Boiled Mutton or Hogget with Caper Sauce

My local butcher Michael Cuddigan explained to me the lamb is spring lamb from at Easter, then until Christmas it’s lamb, and strictly speaking it is hogget from Christmas until Easter. Mutton is virtually impossible to find nowadays, a nice leg of hogget cooked in the same way is very flavoursome – a wonderful dish for a cold winter’s evening. Ballymaloe House is one of the few places where hogget is on the menu – often braised with winter vegetables or wild garlic.

Serves 6-8

  • 1 x 62 lb (3kg) leg of mutton or hogget
  • salt
  • 3 halved onions
  • 4-5 carrots halved if large
  • 2 sticks of celery halved
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 1 bay leaf

Caper Sauce

  • 1 oz (30g) butter
  • 1 tablespoon plain white flour
  • 1 pint (600ml) milk
  • 2 tablespoons chopped capers
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley, optional

Ask your butcher to cut the leg at the shank end. Put the meat into a saucepan just large enough to fit it nicely. Cover with water, add a good sprinkle of salt and bring to the boil. Remove any scum that rises to the surface. Add the vegetables and bay leaves. Cover the pan and simmer very gently, depending on the weight of the meat* Meanwhile make the sauce, melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and cook for a minute or two. Gradually whisk in the milk, bring to the boil and simmer for 4 or 5 minutes. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper, put aside and just before serving add 3 pint (150ml/generous 2 cup) of degreased broth from the saucepan, bring back to the boil, add the roughly chopped capers and a tablespoon of chopped parsley if you like. Taste and correct the seasoning. Carve the meat into slices at the table and serve with the Caper Sauce.

*Weigh the meat and work out the cooking time: for every 1 lb (450g) allow 30 minutes, then add another 25 minutes to the time.

Download the Boiled Mutton or Hogget with Caper Sauce recipe as a PDF.

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