Hogget is the name, an ugly name I think, for a sheep that is older than a lamb, but not yet mutton. It’s also called two-tooth because the technical definition of when a lamb becomes a hogget is when it gets two teeth, which at about one year of age. Hogget is fuller flavoured than lamb, and not as fatty or lanoliny has mutton and is brilliant in dishes like this. I like to eat this a couple of days after it’s made to let the flavours settle.
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 kg hogget, cut into chunks and trimmed of fat
- 1 tbsp coriander seed
- 4–5 small dried chillies
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 piece cassia bark, or use a cinnamon quill
- 1 medium red onion, peeled and chopped
- 1 small bulb garlic, no need to peel
- 1 kg quince, cored and cut into wedges
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat the oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a high flame and fry the hogget to brown, probably in two batches. While it browns, grind the coriander and chilli with the salt in a mortar. You could use pre-ground spices, but they’re nowhere near as good. When the meat has browned, remove with a slotted spoon and keep to one side.
Drain off most of the fat, turn the heat right down, and then fry the onion with a pinch more salt, with the lid on, until it’s soft. Add the spices and fry, stirring constantly, over a low heat, for just a minute. Toss in the garlic and add the meat back to the pan with the quince.
Pour in enough water to come about 2 cm from the top of the meat and put the lid on. Bring to the boil and then cook, preferably in a low oven, for 2 hours or until tender. Remove the lid and cook another 20 or so minutes to let the sauce reduce a bit and the top of the meat brown. Skim the fat off and serve with rice and fresh wilted silverbeet.