Mutton should be hung for some days before being used. The leg may be either boiled or roasted; the saddle always roasted; the shoulder boned, stuffed and roasted; the chops broiled, and the neck stewed. Except where it is stewed, mutton should be cooked rare. Mrs. Brugiere recommends pounding the leg of mutton before cooking it. The roasted leg or the saddle are the only forms of mutton permissible to serve at a ceremonious dinner. The strong taste of mutton is in the fat. Therefore trim off a part of the fat from the outside, and when baking it in the oven set the joint on a rack in the pan, so it will not cook in the fat.
Certain vegetables have by experience been found to go well with certain meats. Of these turnips have been established as the accompaniment of mutton. This has been amusingly emphasized by an anecdote told of Charles Lamb. On an occasion when riding in a stage coach, he was much annoyed by a Scotch farmer, who was a fellow passenger, asking him questions about the crops. "And pray, sir," asked the farmer, "how are turnips t' year?" "Why," stammered Lamb, "that will depend upon the boiled legs of mutton".
Another anecdote is given as a suggestion for an expedient in case the mutton is too underdone (boiled mutton should be red, but not black). An English nobleman, on being shown a Dutch picture representing a man in a passion with his wife because the mutton was underdone, exclaimed, "What a fool the fellow is not to see that he may have a capital broil".
With roasted mutton may be served baked turnips stuffed with seasoned bread-crumbs soaked in cream. It is a Russian dish. Bananas cut in two, rolled in egg and crumbs, and fried like croquettes, are also recommended for roast mutton. Mint sauce and green peas are usually served with spring lamb.
Time ten minutes per pound (rare); fifteen minutes per pound (moderately well done).
Cut the bone short, place in a hot oven for twenty minutes; then add one cupful of hot water; baste frequently. Allow ten minutes to the pound for cooking rare. When ready to serve conceal the bone with a frill of paper, or a few leaves of parsley.
Have the joints cracked entirely through, so there may be no trouble in carving. Remove the fat and kidney. Allow nine minutes to the pound; roast the same as the leg.
The saddle is the back of the animal. If split it would be called the loin, and when cut gives the chops. It does not furnish very much meat for a roast, so requires to be a large cut. It is esteemed for its handsome appearance, as well as for its flavor. Remove the skin from the top, also the fat and kidneys from the under side. The suet on the top can be lightly cut in points, and a little raised to make decoration. Roll the flaps under, and tie into a well rounded shape. If a large saddle is used, the tail is left on. It should be cooked in a hot oven, basted frequently, and cooked rare, allowing nine minutes to the pound. In carving cut slices the length of the saddle, and parallel to the back bone; then slip the knife under, and separate them from the rib bones. After the top is carved, the saddle is turned, and the tenderloin, which lies on the under side, is cut in the same way.