Corned mutton with potatoes is a favorite breakfast dish I grew up eating. Mostly on the weekends because my mom would pair it with oil roti, sada, or bakes which took some time to make. Corned mutton is also served as an anytime meal when you just want something quick and don't feel like spending too much time in the kitchen. If we had this for dinner, it would be with white rice and hot pepper sauce. The way Guyanese prepare this dish is by first frying aromatics such as onion, garlic, and peppers until fragrant then sautéing it with the corned mutton. It all comes together in about 20 minutes and you can eat it with almost anything; from bread to noodles.
Other pairings for corned mutton:
I remember when we lived in upstate NY, my husband and I went to a wedding reception and headed back home around 4am. Our friends wanted to go to a diner before going home, but all I could think of was hot fried bakes with corned mutton. Why? Because this is the best hangover, drunken, I-partied-all-night comfort food! It's spicy, juicy, salty, and carb-y if you pair it with bake or roti. All the tastes and feels you'd want after a night out!
What is corned mutton and why is it pink?
Corned mutton is a canned meat delicacy. Mutton is the meat from an older sheep (lamb is from a sheep younger than 1 year old). It is fattier than lamb has a gamey taste to it and if you don't like the flavor of lamb overall, this might be too intense of a taste for you. If you'd like to learn more about the difference between lamb and mutton, read here. The canning process essentially starts by cooking the mutton first then placing in a brine to prevent spoilage. The sodium in the brine is what makes any corned meat have a very salty taste. The pink color also comes from the corning salt/brine solution and maintains that pink color even after being cooked, again. This whole process is the same for corned beef. You may have heard some West Indians call it bully beef (bouilli, French for "boil").
Here in Florida I've seen one can cost anywhere from $6.99-$8.99. It can be quite expensive for the amount of meat you get. People tend to add filler like potatoes or even a can of corn to make it turn "nuff."
To make a tasty corned mutton, all you need is a few simple ingredients. Onion, garlic, pepper, scallions, tomatoes, paprika, salt and black pepper. Tomatoes are optional, but we always add them for acid in the dish.
Aunty Debbie's Method: Steam then sauté
When you open a can of corned mutton you'll notice the solidified fat. My aunty Debbie actually steams out a lot of the fat from the mutton before sautéing. Read below to learn how she does it.
Aunty Deb cooks very healthy and she keeps a keen eye on the ingredients she uses, even for Caribbean dishes. She is a nurse, so she is constantly in the mindset of living a healthy lifestyle. I've witnessed her making ingredient substitutions in her favorite Guyanese meals and limiting the foods she cannot alter. I love that she keeps connected to her culture by using better ingredients instead of giving up Guyanese food entirely.
One great tip I learned from her is to steam the corned mutton in a mesh strainer over a pot of simmering water. This allows a lot of the brine and fat to drip out of the meat. It doesn't completely remove all the fat, but after it's done steaming you can definitely tell the difference in terms of fat content. This doesn't affect the flavor of the mutton in anyway, but moreso the texture. I'm pretty sure you can steam any corned meat this way to lighten up the fattiness.
How to steam:
- Fill a medium sized sauce pot halfway with water. Bring to a rolling boil.
- Empty can of corned mutton in a mesh strainer. Spread it out with a spoon. Cover strainer with lid (the lid wont close properly, which is fine)
- Allow steam to melt fat. Drippings will fall into the pot.
- Turn the corn mutton with a spoon a couple of times to ensure every part hits the steam.
- This process should take about 10-12 minutes total. Add more time if cooking more than one can of mutton.
Guyanese-style Corned MuttonPrep Time: 10 minutesCook Time: 20 minutesTotal Time: 30 minutes
- 1 11.5oz can corned mutton
- ½ medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 wiri wiri peppers or 1 medium scotch bonnet
- 2 stems scallions, finely chopped
- 1 large plum tomato
- 1 medium potato, chopped and thinly sliced
- 1 tsp paprika
- ¼ tsp salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- 1 tbsp oil to fry onions, garlic, pepper, scallions
- Prep all ingredients.
- Heat a large frying pan with 1 tbsp oil on medium heat. Add onions, garlic, pepper, scallions to pan. Fry for a few minutes until tender and fragrant.
- Add corned mutton straight from can to the frying pan OR if you would like to steam corned mutton, steam first then add to pan at this step.
- Fry corn mutton 5-6 minutes then add chopped tomatoes along with paprika, salt, and black pepper. Let cook another 5 minutes.
- Add potatoes, reduce heat to low and allow potatoes to cook 6-7 minutes.
- Remove from heat, garnish with scallions.
If steaming corned mutton:
Fill a medium sized sauce pot halfway with water. Bring to a rolling boil.
Empty can of corned mutton in a mesh strainer. Spread it out with a spoon.
Allow steam to melt fat. Drippings will fall into the pot.
Turn the corn mutton with a spoon a couple of time to ensure every part hits the steam. This process should take about 10 minutes.
After steaming, set aside and proceed with the recipe from step 1 of instructions.
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