Recipe: Elizabethan Mutton

Rating: 4.3 stars based on 1052 reviews

Taken from:

The Queen-like Closet



Scored with all manner of



Preserving, Candying and Cookery

by Hannah Woolley (1622-1675)

printed at the White Lion in Duck-Lane, near West-Smithfield, London in 1672


Original Recipe of 1672:

To boil a Neck of Mutton

Boil it in water and salt, then make sauce for it with Samphire and a little of the Broth, Verjuice, large Mace, Pepper and Onion, the yolks of hard Eggs minced, some sweet herbs and a little salt, let these boil together half an hour or more: Then beat it up with Butter and Limon; then dish your Meat upon Sippets, and pour it on.


My version:


  • 500g stewing lamb, diced and trimmed of skin but not suet
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice (not actually in this recipe but very popular in Elizabethan times)
  • 25g butter to fry
  • 25g of butter to thicken
  • 100g Samphire (or thinly sliced green beans or runner beans marinated in salt water)
  • 1 tablespoon cider vinegar (verjuice)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground mace
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 onion, finely sliced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 sprigs fresh flat-leaved parsley, finely chopped
  • 3 yolks of hard boiled eggs, loosely broken up
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • Salt to taste
  • Bread, to eat with (Sippet)


  • In a frying pan just large enough for the meat, brown the meat in the butter (with a few drops of olive oil added to stop the butter burning).
  • Add the allspice just before the end of frying and stir in to coat the meat and let the heat activate the spice.
  • Add water sparingly until the meat is just about covered and simmer very gently until the meat is almost cooked.
  • Now add the samphire (or drained green beans), the sliced onion, the herbs, the egg yolk, mace and pepper.
  • Add the vinegar and a little water to cover all the ingredients.
  • Simmer for further half-hour, or until the lamb is very tender.
  • Finally, stir in the juice of a lemon and 25g of butter to thicken the sauce.

To serve:

  • Serve in wide bowls with a good serving of bread.


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