As well known as scrag end or neck end, scrag is one of the cheaper cuts of lamb, from the higher part of the neck. This part does not yield great joints of meat and what's produced is frequently fattier than other cuts. As a result, scrag end meat is usually chopped or diced and used in stews and casseroles, although scrag end from new season lamb, in April or May, can be used for a cheap roast joint. The color and flavor of the flesh will vary depending on where the sheep are raised, whether lowlands or hill-side. Look for pale pink flesh for a very young lamb, to a light or dark red. As well as pale-colored flesh, a blue tinge in the knuckle bones indicates that the animal is young. When buying lamb, choose the leanest cuts with firm, creamy-white fat. Avoid those with fat that looks crumbly, brittle and yellowish, as this indicates age. For stewing, middle neck or scrag end of neck are generally used because the bones impart delicious juices to the liquid. Best end neck chops are ideal for braised dishes like Lancashire hotpot. Fillets from the neck were not a traditional British butcher’s cut but recently some supermarkets and enterprising independents have started to prepare de-boned versions of this delicious meat.

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