeill (1929) quotes a St Andrews professor describing the pies of his childhood which were made by the pie-wife: ‘Delightful as were her pigeon and apple pies, her chef-d’oeuvre…was a certain kind of mutton-pie. The mutton was minced to the smallest consistency, and was made up in standing crust, which was strong enough to contain the most delicious gravy… There were no lumps of fat or grease in them at all… They always arrived piping hot… It makes my mouth water still when I think of those pies.”
Traditional Foods of Britain: a regional inventory (2004) p212,
The red earth gathered from the screes of Helvellyn (and sometimes other red pigment earths) are mixed with melted mutton fat to make the red paint or raddle with which sheep are marked.
Marking with Raddle
"Nowadays the hirsels upon the mountains keep the natural grouping and it is sometimes possible to buy the genuine lamb and elderly mutton, but the bringing down of the castrated rams to the lower pastures and finishing them off for meat is much more general...
Even under this rearrangement the mountain breeds never put on fat like the Lowland mutton, and the spicy thyme and herb fodder of the hills makes them much the best mutton obtainable."
Food in England,
Dorothy Hartley (p136)
"If you wish mutton tendere it must be hung as long as it will keep; then a good eight-tooth (ie four-year old) mutton is as good eating as venison."
1858 (Hartley p142)
"Now the small Welsh mutton is acceptedly the best. The herds are free-ranging, and on most of the hills there is an abundance of wild thyme, the spicy herb which gives the Welsh mutton its characteristic flavour."
Food in England,
Dorothy Hartley (p139)
Some commercial firms pushed an oil-bound, lead-basis red paint upon hill shepherds, to use in place of the old mutton fat and earth raddle. As a result the chamois leather and skiver workers were worried by curious stains which appeared in the sides of their sheepskins - invisible till the skins had been far processed towards leather, when it showed up as a stain within the texture of the skin. The explanation was that the bought 'paint' had worked up the wool and, unlike the reabsorbed mutton fat and sedimentary colour, the paint stain had penetrated the skin and left a deposit therein.
Food in England,
Dorothy Hartley (p150)
"Sante Julyane, in til his tyme was ne glotonne Na wont was moch to ete motone."
Legends of the Saints (1375),
“Meat in mincemeat survived longest in the sheep-rearing district of Cumbria, where lamb or mutton was used in preference to beef. Recipes are quoted by the Women’s Institute (1937), Joan Poulson (1979), and Peter Brears (1991).”
Traditional Foods of Britain: a regional inventory (2004) p306,
MUCH ADO ABOUT MUTTON
A new book has been published telling for the first time the story of mutton.