Saturday, April 16, 2011

M is for Mutton

     I have been fascinated with mutton ever since reading a scene from The Hobbit, in which Bilbo Baggins overhears several trolls discussing eating mutton.  Then, to later have Miracle Max (you know which movie I'm talking about) describing an MLT-mutton, lettuce and tomato-sandwich, well, mutton became a very geeky thing for me.

courtesy of The White House Cookbook circa 1887.

No. 1. Leg, used for roasts and for boiling.
No. 2. Shoulder, used for baked dishes and roasts.
No. 3. Loin, best end used for roasts, chops.
No. 4. Loin, chump-end used for roasts and chops.
No. 5. Rack, or rib chops, used for French chops, rib chops, either for frying or broiling; also used for choice stews.
No. 6. Breast, used for roast, baked dishes, stews, chops.
No. 7. Neck or scrag-end, used for cutlets, stews and meat-pies.

NOTE.—A saddle of muton or double loin is two loins cut off before the carcass is split open down the back. French chops are a small rib chop, the end of the bone trimmed off and the meat and fat cut away from the thin end, leaving the round piece of meat attached to the larger end, which leaves the small rib-bone bare. Very tender and sweet.
Mutton is prime when cut from a carcass which has been fed out of doors, and allowed to run upon the hillside; they are best when about three years old. The fat will then be abundant, white and hard, the flesh juicy and firm, and of a clear red color.
For mutton roasts, choose the shoulder, the saddle, or the loin or haunch. The leg should be boiled. Almost any part will do for broth.
Lamb born in the middle of the winter, reared under shelter, and fed in a great measure upon milk, then killed in the spring, is considered a great delicacy, though lamb is good at a year old. Like all young animals, lamb ought to be thoroughly cooked, or it is most unwholesome.

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