John Buckwell's shop in Southsea, Hampshire is packed with added-value products as well as traditional cuts, and the window display is a truly impressive sight. The small shop, 'Buckwell's of Southsea', is always packed at weekends and John is well-known in the local area, often hosting butchery demonstrations for charity and taking school parties around the shop.
The saddle of lamb au poire (with pears) was devised by John when he was trying to come up with recipes for the Q Guild's Smithfield Awards in 2007. "You often see lamb with apricots," he says, "but I wanted to try something a bit different." The recipe went on to win the Overall Supreme Award for best product that year. John now makes the product during the winter months and says it sells well for dinner parties and around Christmas time. It retails for 18.98/kg.
John is enthusiastic about the benefits of the Q Guild and how it enables butchers to share knowledge and recipes. "It really is inspirational in that you can just go into other Q Guild shops and pick up ideas," he says. "That's what the Q Guild is all about. I've picked up lots of sausage recipes that way."
The saddle of lamb au poire proves a popular dish with John's customers. On the day of MTJ Extra's visit, a queue had already formed in the shop by the time John put the finished product down on the counter. A quick check-up the following day confirmed that the whole saddle sold out within a couple of hours.
To start, first make the sausage meat. John often makes it in bulk and freezes it in 1lb (450g) portions, which is the perfect amount for one saddle of lamb. The amounts used to make 10lb (4.5kg) of sausagemeat are 7.5lb (3.4kg) of minced lamb made from trim or the breast, a two-litre bottle of pear juice (John uses Granini, bought from Waitrose), a 250g packet of soft and juicy pears (John buys his from Julian Graves) and Glenco traditional sausage mix.
When he comes to using it, John binds the sausage meat together with some dried sage and onion stuffing mix, which will help absorb any excess liquid.
SADDLE OF LAMB
(for one saddle of lamb)
Saddle of lamb1
Sausage meat 450g
Packet of pears250g
Traditional sausage mix
John recommends the lamb is cooked at 180C for 25 minutes/lb, or if it is sliced, the product can be grilled or fried. It is excellent served with green beans and dauphinoise potatoes and the lamb au poivre produces a tasty fruity gravy as it cooks.
Pre-prepare the sausage meat (using pears and pear juice see main text). When ready for use, mix together the sausage meat with sage and onion stuffing mix to help absorb any excess liquid.
To start constructing the product, bone the saddle of lamb, removing the chine and ribs, and trim it of fat. Then trim the edges so the saddle is a neat rectangle. Remove the filet mignons and place in the gap left by the chine bone.
Open a packet of soft and juicy pears and place them along the centre of the saddle in a line, putting some pears aside for garnishing the final dish.
Then roll out 450g of the pre-prepared sausage meat into a thin, long shape, ensuring it is the same thickness all the way down. Place the sausage meat on to the line of pears.
Next, roll up the saddle and score the fat, then tie up the saddle with string. You may need skewers to hold the meat in place while you tie the string. Trim the edges for neatness.
Glaze the top of the meat with a pre-mix glaze. John uses sea salt and lampong pepper. Then place the remaining pears on top and secure with skewers of rosemary for presentation.
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