Mendip White Lamb

This is an unusual way of cooking lamb. The recipe appears in a manuscript from a manor house between Cheddar and Priddy and dates from the early eighteenth century. It is recommended as a good dish for a dinner for visiting friends. In this kind of household a pie, a roast of pork, a dish of chickens and one of peas might be set on the table with the lamb. A second course of one or two lighter savoury dishes and some jellies and a syllabub would follow.

Ingredients

  • 4 lamb steaks, each ½ to ¾ inch (1 to 2 cm) thick, from the fillet end of the leg (these are not a usual cut today but the butcher may cut them if asked)
  • 2 strips lemon peel
  • ½ teaspoon garlic salt or 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • A bouquet garni, made of 2 sprigs rosemary, 3 or 4 of thyme and 3 or 4 of marjoram
  • ½ teaspoon mace
  • cups (3 dl) milk
  • 2 tablespoons (30 g) butter
  • ¼ cup (30 g) flour
  • cup (0.9 dl) double cream
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
  • Salt
  • ½ teaspoon white pepper

Method

Trim the lamb steaks of all skin and fat. Lay them overlapping in a casserole. Add the lemon peel, garlic salt or garlic, bouquet garni, mace, 1 teaspoon of salt (less if you are using garlic salt) and the white pepper. Add cup (1.5 dl) of cold water to the milk and pour over the lamb. Cook in the oven at 350°F (180°C, Gas Mark 4) for 1¼ hours.

Lift the steaks on to a flat dish and keep warm. Melt the butter in a saucepan, stir in the flour and slowly add the strained liquor in which the steaks cooked. Bring to the boil and stir in the cream. As soon as the sauce comes to the boil again, pour it over the lamb steaks, sprinkle with parsley and serve immediately.

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