I cooked a Lancashire hotpot over the weekend – recipe courtesy of Delia – using the recommended best end and middle neck of lamb; I thoroughly recommend it, the meat comes up beautifully sweet and tender.
It made me think when I saw Jay Rayner from The Observer‘s comments today about supermarkets not stocking more traditional cuts of meat that are largely forgotten today. It’s funny to think that a high-end supermarket like Waitrose expects to see demand for offal and cheaper cuts of meat, which were once more the cuts of the lower/working classes.
The best end and middle neck of lamb is another cut of meat that is infrequently stocked in supermarkets (used in traditional lancashire hotpot). I picked one up from S C Crosby in Smithfield (near work) for just £6.80 and it was plenty for feeding four people. I hadn’t tried using such a cut before, but the meat was absolutely delicious. In the butchers, it was hanging next to various cuts like shoulder (c£12) and leg (c£18), which were far more expensive. It made me think about how inflated some of the prices are.
It’s all down to demand. Just look at how oysters are seen as today’s delicacy, where they used to be a filler for beef pies! Maybe the trend will go away quickly and Waitrose will drop the cheeks and trotters, but who knows, maybe we’ll all be dashing out to get hold of some exclusive ‘not-just-offal, but M&S luxury-hand-selected-from-the-finest-offcuts offal’. Maybe it’ll drive down the cost of traditional cuts? Chance would be a fine thing.