In collaboration with Tasty, Easy Lamb.
As a foodie, I spend a lot of time browsing recipes online looking for new dishes and flavour combinations to try out. Earlier on this month saw the annual Rio Carnival in Brazil, and so my Facebook timeline was filled with all sorts of fabulous Brazillian recipes and photos (wouldn’t it be amazing to see that carnival in person one day?!).
Brazil’s national dish is feijoada, a black bean meat stew. Like any national dish, there are as many recipe variations as there are families who make it. The one thing that all the recipes have in common, though, are black beans and at least three kinds of meat – fresh, dried and salted and smoked. These are usually fresh pork or beef, and a jerked beef called carne seca. This is not to be mistaken for beef jerky, which is an entirely different meat product, but this salted, cured and dried beef reminded me of our own, more local, reestit mutton.
Reestit Mutton is a variation of the Scandinavian skerpikjøt, an air dried mutton, or vivda, Norse for ‘leg meat’. It is a traditional Shetland way of preserving mutton with salt for consumption during the winter months. The mutton is first salted in brine and was then traditionally hung in the rafters (reest) of houses, where the peat smoke with add flavour and help preserve the meat. It could very likely be called Shetland’s national dish, and this led me to think – could I recreate Brazil’s national stew with some local lamb and reestit mutton? Well worth experimenting, no?
For my recipe, I’ve used fresh cubed lamb shoulder, lamb ribs that my local butcher kindly cut down to size, shredded reestit mutton and some smoked pancetta. To save time I’ve used tinned black beans, but if you want a more traditional looking stew use dried beans, soak them overnight and then cook them in the stew itself.
My local Shetland butchers, Anderson Butchers in Brugarth, Whiteness, do mail order – they’ll ship reestit mutton to the mainland for you if you ring them and ask nicely. You could always substitute this dried, salted mutton with some dried pork or smoked sausages, depending on what you can find in your own local butchers. I’ve seen some recipes use chorizo, while others include pig’s trotters, ears and feet. Like I said, there are many variations – I suppose there’s no right or wrong way to do it – just throw in what you fancy!
The resulting slow cooked stew is rich and hearty, and not too spicy either. Serve with a side of white rice, sauteed greens and orange slices for a traditional meal, or, like I’ve done, with a side of mango salsa and an extra dash of chilli flakes. Oh, and don’t forget the Brazillian beer and the football match!
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