Delicious traditional easter roast lamb suggestions & alternatives

Sam Papworth butcherWith families preparing for an Easter Sunday get-together it got us thinking whether a traditional easter roast lamb is still the No.1 choice, what other cuts are often overlooked and, if lambs’ not your thing, what you might try instead.

So we called on an expert – Sam Papworth of J & D Papworth butchers.  I’ve known him all my life having grown up in Norfolk almost next door to each other!

Here’s what Sam had to say…

Can you tell us a bit about J & D Papworth butchers?

My family started in the butchery business after my father was introduced to a local butcher who was hoping to retire, at Norwich Cattle Market in 1984, he owned a slaughterhouse and a shop in Fakenham.

At the time we were livestock and arable farmers (we still are!) producing beef, pork and lamb for the local Norwich Cattle Market. My father, being a farmer and a diversifier, wanted to start selling our own meats in our own shop.

I came on board in 1992, by which time we had expanded to a shop in Swaffham as well as moving the shop in Fakenham into a modern newly built walkway in Fakenham.  In 2001 we took over Pope’s in Sheringham and, in 2006/2007, we took over Palmers Butchers in North Walsham bringing us up to 4 shops!

Is an Easter lamb roast still a popular choice for an Easter Sunday?

Lamb is a traditional Easter meat, we always try to get some of the ewes lambing around Christmas so those lambs are fit for Easter.

New season lamb has a different flavour to an older carcase.  The meat is less mature and its seen as a delicacy to those in the know. It can be quite expensive but it’s something that people do try and seek out.

There isn’t many places that can actually produce a new season lamb in time for Easter like us, so its something to hunt down.

All our lamb comes from our farm at home. We run 800 yews so that would generally give us around 1600 lambs per year – that just about covers us.

Do you have any favourite cuts of lamb?

One of my favourite cuts is a very slow cooked shoulder of lamb which could then, in some respects, be called pulled lamb if you let it fall apart having roasted it on the bone very slowly.

We used a Shoulder of lamb, you’ve got to cut a bit of the fat away but it’s a superbly flavoursome joint of lamb and much cheaper than the leg.

(Here’s a slow cooked shoulder of lamb recipe that we found that sounds very much like what Sam describes!)

We popped it in the bottom of the Aga (the plate warming oven) on the Saturday night, left it in there for 16 hours, and ate it on the Sunday afternoon.

It was absolutely delicious!

What might a good alternative to lamb be for Easter Sunday?

We sell a lot of roasting joints for the Easter period.  You’ve got that 4-day period, Good Friday (which is traditionally a fish day) so our customers are often looking to buy a generous joint in order to maybe have some cold, or even hot on Sunday and cold on Monday.

We sell poultry as a popular alternative to lamb – turkey or larger chickens – But then our British public are addicted to the roast beef

We get through a lot of roasting joints of beef for that period!

And finally, Mint sauce or no Mint sauce?

I’m not a mint sauce fan myself but there are so many different options now in the sauce categories and some wonderful stuff being locally produced here in Norfolk.

If you visit one of the quality farmer’s markets such as Creake Abbey and have a little tour round there you would find a number of producers producing chilli jams, marmalades and condiments.

There is a number of local producers really going to town on chilli and sauce items.  They can be quite expensive, but trying to find something different that they might like to enjoy can be more than worth it. Its only a couple of quid for a jar after all!

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