Look out the window at Woollahra’s Chiswick restaurant, and what you see growing in the garden might be exactly what’s on your plate. Matt Moran’s (Aria, Barangaroo House, North Bondi Fish) paddock-to-plate approach to food isn’t rare these days, but there’s very few eateries where the paddock is on the other side of the dining room wall.
The lamb served at Chiswick might not peer back at you from the garden, but Moran does source it from his own property in the New South Wales Central Tablelands. The vegetables used in the condiments though? They’ve often been grown mere steps from where diners feast.
“The Moran family lamb shoulder has been a crowd-pleaser and the signature dish at Chiswick since it opened,” Chiswick Woollahra head chef Francois Poulard tells Broadsheet. “We change the garnishes every season though, harvesting the produce fresh from the Chiswick garden every day. I only started as head chef at Chiswick in February this year, so mastering the famous lamb shoulder was like a rite of passage. The trick is to enjoy with your nearest and dearest over a bottle or two of delicious red.”
Moran family lamb shoulder
Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 6.5 hours
1 1/3kg lamb shoulder on the bone, trimmed
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 sprig rosemary
2L chicken stock (liquid)
8 juniper berries
1 tsp black pepper
1 clove garlic, roughly chopped
¼ bunch flat-leaf parsley, leaves only
1 bunch mint, leaves only
80ml grapeseed oil
1.5 tbsp chardonnay wine vinegar
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 yellow squash
1 Lebanese cucumber
Olive oil, to taste
Salt and pepper, to taste
1 bunch mint
To make the brine, crush the juniper berries, cloves and black pepper in a mortar and pestle. Place this and all the remaining brine ingredients in a heavy-based saucepan and bring to the boil over high heat.
Remove from the heat, strain the liquid using a fine-meshed sieve and store in the fridge. Do not use until cooled completely.
Place the lamb in a large container, pour over enough brine to cover, then cover with plastic film and place in the fridge for 3 hours to lightly brine. Remove the lamb and pat dry with a paper towel.
Preheat the oven to 110°C. Place the lamb in a casserole dish with the garlic, rosemary and chicken stock. Cover with foil and braise for 3.5 hours, or until the meat is falling off the bone. Remove the cover and turn up the oven to 200°C and cook for a further 10–15 minutes, or until the top has become golden brown and crisp. Remove the lamb from the oven.
To make the mint salsa, place the garlic, parsley, mint and grapeseed oil in a food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Cut the squash, cucumber and zucchini into chunks and ribbons, and season them with a bit of olive oil, salt, pepper and fresh mint.
Serve the lamb with the mint salsa and fresh salad on the side.