Something Chelmsford has needed since I moved here over 15 years ago is a decent butchers. A couple are in and around...the farm shop on Moulsham St. has a selection of meats and Lathcoats farm shop on Beehive Lane also sources and sells local meat. There are a couple of butchers in the market and a few independents in most of the surrounding areas, such as the Vineyards at Baddow and the shops at Galleywood.
Now, Stock is much further out than 'Chelmsford' and his new butchers is just on the far side of the village, based at Stockbrook Farm Shop and Nurseries. Its’ here that James has opened up a little butchers counter. Although small, he is happy to make up or prep. ahead anything available for you to collect, or order your leg of lamb for Sunday roast in advance. And with a new delivery scheme set up, there's really no reason not to.
I visited this week and was pleased to see quite a big range of meats, including several pre-prepped options, such as hunters or lemon chicken, fresh stir fry or stuffed lamb noisettes. These sauced and pre-prepped options are always homemade from natural, store cupboard ingredients and perfect to pop straight into the oven. The meat is sourced as locally as possible, with pork from Wicks Manor and other meats from Hanningfield and Great Leighs. James has developed relationships and struck up friendships with Smithfields Market, London, and ensures all meat is high welfare, even if it's not always possible, due to demand, to ensure it's as local as he would like. Talking of local, nearby customers are also currently given a 5% discount!
I chose four lamb noisettes and a chunk of rib eye which James chopped in two for me and was pleasantly surprised they only came to £15! I would have posted pictures, but we gobbled them up far too quickly! the steak was great, and I’d advise you to cook quickly on a high heat first to sear the fat and begin to melt it down, then finish them off in the oven to medium. I usually eat my steak rare – as in, just touched the pan rare – but with a ribeye, it’s important that if you want the full flavour, you need to crispen the outside fat and melt it down to make the middle moist. As for the lamb, I fried this. On a high heat to begin to, again, brown the far, then on a lower heat to begin to cook the middle. I ate this pink and it was delicious. I served it with potato dauphinois, baked tomatoes and mushrooms and roasted vegetables. They were utterly delicious.
You'd definitely be advised to follow James Facebook page, Our Local Butcher, and new website to view the full range of meats, and to check out recipe ideas and meal suggestions from him too. The delivery service has just begun, with different areas of Chelmsford being covered on different days. Free delivery for orders over £25 and a £5 charge otherwise.
This seems like the perfect answer to fresh, local meat for me, until they invent chilled meat lockers on every road anyway (!) , and I’m already looking forward to this week’s visit.
Photographs taken from Our Local Butcher website.