I can still remember my last trip to the English countryside. Whenever I reminisce about that special trip, I can never forget the zesty yet chilly air of the English countryside—the gray nimbus clouds hovering in the sky, the oscillating whooshing of the Atlantic wind, the silent thrashing of grass blades dancing, and the scattered bleating of what seemed to be a heard of sheep and lamb.
It was such a peaceful sight up until we were called by our travel guides to settle at the cottage we were to eat our supper for that day.
Our hosts were very accommodating towards us, they served us classic ale along with a rack of roasted lamb.
But when I was about to dig my teeth onto the delectable roasted lamb, the travel guides signaled our attention to a cup of what seemed to be green jelly. They suggested that we should eat our roasted lamb along with the green jelly.
Being the adventurous (and curious) people we are, my companions and I welcomely added jelly to the rack of roasted lamb—and it was divinely delicious!
We were caught off guard by how the two dishes perfectly complemented each other. The savory and earthy rack of lamb went well with the mint-flavored jelly they just served us.
It might have been written on our faces that we were wonderstruck by the culinary epiphany that just dawned on us, so our travel guides cut straight to the chase to inform us about what we had just eaten: roasted rack of lamb and mint jelly—a perfect combination of dishes beloved in the English and Irish countryside.
What Is Mint Jelly?
Now you might be wondering what is mint jelly and why it is always partnered with lamb (trust me, we’ll get there later in this article), but mint jelly—which can also come in the form of mint sauce—is a green jelly (or sauce) made from finely chopped spearmint leaves that are soaked in a solution of vinegar, lime juice, and a little bit of sugar.
At its very basic, mint jelly is a condiment typically best served as an accompaniment with lamb dishes or, sometimes, mushy peas. As a condiment, it is also used as a condiment to eat toast or bread with.
Lastly, as I found out during my last trip, mint jelly is a favorite condiment among the English and Irish.
How to Make Mint Jelly?
If you ever find yourself extremely curious about how roasted lamb dishes taste with mint jelly, then you could always make your mint jelly at home.
First, here are the ingredients:
- 2 cups fresh mint, firmly packed
- 2 cups water
- 3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 3 ounces liquid pectin
- 2 drops of green food coloring
Once you have procured all the ingredients, just prepare a food mixer, as well as a saucepan to cook your mint jelly on.
- The first step in cooking your homemade mint jelly is to blend the mint and water inside the food mixer until the contents are finely chopped.
- Once done, transfer the blended mixture to a saucepan and bring the liquid to a boil. Remove it from the heat once it starts to boil, and let it steep for about 45 minutes. Strain the mixture into a bowl and hold over the liquid. Discard the mint leaves.
- The next step is to return the strained liquid to the saucepan while adding lemon juice, vinegar, and sugar. Bring the new mixture to a boil and add the sugar-pectin mixture. Remove from heat afterward.
- Add in the green food coloring, and stir. Make sure that the mixture’s surface is skimmed.
- Transfer the contents to a large container, let cool, and chill in the fridge overnight.
Prepare your lamb cut for roasting; roast it; and serve with your homemade mint jelly!
Why Is Mint Jelly Served with Lamb?
To those who might not be from England or Ireland, picturing roasted lamb dishes partnered with mint jelly might be an uncommon and unfamiliar sight to some, but there are a lot of other Western dishes that pair these two and make it a staple during a holiday such as Easter.
But why pair roasted lamb dishes with mint jelly?
Well, scientists have found out the mystery behind this unorthodox yet appealing pairing—they are chemically related, that is their branch chain ketones are similar, making them share a “scientific connection.” Hence, this possibly explains the two dishes complementing each other.
In other words, it is because of this shared connection between lamb meat and mint jelly that makes them a perfect pairing once they brush our palates.
Some scientists posit that the diet of lambs goes well with the aroma of mint. Well, that would mean that the food that grows together, goes [well] together, right?
Apart from Lamb, What is Mint Jelly Use For?
If you are wondering what are the other applications for mint jelly, you could also use them as a condiment for grilled lamb (and the sandwiches you make from them the next day), toast or bread rolls, garnish for other meat dishes, cookies such as Linzer or Thumbprint, or you could add them to your mojitos, iced tea, and sparkling water.
Moreover, mint jelly can also be added to buttermilk biscuits and other crackers for some Southern flavor.
There are also some suggestions about mint jelly being added to yogurt parfaits and ice cream.
So that’s basically it about mint jelly! I really hope you would get to try the heavenly combo of mint jelly and roasted lamb—you will definitely not regret it!