Passionate Tesco butcher Alan tells us why he loves British autumn lamb so much.
Alan Jenkins is a counter butcher at Tesco Port Talbot East Bank.
‘As a Welshman, I can happily say there’s nothing better than a nice bit of Welsh lamb. My food heaven would be a leg or rack of lamb with new potatoes and peas. If I was feeling patriotic, I’d add leeks.
‘I’ve been a butcher for more than 40 years so have learnt a huge amount about meat. I started at a high-street butcher, and brought my skills with me when I began working for Tesco 15 years ago. I love a lamb chop and I’m not alone – it’s by far the most popular cut with my customers. Chops make easy weekday dinners. When it comes to other cuts, it varies depending on the season and the day of the week. At weekends, people want a leg or shoulder joint, which is best cooked simply,with herbs – and mint sauce, of course.
‘Now that the weather is getting colder, customers want cuts for hearty stews and soups – I recommend lamb neck to them because it becomes melt-in-your-mouth, buttery soft when slow cooked. It’s possible to buy it on the bone or, if customers like, I can fillet it and roll it up into a joint, perfect for a roast.
‘Some of my customers prefer spring lamb – it’s tender, mild and suits simple cooking. However, autumn lamb (available summer to December) has had more time to graze and develop a stronger taste. So it can take more adventurous, spicy flavours – now’s the best time for a spiced lamb tagine, for example. At this time of the year we sell 100 per cent British lamb – it’s really great to be able to support British farmers in that way.
‘As a young man I learnt how to cut meat for window displays in order to entice people into the shop. It’s something I still take pride in today; I want to make the counter look as appealing as possible and show off all our different cuts of meat.
‘I love preparing my counter and chatting with the customers. We’ll talk about anything, from what to cook for dinner that evening, to the rugby. Food is a great conversation starter – everyone has an opinion.’
ALAN'S GUIDE TO LAMB CUTS
Available as a joint or portions; slow-cooking transforms this tough cut into soft and tender meat.
A popular Sunday lunch choice, this is most often roasted and is great with garlic and herbs.
Taken from the middle- back, this cut is tender and cooks quickly – ideal for grilling or pan-frying.
Often cut into large steaks, rump has a meaty texture. Sear in a pan before cooking slowly in the oven.
Check out our other lamb recipes, including Alan's top recipe Roast leg of lamb with thyme and lemon.
As featured in Tesco Magazine September 2013.