New season Dorset lamb

While lamb and Easter have become as inseparable as fish and chips, spring lamb – a surprisingly delicate meat – is easily (and often) abused with powerful, overwhelming flavours. It’s also, with such an early Easter this year, going to be in relatively limited supply; here’s how you go about reserving some and how to make the most it.

 

The only breed that will produce lamb naturally in time for spring meat is the woolly Dorset (above). Our ewes lamb in early December, and so new season lamb feeds almost exclusively on mother’s milk, as there are slim pickings on the ground during winter time. As a result it doesn’t develop the huge, bold flavours you get with the late summer animals and winter hogget, but instead has a beautifully soft and delicate texture and flavour, which is one of the finest treats of spring.

Where you might otherwise cook lamb with rosemary, garlic, anchovies, capers and peppers, exercise restraint with spring meat and reach for what is in season at this time of year – wild garlic, kale, leeks, spring onions, purple sprouting broccoli and spinach. We’re a little bit early for English asparagus and Jersey Royals just yet, but when you spy some, they’re a perfect match. If you’re looking for something to fill your glass, a good quality white Rioja or a light red such as a gamay would do the trick.

Legs should be served a little pink, while shoulders still need long and slow cooking in order to tenderise. Both benefit from a longish rest, so wrap them in foil and throw over a bath towel (top tip!) to keep the heat in while side dishes are finished and glasses topped up.

Pre-ordering
Due to the popularity of legs of lamb, you might want to order one in advance. You can place an order by visiting your nearest Ginger Pig shop, or call the farm on 01751 460091, Monday 25th – Thursday 28th March, 9am – 5pm and speak to a member of the head office team. All other cuts should be available, though you can pre-order if there’s a something you particularly want to guarantee. If you can, please try not to call your shop to order, as they don’t have the facilities to take an order over the phone.

Easter opening hours
Our shops are open as usual, except on Easter Sunday and Bank Holiday Monday, when they are all closed (and we’ll be having a nice rest!).