Following last week’s article about the best cuts of beef for a heart-warming stew, as promised, this week, we’ve come up with a guide to the best cuts of lamb to use in a delicious winter stew. These recommended cuts are ideal for slow cooking, so you can prepare you stew in the morning (or even the night before) and just leave in the slow cooker on low all day, ready for a family meal in the evening.
Recommended Cuts of Lamb
The following guidelines are recommended by our qualified butchers for a flavoursome and tasty stew dish, served with the vegetables of your choice (along with pulses, herb, stock and seasoning of course).
- Scrag end: though this cut is tough with less meat but has bags of flavour; it can be slow cooked either on or off the bone (whichever method you prefer).
- Neck of lamb: this cut can be cut into 2.5cm slices, and is traditionally cooked on the bone in dishes such as Lancashire hot pot or, of course, a Welsh Cawl. Check out this cawl recipe
- Neck fillets: though ideal for all methods of fast cooking, neck fillets also produce beautifully tender meat when slow-cooked. This cut is perfect if you need to create your stew dish more quickly as it takes around 45 minutes to cook.
- Shoulder or leg of lamb: both of these cuts are perfect in a stew or casserole when diced. Meat from the shoulder needs to be trimmed of excess fat first; while meat from the leg gives neater, leaner pieces of meat than the shoulder. Both are meltingly tender with a fantastic flavour.
- Chump: this is solid, lean, well-flavoured cut of lamb that is also great for dicing and long, slow cooking.
- Breast: despite being quite a fatty cut, breast of lamb can still be slow-cooked very successfully, and becomes wonderfully tender; and you can skim off any excess fat before serving
Tips for Slow Cooking Your Lamb Stew
Our butchers recommend that you brown the lamb first, in batches if necessary. This will maintain a high heat in the pan and caramelise the juices, which will improve the colour and flavour of the meat.
Although lamb is a little more fatty than other meats, don’t trim all of it away before cooking. The fat contains a lot of the flavour and helps make the meat tender. The excess will conveniently rise to the surface of the cooking liquid and can be skimmed away.
Remember to only lightly season slow-cooked dishes at the beginning of cooking. This method encourages the reduction of the cooking liquid and concentrates the sauce, which can easily become too salty.
When simmering a lamb stew, do it over a low heat so that the liquid bubbles only very gently around the meat. This will prevent the excess fat from emulsifying with the sauce and making the finished dish greasy.
Keep an eye on slow-cooked lamb. Unless you want it so tender it falls apart, check it after about 45 minutes for tenderness, as it cooks much faster than other meats.
Hugh Phillips Gower Butcher
The lamb we sell at our Swansea Market shop or our online store, is locally sourced from the Gower and surrounding areas. The lambs are hand-picked by us from farms with whom we have long established relationships.
One of our best sellers, we offer a full range of lamb cuts which are ideal for stews, curries and, of course, roasting joints.
During the summer, we also sell Gower Saltmarsh lamb which has a distinctive, rich flavour due to the unique environment where these sheep graze.
So, why not pop into Swansea Market this week and see which cuts our butchers are recommending or, if the cold weather is putting you off going out, you can order your weekly meat supply from our online shop: www.bestlonlinebutcher.co.uk.