I saved the best for making sloe gin. But I still had lots over, so I decided to adapt the lamb recipe I had to use up some of those sloes. For me, the intensity and acidity of the sloes makes this wild food variant even better than the original.
This is a traditional British recipe for a classic sweet and sour lamb dish.
Lamb with Wild Plums RecipeIf you do not have sloes, then you can use any tart red plum. Damsons would be ideal.
1 roasting joint of lamb (from the loin or leg, preferably)
300ml dry white wine
6 large red plums (any kind)
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground mace
2 tbsp runny honey (to taste)
salt and freshly-ground black pepper, to taste
For this recipe the joint should not be too fatty. Otherwise, it should be well trimmed to remove any excess fat.
Melt some butter in a large frying pan. Add the lamb and fry to brown on all sides. Transfer the meat to a deep oven-proof casserole dish then add the wine, plums, garlic, onion and spices.
Secure the lid then transfer to an oven pre-heated to 180ºC. Roast for about 150 minutes, or until the meat is tender and cooked through. Remove the lamb and set aside to keep warm. Skim any fat from the surface of the pan juices then pass through a fine-meshed sieve and press down on the solids to extract as much juice as possible.
Turn the sauce into a pan and if it's too thick thin with a little wine, stock or water. Bring to a simmer, adjust the seasonings to taste then add wine to sweeten (do not make it too sweet, the sauce should be a little tart).
Slice the lamb, arrange on serving plates and pour over a little sauce. Serve accompanied by boiled potatoes, greens and the remaining sauce in a sauce boat.
For more recipes using sloes, see the Celtnet blackthorn and sloe information page.
Find more British recipes on the Recipes from the British Isles page of this blog.