Following various food scandals in the last few years, most notoriously ‘horse meat’ pies, more than ever we want to know where our meat is coming from, which is why more and more of us are choosing to visit our local butcher.

We are lucky to have some really great suppliers of local meat in the Cairngorms National Park including Mackinnons of Speyside in Aviemore, Rothiemurchus Farm Shop and H.M. Sheridan in Ballater – who are famously holders of the Royal Warrants of Her Majesty The Queen and His Royal Highness The Prince of Wales, Duke of Rothesay.

HM Sheridan Butchers
HM Sheridan Butchers

With the Queen due shortly for her annual holiday at Balmoral Castle, H.M Sheridan’s will no doubt be kept busy. Probably the best-known butcher on Royal Deeside, the shop is a proud stockist of really good quality locally reared beef, lamb and pork as well as local estate venison. They make much of their range on the premises, including haggis, black pudding, mealie puddings, around 20 different varieties of sausage and delicious, freshly baked pies.

Setting it apart from your typical supermarket, at H M Sheridan the beef is purchased from local farms and matured for twenty one days. Lamb is local black face, heather fed for a unique, rich taste. Pork is sourced from Aberdeenshire and reared outdoors, giving a fuller flavour. The venison is purchased from local estates, and because it is wild there is a very distinctive flavour.

If you’re visiting the area, stop by the shop which is well stocked and has a loyal customer following, or find out more about their produce at http://www.hmsheridan.co.uk/ Treat yourself to a shoulder of lamb and give this recipe a try, there are more recipes on their website. Hungry anyone?

Roast shoulder of lamb with apricot, cranberry and rosemary stuffing and gravy

Serves 6
Preparation: 30 minutes
Cooking time: 1 to 2 hours

Ingredients

1.75kg shoulder of lamb boned
2 long rosemary stalks
olive oil
salt and pepper

For the stuffing

100g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped fresh rosemary
10 dried, ready to eat apricots quartered
100g dried cranberries
8 finely chopped spring onion
1 beaten egg

For the gravy

700ml lamb stock or water
2 large glasses white wine
2 tbsp cranberry sauce
1 heaped tbsp cornflour mixed with 1 tbsp water

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.

Mix together all of the stuffing ingredients and season well with salt and pepper.

Lay the lamb on a board, boned side up, and spread over the stuffing.  Roll up and tie in three or four places with string to hold the shape while cooking.  For additional flavour and the secure the meat, skewer a couple of rosemary stalks through as well if you wish.

Place in a roasting tin, rub some oil over the lamb and tray, then season well with salt and pepper.  Pour 150ml of the lamb stock or water for the gravy into the base of the tray.  Cook in the oven for 20 minutes before reducing the temperature to 180C/350F/gas 4 and cooking for a further 1 hour 20 minutes, basting occasionally with any juices.  Once the meat is cooked, remove it from the tray and sit it on a plate in a warm place to rest.

To make the gravy, drain any excess fat from the tray and put the tray over a medium heat.  Pour in the remaining lamb stock, the white wine and cranberry sauce and boil for 3-4minutes.  Stir in the cornflour and cook until thickened.  If you prefer a thicker gravy, add a further tbsp of cornflour.  Season with salt and pepper and pour into a jug.

Serve with mint sauce and vegetables of your choice.

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