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History Cookbook: Lamb or Mutton Stew

This recipe is in categories Normans / Medieval, Main courses
About this recipe
Healthiness : (614 votes)
Difficulty:  3 out of 5 difficulty
Comments: This recipe involves chopping meat and vegetables, sometimes quite finely. Always use a knife with great care and ask for help if needed.
Preparation Time: 20 minutes chopping and peeling
Cooking Time: 55 minutes
Number of servings: 6-8
Serving suggestions: Serve with crusty bread and seasonal vegetables

Meat stews formed part of the diet of many households. This rich, meaty version reflects an upper class dish, both due to the quantity of meat and the inclusion of mace. Note the French title, reflecting the Norman influence over England. Poorer households would not use any imported spices and would bulk out a small amount of meat with plenty of vegetables and grains.

Some people suggest the dish's name comes from the word halicoter, to cut up. Some versions of this dish use a type of turnips called haricot. Lamb will not need parboiling but mutton would require parboiling to tenderise the meat.

Hyssop is of the same family as mint, so we have used mint as a substitute. We also used beef stock instead of beef bullion and added some leeks to our recipe. The original recipe was written down as follows:

'Hericot de Mouton

Cut it up into little pieces, then put it to parboil in a first water. Then fry it in fresh fat:fry it with onions minced small, and add beef boullion, add haricot and put with it maces, parsey, hyssop and sage:boil it together.'

  • 3lbs (1350g) lamb or mutton
  • 4 onions, minced
  • 2 leeks, chopped (optional)
  • 3 turnips, peeled and chopped
  • 1 tbsp butter or lard, for browning the meat
  • 1 pint (600ml) beef bullion (we used beef stock)
  • 1-2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp salt, to taste
  • 1/2 tsp chopped sage
  • 1/2 tsp chopped mint
  • 1/4 tsp ground mace
  • Sharp knife
  • Chopping board
  • Weighing scales
  • Peeler
  • Teaspoon
  • Tablespoon
  • Pan
  • Wooden spoon or spatula
  • Measuring jug
Making and cooking it
Always wash your hands before preparing food Always wash your hands before preparing food.

  1. Chop the lamb or mutton into small pieces. If using mutton, parboil to tenderise the meat, if using lamb, you will not need to do this
  2. Melt the fat in a pan 
  3. Add the meat and brown
  4. Add the onions and brown.
  5. Chop and add the turnips and leeks
  6. Add the beef bullion or beef stock
  7. Chop and add the parsley, mint and sage
  8. Add the mace
  9. Bring to the boil 
  10. simmer for 40-50 minutes until the meat is tender
  11. Serve hot
Lamb or Mutton Stew - print view  Lamb or Mutton Stew - print view

If you tried this recipe and liked it, tell us about it
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Name: Brotta Nxumalo 31st July 2016
Please may you send me mutton stew and curry recipes
Name: Cathy Bailey 28th March 2015
This dish is so easy to make but the end result is a most delicious taste revelation my family and friends love it .I always use mutton for this recipe and do cook it it for hours I do confess I make huge suet dumplings for the last 30 mins of cooking utterly delicious.
Its a great recipe thankyou.
Name: Andy 16th March 2015
I loved this dish it was so flavoursome, I will try it with lamb next time.
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