Tattie Pot - a Shetland Lamb dish
by Elizabeth Atia -
It's that time of year where the days are quickly growing colder, windier and shorter. Warming, comfort food is desired. Potatoes and carrots are being harvested and this year's lambs are heading to the abattoir for slaughter.
We've just taken delivery of a lamb grown on the hillside near our house; our freezer is now stocked for the winter with as few food miles as possible. Before the rest of the lamb had even made it into the freezer the lamb chops were on a baking tray along with a selection of organic Transition Turriefield vegetables that had arrived in my veg box earlier on that afternoon.
Seasoned simply with a drizzle of olive oil, chopped rosemary, smoked Maldon sea salt and freshly ground black pepper this lamb dish went really, really well with the mixed kale and creamy mashed potatoes I've taken to making quite frequently of late. I cook my Shetland tatties (premiers are my favourite but maris pipers will do) with a clove of Turriefield garlic until tender, drain, return to the hob to let the steam evaporate and then mash with plenty of Shetland butter, grated Grana Padano cheese and a splash of Shetland Dairy Farm's full fat milk. Finely chopped kale (wilted in a dry pan) is then stirred through the potatoes before serving.
This local produce meal was a great opportunity to try the Muckle Flugga Piccalilli sitting on my pantry shelf.
Shetlandeli is a brand new business based here on the west side of Shetland. I will be writing a full feature on them later but I wanted to give them a quick mention now. They currently make three fantastic preserves: Muckle Flugga Piccalilli, Taing Onion Marmalade and Valhalla Ale Chutney, all made with as much local produce as they can obtain. I've tried the first two so far - the piccalilli with our lamb dinner above (and the rest of the jar with the leftovers the following day!) and a generous spoonful of the slow cooked onion marmalade on an Aberdeen Angus beef burger with thickly sliced Turriefield tomato, coleslaw made with Turriefield veg and a generous slice of emmenthal cheese. Oh my goodness gracious me - gorgeous! My only complaint - the jars aren't nearly big enough!
Follow Shetlandeli on Twitter @shetlandeli and Facebook to hear about stockists and updates. Their website and online shop should (fingers crossed) be live any day now.
Back to the lamb - I've been getting a lamb (or two) for the freezer every Autumn for the last decade, at least. Roast leg of lamb is a family favourite, often seasoned with Moroccan spices and chickpeas, but there are some bits I'm not 100% sure what I'm supposed to do with. The neck? This often gets made into soup or stew (there's a surprising amount of meat on a lamb neck!) and then there's the bits my neighbour, Alan Crowe, calls 'the flappy bits' aka lamb flank or breast.
This is the least desirable cut of lamb and as such it can be purchased quite inexpensively from the butchers. He gets his from the Scalloway Meat Company and while there he picks up some of their black pudding to make his family favourite dish: tattie pot.
Alan moved to Shetland from Whitehaven in 2000 and he grows a wide variety of fruit and vegetables in his west side garden from potatoes, carrots and onions to more exotic plums and cherries.
Tattie pot is a recipe he brought to Shetland with him and he makes it every Sunday with Shetland lamb, black pudding and his own home grown vegetables. It's a Cumberland version of the Lancashire hot pot and Alan says it's a great way to use the cheaper cuts of lamb.
I had the pleasure of accompanying Alan and his wife for Sunday lunch and sampling this recipe - I can vouch for it - it's absolutely delicious! Proper, hearty, warming comfort food you'll want seconds of - perfect for this time of year.
Alan puts his Tattiepot in the oven at 8:30 on a Sunday morning and leaves it to slow cook for at least four hours, serving it for Sunday lunch with some of his homemade bread.
Servings: 6 people
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
- Shetland lamb flank - 1 (chopped)
- Shetland tatties - (peeled and sliced into 1/4 inch slices)
- Carrots - (sliced)
- Onion - (chopped)
- Scalloway butchers black pudding - 1 (chopped)
- Heinz baked beans - 415 gram tin (optional but all Alan's family include this)
- Cayenne pepper - (to taste)
- Lamb stock - (or beef)
- Preheat oven to gas mark 4 (180 C/ 350 F) and butter a large casserole dish.
- Place a layer of sliced potatoes at the bottom of your casserole dish and sprinkle with cayenne pepper, if desired.
- Sprinkle over a layer of chopped onion followed by a layer of chopped lamb flank, chopped black pudding, baked beans and sliced carrots.
- Repeat with layers of tattie (cayenne), onion, lamb, black pudding, beans and carrots until you've filled the casserole dish, finishing with a layer of potatoes.
- Pour enough stock over the casserole to just cover, pop the lid on the casserole dish and bake in the oven for one hour, at least. Switch the heat down to gas mark 2 (150 C/ 300 F) if you want to leave it to slow cook for longer. Remove lid for the final half hour to crisp up the potatoes on the top.
- Serve with plenty of bread to mop up the juices.