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At Campbells new and exciting things are part and parcel of our daily routine. It’s a great place to work as I feel we are in the midst of food innovation. Coincidentally, it occurred to me that we should be sharing this experience with you - our customers. For me, every day is a school day at Campbells and it seemed logical to share that knowledge with our fellow food lovers.
Easter was a busy period at Campbells. We introduced two new packs for Easter on our website and were delighted with the response you gave us. This got me thinking into the reason behind the celebration of Easter and its traditional roots with Lamb. Traditionally Easter is a time of being thankful. Although it circulates around spiritual beliefs, it is always the time of year – besides Christmas – where you can guarantee the family will get together around the dinner table.
Normally, I would go to my local butcher to buy any meat items I need as part of my weekly shop. But since working with Campbells I have jumped ship, and now purchase all my meat from them. You may think I am biased to change my meat supplier but when I first tasted Campbells produce, it blew me away. Do not take my word for it – the proof of the pudding is in the taste – try some for yourself. This would be the first time I had purchased Lamb from Campbells butchery as historically, Easter Sunday is probably the only time of the year when I have Lamb. I bought Lamb Shoulder for the Sunday dinner with my family, which was boned and rolled then tossed into a covered baker on a bed of mixed vegetables and brushed with an olive oil, garlic and rosemary mix. I served it with a mint sauce, and the combination worked seamlessly with little preparation work involved.
Finding this product especially easy to work with, I decided to explore the range of Lamb products easily available at Campbells. And after speaking to our Meat Purchaser, I quickly came to identify the many reasons as to why our Lamb distinguishes us from many butchers and supermarkets. At Campbells, we purchase our Lamb from Scotbeef Limited, based in Inverurie. We make a conscious decision to buy Scotch Lamb. You can be sure that whenever you buy Scotch Lamb that it is quality in every bite. Scotch Lamb guarantees that it has been quality assured for its whole life in Scotland; the farm and processor has been independently audited to make sure they meet stringent requirements regarding animal welfare and natural production methods. This means that the Scotch Lamb you buy is fully traceable back to its farm of origin. Not only is the product Scotch, the Lamb are raised on a diet of grass and heather. This type of natural grazing means the animal will gain weight daily, and the meat to bone and fat ratio will be just right. The welfare standards practised in these farms are of a high level and you can be assured that we do not compromise on quality.
New Spring Lamb becomes available at the end of April. This fresh Lamb is smaller and sweeter, and carries much less fat. The prime cuts are used as Lamb chops, Lamb Steaks and Saddle of Lamb and the leg is removed in order to be minced. Fat is trimmed off the leg and is taken to our sausage department where it is used in products such as our Lamb and Mint Burgers. The same level of care is taken during production of mince in the Campbells Factory as is with all other cuts of meat, from Campbells Gold Fillet Steaks to our Feather Blade of Beef, and only the best choice cuts go into our mince. In spite of this, our Lamb Mince is a product you can work with when you are on a budget.
For a lot of people, Lamb carries with it the idea of greenery, such as peas, coriander and mint, and just the talk of it reminds me that I really enjoy a Lamb Rogan Josh. After cooking the Lamb here in our kitchen at Campbells, I learnt a lot about it. To incorporate seasonal trends, my love of curry and the upcoming barbeque season, I felt the best way to cook this product was to make mini Lamb Kebabs, a side of naan and some natural yoghurt. I immediately felt the quality of the mince in my hands as I rolled it in a herb and spice paste.
The product was insistently meaty and once cooked felt lean and tender on the taste buds. I used approximately 1.5Kg of minced Lamb which made 16-20 mini kebabs – it all depends on how big you want to make them.
Although I cooked these under a grill, it is a product that could easily be pierced with a few wooden skewers, brushed with some oil and fired over a barbeque. I also had access to the ‘speciality room’ in the Campbells Factory which is explicitly designed for product development thus making this task feel less like ‘work’…
I found this recipe extremely straight forward, and it is something that can be effortlessly whipped up on a beautiful spring evening to enjoy with your family in the garden. Cooking time is 20 minutes in the oven at 200◦c or 5 minutes each side under the grill.
For the mini kebabs I used the following ingredients to make the paste:
This type of ‘rub’ can be whizzed in a food processor, and all work well together to create an aromatic fragrance that will strengthen the flavour of the Lamb. When grilling the product with this type of rub, the spices emphasize the flavour of meat rather than masking it. These ingredients also help to crisp any fat on the Lamb, perfect for a roasting joint too.
All in all Campbells mince brings a lot of benefits to the dining table. At a competitive price, it is a product that can be used for a variety of meals without losing its quality.
So this spring, try some for yourself – Scotch Lamb Leg Mince – quality in every bite.
Enjoy - Megan 'Gourmet' Conway