|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0g||0%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||0%|
|Total Carbohydrate 38g||14%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||1%|
|Total Sugars 37g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||2%|
The tradition of serving mint sauce with lamb comes from England, and it dates back to a time when lamb was significantly more gamy and fatty as compared with the lean, delicately flavored meat we're accustomed to now. In any case, the lamb was generally slaughtered in the spring, which is when mint proliferates, and a sweet, tangy, minty sauce was just the thing to provide some relief from the heavy, muttony meat.
Nevertheless, mint and lamb go hand in hand—whether because of tradition or because it really does provide a refreshing flavor contrast. Although that contrast is milder than it was 100 years ago, lamb still has a distinctive flavor (especially the grass-fed kind) and benefits from accompaniments.
This mint sauce is a perfect accompaniment for a roast leg of lamb. You can make it in minutes, but for best results, plan on letting it sit for one hour or so to allow the mint flavor to fully infuse the sauce.
The base of the sauce is a white wine vinegar that you will reduce by half. So the better quality of vinegar you start with, the better your mint sauce will be. But whatever you do, don't use plain distilled vinegar.
Gather the ingredients.
In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine the sugar and vinegar.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, then lower to a simmer and cook until the liquid has reduced by half, around 10 to 12 minutes. It should have a thick, syrupy consistency.
Turn off the heat and let the sauce cool for 5 minutes before adding the mint leaves. Give it a stir.
Pour it into a bowl and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let it steep for about 1 hour so the flavor of the mint can infuse the sauce, much like what happens when you're steeping a cup of tea.
Serve at room temperature with lamb.
- You can transform this mint sauce recipe into a mint jelly recipe by decreasing the vinegar to about 3 tablespoons and adding 2 cups of water along with about 1/4 ounce of powdered pectin. Simmer for about 1 minute, then cool and chill overnight.
- You could also add 1 to 2 drops of green food coloring if you prefer a greener jelly. In fact, you could do this even if you're preparing this recipe as a sauce.
Is mint sauce the same as mint jelly?
These are not the same thing. But how we got from mint sauce to mint jelly is another story. Mint jelly was popularized in the mid-20th century in the United States, likely in response to the large number of U.S. servicemen returning home after being stationed in the United Kingdom, and where during the course of their four-year sojourns they'd been exposed to life-altering quantities of mutton served with its now-indispensable mint sauce.
Jelly is comparatively shelf-stable, so companies produce and distribute jars of mint jelly to meet the demand for some sort of minty condiment to serve with lamb. The reason for the Day-Glo color we commonly associate with mint jelly? Well, your guess is as good as ours.