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Blasket Island Lamb on the Menu at Market Lane

Blasket Island Lamb is on the menu for a limited time at Cork’s Market Lane Group of restaurants this October, the 8th year running this much celebrated lamb is available in the restaurants.

Chefs in each restaurant (Market Lane, Orso, Elbow Lane and Castle Cafe) will create lamb dishes that reflect their own in-house style of cooking, and the full range of cuts will be used. These will be partnered with drinks recommendations from the group’s wine and beer experts. The dishes are available from October 11th for a limited period.

The habitat on the islands is what makes this product so special and gives it such a great reputation. The animals graze in a marshy meadow full of heather, natural grassland and wild herbs such as rosemary, sage and thyme. The grass is salty from sea spray which gives the lamb its highly valued pre-sale flavour. The animals are free to roam so the lamb is leaner, creating a perfect fat to meat ratio.

Pamela Kelly Gough, head chef of Market Lane, who has been working with Blasket Island lamb for many years, said: “We are delighted as a group to shine a light on this very special organic Autumn lamb, which is different in many ways from the more usual Spring lamb.

“The impeccable provenance of this product is reflected in its quality and flavour; we are proud to be the only restaurants in Ireland to serve it to our customers. This truly is a farm to fork experience with everybody in the supply chain really respectful and excited about the product.”

Rack of Lamb. Pic: Joleen Cronin.

This story begins with small holder Donnacha O Ceileachair, who raises a small flock of sheep on the Great Blasket Island. When the April-born lambs are ready, he brings them by ferry from the Island onto the mainland. There, they are rested for up to a week on Donnacha’s farm in Dun Chaoin, to recuperate from their choppy journey across the Dingle Sound. Award winning Dingle Butcher, Jerry Kennedy, then picks out the premium lambs which are sent for slaughter. When the annual Market Lane order is delivered, the remaining lamb is sold to the public directly from Kennedy’s Butcher Shop on Orchard Lane, Dingle or via www.dinglebutcher.com.

Diners at The Market Group can look forward to dishes such as Elbow Lager lamb pie, pommes anna and glazed heritage carrots, Blasket lamb leg in fish sauce with seaweed gratin, ORSO Moroccan braised lamb shank with ras-el-hanout cous cous, preserved lemon, pomegranate and red onion pickle, and anchovy and rosemary leg of lamb steak, creamed polenta, with caponata and crispy shallots.

For more information, visit www.marketlane.ie.

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