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TGIFood Recipe of the Year, 2021: Leg of mutton braised...



TGIFood Recipe of the Year, 2021: Leg of mutton braised with juniper, gin & lavender

Leg of mutton braised with gin, juniper and lavender. (Photo: Tony Jackman)

This week, before TGIFood goes into festive hibernation until January, we’re revisiting the most popular recipes of the year. In July I had a creative streak and decided to ring the changes with mutton. This richly flavourful dish was the result.

Lamb or mutton cooked slowly with juniper berries, lavender and gin? It sure is different and, oh my, it worked. Half a year later I can still remember the flavour.  In fact, I think I might make it again, right now.

This is my personal pick of all the recipes I have devised in 2021; the one I’m most proud of. If you love mutton or lamb, this is a fresh way of making it, with the potential to have your dinner table guests demanding the recipe. In which case, here it is…

This recipe accompanies this column first published in DM168


1 x small leg of mutton, about 1.2 kg (or use lamb)

3 garlic cloves, in slivers

10 juniper berries

4 lavender sprigs

2 onions, sliced

4 bay leaves

2 to 3 cups chicken stock

½ cup gin

4 Tbsp olive oil

250 g button mushrooms, halved or quartered depending on size

Salt and white pepper to taste


Preheat the oven to 180℃. Brown the leg on all sides in olive oil in a heavy cast-iron casserole. Remove the leg and add the sliced onions and garlic and sauté until pale golden.

Return the leg to the pot and add the juniper berries, lavender and bay leaves.

Heat the chicken stock and add the gin to it. Pour this around the mutton leg. Season with salt and pepper.

Put the lid on and braise in the oven for two hours. Add the button mushrooms and return to the oven for another 45 minutes to an hour.

Remove the leg, mushrooms and onions to another container, using a slotted spoon. Skim off any fat on the surface of the braising stock, and reduce the stock down to a good gravy-like consistency.

Serve garnished with fresh lavender sprigs. DM/TGIFood 

To enquire about Tony Jackman’s book, foodSTUFF (Human & Rousseau) please email him at [email protected] 

SUBSCRIBE: Our Thank God It’s Food newsletter is sent to subscribers every Friday at 6pm, and published on the TGIFood platform on Daily Maverick. It’s all about great reads on the themes of food and life. Subscribe here.


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