My regular Asian supermarket had a huge pile of chopped mutton shoulder, displayed in that haphazard way characteristic of those sort of places, so I took a kilo without really knowing what to do with it.
I vaguely remembered Gordon Ramsey banging on about mutton (underrated, hardly used, etc) and doing something North African with it, which is how I chanced on his spicy tagine recipe.
The meat was on the bone, cut into small serving chunks. A bit darker than normal lamb, and earthier and gamier, it cooks just like old lamb, which is obviously what it is. For about £4/kilo, it’s a bargain.
The tagine is based on a trio of onion, garlic and ginger, spiced with ras el-hanout and finished with honey and apricots. The ras el-hanout is the real engine room of this dish, providing much of its character and depth. Half an hour assembly and a couple of hours gentle bubbling resulted in a fragrant casserole of tender meat and spicy sauce. The on-the-bone nature of the meat helped the sauce a great deal. If anything, this was a little too spicy, so I’ll go easier on the seasoning next time, and increase the amount of lemon juice.
With some couscous, a brilliant meal and an easy recipe.