This was born of seeing scrawny sheep pushing through the dry shrubs of a warm mountain scene. The smell of sun scorched herbs in the air and the twinkling Aegean in the distance.
Mutton w/ bitter herbs & honey
1 tbsp coriander seeds
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic cut horizontally through the middle
2 large onions, peeled, halved and very finely sliced
3 tbsp of dried sage
camomile from 6 teabags torn open or loose leaf equivalent
1 tbsp of dried rosemary
1 tbsp dried oregano
a few sprigs of fresh thyme
2 small fig leaves, dried or fresh, optional
3 large spilling tablespoons of dark runny honey
1 bottle of dry white wine such as an Albariño
a heavy grind of black pepper
juice of one unwaxed lemon
- Preheat the oven to 150°C Fan.
- In a suitably sized casserole that owns a lid, dry fry the spice seeds over a medium heat until their smell comes to the nose. Do not burn them!
- Add the olive oil and then taking care that it does not smoke, fry the two halves of garlic bulb flat side down until golden.
- Add the onions and cook on a low heat until they are nothing short of pathetically soft and turning gold.
- Turn off the heat.
- Scatter half the herbs over the bottom of the pan and then place the mutton on top. Pour in the wine and water.
- Add the other half of the herbs over the mutton.
- If using fig leaves they should be tucked in the sides between the mutton and the pan.
- Season the mutton with salt and the pepper.
- Trail the honey all over the top of the mutton and then pass over with a little more olive oil.
- Put the lid on and then bake in the oven for approximately 3 to 3.5 hours.
- Check the mutton halfway through the sauce should be getting thicker.
- After 3 hours turn the heat up to 180°C and remove the lid so that the mutton browns more and crisps.
- The meat is done when a knife slides in easily.
- Serve with the sauce, fried potatoes and maybe a Greek salad.