Wickcroft Farm Shop - Mutton & Rosemary
Wickcroft Farm Shop is situated near Reading. Fans of the BBC programme "The Apprentice" may have noticed them on the Farmers Market edition. (They have the donkeys. The other, space age location was Sheepdrove Farm.)
Wickcroft are semi organic and sell mainly local food and a interesting selection of sausages. I don''t know where they sourced this mutton from but judging from the taste it comes from a long lived sheep which lived a happy life munching downland grass.
Mutton has virtually disappeared from our shops but is now making something of a comeback, championed by HRH Prince Charles. Mutton is old sheep, generally older than 2 years. As it is older it has developed a stronger taste, darker meat and can be closer to game than spring lamb. It needs long slow cooking and has a high fat content (those long winters).
A mutton sausage should therefore have plenty of taste but could be excessively fatty. These certainly have the taste ( 75% meat combined with just the right hint of rosemary and spices) but manage to keep the fat to an acceptable level. They cost a very reasonable £6 per kilo.
The fat levels will be the key barrier to many people trying mutton sausages. We baked ours and found them tender and juicy. Yes, there is fat in the pan (but no more than supermarket sausages). Next time we will bake them in a trivet. There will be a next time, mutton sausages are few and far between - try these whilst you can!