The difference between lamb and mutton is age, and consequently size, lamb generally is under a year old, mutton aged anywhere between 1 and 3 years. Mutton cuts give a higher yield of meat and are more flavoursome allowing them to carry bolder flavours and more spice. Best cooked long and slow, mutton suits braises, casseroles and curries.
- 1 tablespoon cumin seeds, toasted
- 1 tablespoon coriander seeds, toasted
- 250ml red wine vinegar
- 250ml extra virgin olive oil
- 8 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 2 ripe tomatoes, chopped
- 2 brown onions, thinly sliced
- Lime zest
Mutton and black beans
- 1 Banjo cut mutton shoulder (about 1.8-2kg)
- 60ml vegetable oil
- 600ml chicken broth
- 300ml dry white wine
- 3/4 cup dried black eye beans, soaked
- 2 fresh bay leaves
- 2 dried ancho chillies, stem and seeds removed, soaked until softened and chopped
- 2 chipotles in adobo sauce
- 1 stick cinnamon
- 2 teaspoons chilli powder
- Bulb garlic, halved
- Fresh corn tortillas, limes, diced red onions, goat’s curd and coriander
1. For the marinade
Lightly crush the cumin and coriander seeds using a mortar and pestle. Add to a bowl with the vinegar, oil, garlic, tomatoes, brown onions and lime zest.
2. For the mutton and black beans
Score the mutton on both sides. Put into a container and pour over the marinade, then massage into the whole surface of the meat, cover and refrigerate for 24 hours.
To cook the mutton, pre heat the oven to 170°C. Remove the mutton from the marinade, allowing any excess to drip off, reserve the remaining marinade. Heat a large heavy based casserole or Dutch oven over a medium high heat, add vegetable oil and mutton and brown on both sides, about 4 minutes a side. Add the reserved marinade, chicken broth, white wine, beans, bay leaves, chillies, cinnamon and chilli powder. Nestle in the two halves of the garlic bulb. Cover tightly and braise in the oven for 3 hours until pull apart tender.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly. Skim off fat and set aside, then remove the mutton from the sauce, let cool slightly until easy to handle. Once cooled, shred the mutton, discarding fat and bones. Transfer the mutton to a bowl and toss with a couple of spoons of the sauce.
3. For the tacos
Make the tacos by spreading a spoonful of goat’s curd across the centre of the tortilla, top with the shredded mutton and some of the beans from the sauce, fresh coriander and red onion. Serve with lime wedges.
Note: For a birria-inspired version, fry the tortillas until golden and crispy in the reserved lamb fat.