This is part one of the Hogget Feast recipes series of blog posts. In this post, I cover the first two dishes of the night; the Rosemary and Garlic Cutlets and the Boned and Rolled Saddle.
These courses came first because they use the tenderest cuts which require the least cooking and the least added flavours. Much as with a wine tasting, I wanted to begin with the most delicate dishes and move to the most robust.
Rosemary & Garlic Hogget Cutlets
This course uses my all-purpose rosemary, garlic and olive oil marinade. Although minimalist and easy to do, it is great for complementing and bringing out the flavour in the meat. I use this marinade extensively for hogget and lamb and it works really well with aubergine as well.
I served these cutlets with chimichurri – a tangy green sauce that goes well with almost everything.
• 1-2 hogget cutlets per person
• 3 large sprigs of rosemary
• 3 cloves of garlic, peeled
• Generous pinch Maldon salt
• 75ml olive oil
Score the edge (the fat/skin side) of the cutlets with a sharp knife.
In a large pestle and mortar, crush the garlic, salt and the leaves off 2 of the rosemary sprigs with a drizzle of olive oil to make a paste. Add the rest of the olive oil and mix well to combine. Pour this marinade over the cutlets and leave for 30 mins.
Preheat a large, heavy based frying pan until very hot. Put the cutlets in the pan along with the third sprig of rosemary. Fry the cutlets on both sides until well browned, then prop them up on their edges to render the fat and make a nice charred pattern. Turn the pan down a little if it starts to smoke. Allow to rest in a warm place for 5 minutes and then serve.
Boned & Rolled Saddle of Hogget
I’ll be honest with you, between the somewhat fiddly butchery and the sous-vide cooking, this is one I suspect this is one my readers are not likely to cook, at least not the way I did it. I have included alternative instructions for oven roasting, and you can roast a saddle without taking the bones out (though it does make the carving a little more difficult).
For all the complexity though, I think this beautiful way to serve saddle. I kept the added flavours to a minimum because out of the seven courses, this is the one that I used to show off the essential flavour of the hogget.
I served the saddle with only a very simple salad – lambs lettuce with a dash of vinegar and rapeseed oil.
• 1 saddle of hogget
• 5-6 sprigs of mint
• Maldon salt
• Sunflower oil
Fillet the saddle by taking a sharp, small knife and making gentle cuts as close to the bone as possible. Keep working round slowly until the meat is entirely detached.
Score the skin side of the saddle all over in a diamond pattern. Sprinkle generously on both sides with salt, arrange the mint on top and leave overnight.
Preheat your oven to 130C or your sous vide machine to 55C.
Discard the mint. Roll the saddle up into cylinder (you may want to detach the fillet and turn it round, for the sake of evenness) and tie with 4 or 5 loops of butcher’s string. If cooking sous vide, vacpack the rolled saddle and cook in the waterbath at 55C for 1 hour 15mins. Unpack and pat dry with paper towels. In a very hot pan, fry the meat in sunflower oil until well browned on all sides. Carve and serve.
If roasting, preheat the oven to 130C. Fry the saddle in a pan as above, then transfer to the oven and roast until the internal temperature reaches 55C on an instant read thermometer (probably about 1hr, but keep checking).