Food & Recipes

Poached Leg of Mutton with Caper Sauce, and Colcannon

Poached Leg of Mutton

Serves 6/8



  • 1 leg of mutton - around 2 ½ kg
  • 300 ml of chicken stock (use low- salt bouillon if necessary), and water – enough to cover mutton in the pot
  • Bay leaves, onions, carrots and leek (2 of each should do)
  • (Vegetables are used for flavouring the stock- discard after cooking)


  • 10 large local potatoes (at the moment we are using Roosters at Farmgate – in our view the quality of potatoes are as important as meat)
  • 1 large head of Savoy cabbage

Caper Sauce

  • 50g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • Parsley and Capers to taste (we like lots)
  • Optional: A teaspoon of English mustard or a little anchovy is lovely



  1. Put all of the ingredients for the mutton into a large enough pot and bring to the boil, turn down the heat and simmer gently for 1 1/2 hours.
  2. While the mutton is cooking – you can peel the potatoes and prepare the cabbage (see below), and then get on with making the caper sauce which can be kept warm until serving.


  1. Shred the Savoy cabbage into large pieces and leave steeping in cold water until required.
  2. About half an hour before mutton is cooked put potatoes in to a steamer (it usually takes around 25/30 mins to cook the potatoes, depending on their size)
  3. Mash the potatoes in the cooking pot and add 100g of butter and 300ml (or enough as needed) of heated milk – and leave in the pot.
  4. Cook the cabbage for 3 minutes in the stock from the mutton (the cabbage can be added when you lift out the mutton).
  5. Add the cabbage to the potatoes and fold through. Keep warm.

Caper Sauce

  1. Melt the butter (over a medium heat), then add the flour (classic Roux base).
  2. Stirring continuously, add 300ml of heated milk, and 300ml of stock from the mutton pot.
  3. When bubbling, add in good quality roughly chopped capers and chopped parsley.
  4. Add in a drop of cream (mustard or anchovy if using), and season to taste.
  5. Remove from heat and keep warm until serving.

To Serve

Slice the mutton – and serve with colcannon and caper sauce.  Some fresh parsley looks lovely to finish.

Kay Harte, Farmgate Cafe, English Market