Cooking · Food & Drink · Lamb · Norfolk

British lamb…

Growing up, lamb was one of my favourite meats and my Mum’s lamb parcels were top of my list.

Recently though lamb has been more scarce on the menu.

We occasionally have a rack of lamb on a Sunday, lamb kebabs on the barbecue in the summer and once a year we maybe have a lamb tagine.

With recent reports of sliding British lamb sales – particularly in younger generations, I had a think about why I don’t use it more often – why don’t I make use of the beautiful British lamb that our farmers so lovingly produce?

The main reason we have it so rarely is that we have our own (constant) supply of beef, so that is always an easy option to go for when thinking about what to cook for supper. Also, lamb can be quite fatty so maybe my choices are partly diet related.

What baffles me about these reports is that export sales of British lamb are on the increase, yet at home it’s declining, meaning much of our lamb is heading overseas.

With British sales falling, many farmers are sadly selling off their flocks too.

Many outlets in Britain stock lamb throughout the year from Spain, New Zealand, Argentina, Australia and Ireland, which, to me, seems ridiculous – as sales of British lamb decline, many are happy to buy imported meat.

While it is positive that imports are up, it’s sad to see British sales down.

After reading about this I vowed to buy lamb more often – and to try different cuts. It’s all too easy to get stuck in a culinary rut and not try new dishes with varying cuts of meat, fish or interesting vegetables.

At about the same time as I vowed to do this, a nearby farmer was in need of some hay for his sheep, who at the time, were lambing. In exchange for hay he provided us with a whole lamb freshly cut into joints which now sits in our freezer.

It was all meant to be.

Normally, any lamb I do buy is from our local butcher who is always able to tell me which local farm it has come from – and it is consistently tasty.

The lamb we received from the farmer however, was a cut above the rest. The lamb was exceptionally fresh, tender, and flavoursome – you could tell it had had a life outside.

So far we’ve enjoyed a succulent rack of lamb with a salsa verde and I’ll soon be trying recipes with leg of lamb, shoulder and loin chops.

It’s made me re-evaluate what I buy. I try to be as seasonal as I can, supporting local producers, but there is so much more I can do and I’ll definitely be buying more British lamb in the future – all recipe recommendations gratefully received.

So, what’s to lose, why not give British lamb a more permanent home on your menu!


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