We picked up the whole shoulder and the two front legs of an Ontario lamb from Medium Rare that they allowed to hang for over two weeks to dry age. Then the butcher cut it up into chunks and divided it into three bags, and vacuum-packed the two front shanks. Will freeze the shanks until we order a second front, and then I’ll slowly brasie the four shanks in some nice rich red wine, stock and herbs.
This Ontario lamb was one of the best lambs we ever had. In the past I have gone down to Kensington Market to that little butcher shop that hangs carcasses and parts in the window and purchased a half shoulder of so-called mutton. We have a hard time finding true mutton here in Toronto, and I was always unsure if that little butcher shop was actually selling mutton or a hogget.
Lamb is under one year of age, I believe a hogget is over a year and less than three years and mutton is over three years of age. Here is a link to add some more fire to this issue http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lamb_and... . I am unsure if that little butcher shop in Kensington Market actually sold mutton or an older lamb. Each time I purchased from there the meat was already cut up so I never saw the size of the carcass. Despite the age of the meat, it never tastes as good as the meat from Medium Rare. And I have purchased meat at different times of the year.
Regardless of the actually term for mutton, this Ontario ‘lamb’ we purchased from Medium Rare. I watched as the butcher brought out the whole carcass from the walk-in fridge, it was not a small baby lamb. And he proceeded to cut up our shoulder into bit size pieces.
This meat was one of the best we have ever had. It did not require to be dried off before I browned it in a hot pan; after all it hung for almost two weeks. After browning and deglazing I added the meat and fond to a slow cooker and braised the meat for almost four hours. The meat was so flavourful and very tender. So far we have made Moroccan Stew and Curry lamb; the last bag will be made in the Irish way, with onions, leeks, potatoes, homemade stock, Guinness, and even some carrots.
Where in Toronto or anywhere can I find a butcher who will take the time and money to dry age Ontario lamb that is over one year of age? The only way to better this is to find mutton and dry age it, and I would be more than happy to purchase the whole shoulder from mutton.
Medium Rare just gets better and better.
5241 Dundas St W, Toronto, ON M9B, CA