Mutton with prunes

My adventures cooking mutton continued this week as I made a lovely dish the Italians call spezzatino con prugne. Or at least that is what it’s called in The Silver Spoon where I discovered the recipe.

Regular readers of this blog will know I’ve been experimenting with mutton over the last few weeks and I’ve discovered it really is a splendid meat. I am now a firm champion of the Mutton Renaissance campaign. So far I’ve cooked Irish stew and mutton curry, both of which were quite delicious.

When I came across the mutton with prunes recipe it appealed to me straightaway. Mutton has a deep rich flavour that I felt would work with something sticky and fruity like prunes.

However while I was cooking it, I have to admit I did have second thoughts. The brown mess in the pan wasn’t looking as attractive as the photo in the book. But my doubts were unjustified. It might not be the prettiest dish in the world, but it sure is good to eat.

It’s another very simple recipe, calling for only a few ingredients. There’s something quite old fashioned about it; I can easily imagine my mother-in-law making it for a lunch gathering.

And as with all these mutton recipes, the meat could be replaced with lamb.

Mutton with Prunes

Serves 4

200g prunes, stoned
300ml dry white wine
600g diced mutton (remove as much fat as you can)
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove
50g butter
2 tbsp passata, maybe a little more
salt and pepper

Place the prunes in a bowl, cover with the wine and set to one side.

Put the mutton in a pan, add cold water to cover and bring to simmering point. Add the onion and garlic, cover and simmer over a medium heat (or in a warm oven) for about one hour. Season and then drain well, reserving the cooking liquid.

Melt the butter in another pan, add the passata and mutton, and cook over a high heat for a couple of minutes. Lower the heat, drain the prunes and add them to the pan.

Simmer for around 20 minutes, adding more cooking liquid if the meat starts drying out. I ended up adding most of the liquid, plus a little more passata.

Serve with rice or mashed potatoes and a green salad.

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