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MIKE MCENEARNEY’S MOTHER’S DAY: POT ROAST LEG OF LAMB COOKED IN BUTTERMILK WITH ROSEMARY AND HONEY

May 5, 2016

Mother’s Day is a special day for everyone involved. It is great for mum to be on the receiving end for a change and also a treat for us to take care of her. The recipe I have chosen today is a really easy recipe to put on either the night before and cook extra slow, or the morning of. The advantage of Carriageworks Farmers Market being on a Saturday is an obvious bonus as you’re able to prepare for your Sunday lunch. Autumn is a lovely time of year where you often see a crossover of ingredients, but the things I always look for are the darker green vegetables, the beginning of the root vegetables, citrus and orchard fruits.

My mother loves lamb, so it was an obvious choice for me when deciding what to cook. There are many recipes out there to cook lamb so I thought I would give you something different by using beautiful fresh buttermilk from Pepe Saya and wonderful lamb from Farmer George. An alternative for lamb would be mutton, which is older with a wonderful strong flavoured meat, which handles slow cooking very well.

Buttermilk plays the liquid, acidic component for braising. Instead of using white wine, buttermilk adds another dimension by forming curds which caramelize beautifully when you turn the oven up at the end, to serve with the meat. The hasselback potatoes are a lovely touch in this recipe as they have the moist bottom tasting like lamb and buttermilk and then the crisp top to give texture and crunch. If you do not have the time or the inclination, simply serve the lamb with boiled kipfler or pink fir apple potatoes. Highland Gourmet Potatoes have a wonderful range of potatoes to choose from. Herbs come by the plenty at the market and if you don’t grow your own, you could choose from Darling Mills Farm or Champions Mountain Organics.

I love serving slightly bitter green vegetables with this dish, the lamb needs something bitter to cut through the rich flavour, and of course you have the honey rosemary vinaigrette to balance the sourness from the buttermilk. CFM is blessed with fantastic fresh produce suppliers such as A & W Muscat, Block 11 Organics, G & M Putrino, Kemps Creek Farms, Kurrawong Organics and Zavaglia’s Gourmet Produce.

It’s always good to use local honey in your cooking, meaning within 5km of where you live.  If you can find it, the medicinal benefits are incredible, particularly if you suffer from hay fever. We produce honey at Carriageworks in Traverser 1. If you want to have a peek, walk past Cornerstone, turn right and head towards the big yellow contraption on wheels. Inside you will see we have many hives, producing our own honey. We intend to sell this shortly, so please keep your eyes open for it!

Make sure you use only the best olive oil, Alto Olives and Pukara Estate have some lovely olive oils for you to choose from. Another addition to this dish you could try, is cooking your lamb on a number of whole peeled carrots. It forms a trivet for the lamb to sit on and also enables you to serve those carrots with all the flavours of the lamb and buttermilk, alongside the meat.

Pot Roast Leg Of Lamb Cooked in Buttermilk with Rosemary and Honey
Serves 6

  • 1 large leg of lamb with the shank on
  • 10 cloves of garlic (peeled)
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • ½ bunch fresh thyme, leaves picked
  • 1L Pepe Saya buttermilk
  • 2kg Sebago potatoes, or another good dry roasting potato

 

Rosemary And Honey Vinaigrette
Makes 500ml

  • 335g grape seed oil
  • 100ml vincotto
  • 100g honey
  • 1.5 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1.5 bunch fresh rosemary, very finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • generous pinch white pepper

 

To make:

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C.
Place garlic cloves in the bottom of a large, oven-proof heavy-based pot or baking dish.
Season the lamb with salt and pepper and place in the pot, and roast uncovered for 20 mins.
Turn the lamb over and give it another 10 minutes.

Remove the lamb pot from the oven and add the buttermilk.
On the stove top, over a medium-high heat, bring to the boil, add the thyme and bay leaves.
Cover with foil very tightly or a very tight-fitting lid, if using a heavy-based pot.
Turn the oven down to 140°C.
Place the dish back in the oven and bake until the meat is soft and tender, like a lamb shank. Make sure to baste regularly with the pan juices during cooking.

For Hasselback potatoes, cut the peeled potatoes in half, lengthways.
Place 1 potato, cut-side down, on a board and make thin, evenly spaced cuts at 5mm intervals, about two-thirds of the way through the potato. Continue with remaining potatoes.
With 1 hour to go, add the potatoes around the lamb cut size up so the fins are protruding out of the liquid, then baste with pan juices.
Re-cover with foil and bake for 30 mins.

In the last 30 mins of cooking, turn the oven up to 180°C. Remove the foil and bake so the potatoes caramelize.
Finally, remove the meat from the pan and strain the split sauce and caramelized buttermilk curd.

Serve a tear of flesh with a couple of hassle back potatoes, spoon over some curd and a little spoon of wey to moisten.
Drizzle with vinaigrette to serve.

For regular Market updates, follow Mike on Instagram @carriageworksfarmermarket

IMAGE: Mike McEnearney. Photography by Zan Wimberley