In this beautifully balanced dish of Duo of Karoo Lamb from Lanzerac Hotel‘s Chef Stephen Fraser, simple ingredients are transformed into a flavour-packed tribute to winter. Here, Chef Stephen pairs Karoo Lamb Belly & Loin with caramelised onions, marinated peas, salted yoghurt, poached radish and blackened aubergine. As pinotage is used within the dish, it makes the perfect partner for the meal – and Chef Stephen suggests serving this dish with a bottle of Lanzerac Pionier Pinotage.
Lamb Loin & Belly
1 Whole saddle of lamb
2 Cloves garlic
Lamb & Pinotage jus
Lamb bones and trimmings from the saddle
1 Brown onion
3 Sticks celery
2 Cloves garlic
2 Plum tomatoes
2 tbsp Tomato paste
3 cups of Pinotage wine
½ cup of Port
2 cups of Chicken stock/ broth
8 Black peppercorns
3 Bay leaves
2 Cubes of cold butter
2 Large aubergines
15g Activated charcoal
6 Baby onions or shallots
400g Garden peas
Wild Garlic Oil
150g Wild garlic leaves
150ml Grapeseed oil
500ml Greek yoghurt
Butter Poached Radish
2 Bunches small radishes
25ml Chicken stock/broth
Black pepper corns
How to prepare the lamb:
- Remove all the bones and keep them aside to use for the sauce. Lie the saddle down, flat skin side down on the board and cut along the side of the loins through the skin, remove the loins and trim off any excess fat before turning over so the skin is facing you. Remove the first thin layer of skin from the fat on the top of the loin, cut the two pieces of belly off the saddle and cut up what is left of the saddle and add to the bones for the sauce.
- Pre-heat your water bath/sous vide to 75C
- Trim the two lamb bellies and remove any excess fat and small bones. Season with olive oil, thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper. Seal in a vacuum bag along with the garlic cloves which have been lightly crushed, add the chives, parsley, a drizzle of oil and a little lemon zest. Cook the lamb belly overnight or for about 12 hours. In the morning, remove from the bag and while hot, place between two sheets of parchment paper. Place a flat tray on top and evenly distribute weights on top of the tray to press down the belly flat. Once cool, portion into 12 even slices and refrigerate until you are finishing off.
- Pre-heat your water bath/sous vide to 56C
- Season the loins and add to the vacuum bag with a drizzle of oil, seal the bag and sous vide for 30 minutes. Once complete, place in ice water to cool off quickly. Remove the loins from the bag and refrigerate until you are ready to finish off.
Prepare the sauce:
- Season the lamb bones you have from the saddle with salt and pepper.
- Peel the onion and wash all the vegetables before roughly chopping, if the ends are clean of sand and soil use them, otherwise remove and add to your compost bin.
- Heat a large sauté pan over medium to high heat and add a drizzle of olive oil.
Once the oil begins to smoke, add the seasoned lamb bones and sauté until the lamb is golden brown. Turn occasionally, this will take about 15 minutes. Transfer the bones to the side and put the pan back on the heat.
- Add celery, onion, carrot and leeks to the pan and sauté until the vegetables are caramelized and start to soften. After about 10 minutes add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes. Add the bones back to the pan with the vegetables and the tomato paste, sauté for 2 minutes before chopping the plum tomatoes and adding to the pan, sauté for 3 minutes. Add the port and reduce by half, this should take about 3 minutes. Add two glasses of the pinotage wine and again reduce by half. Once reduced, add the chicken stock, peppercorns and herbs and cook on medium low heat for 1½ hours.
- Strain into a saucepot, pressing on lamb mixture to release all the juices. Bring to a simmer and at this point, skim off any excess fat and cook on a low heat for 10 minutes to reduce.
- Put a second sauce pan on a high heat, when the pan is hot add the last glass of red wine and reduce to a glaze with the temperature on a low heat.
- Pour your sauce into the pan with the red wine glaze, ideally through a fine mess sieve or chinois if you have, this will give you a smoother clear sauce.
- Reduce the stock until you have a coating texture, use a metal spoon and stir the sauce, when you lift the spoon out, turn and look at the back of the spoon, if it leaves a coating of sauce on the spoon then you have reached the needed consistency.
- Leave the sauce aside unit you are ready to use it, once ready to use, bring back to the heat and gently warm. Once hot, add in the cubes of butter one at a time while whisking until the butter is incorporated into the sauce, this will leave you with a beautiful shine to the sauce.
How to make the salted yoghurt:
- This is a simple method; it is however important to use a good quality thick yoghurt for this. Hang the yoghurt in a muslin cloth over a contain overnight or for up to 24 hours in the fridge to allow all the excess water to leak out – this will leave you with a thick yoghurt. Season with a slightly heavy hand of salt and a little fine white pepper, place in a container and leave at room temperature until you are ready to plate.
How to make the blackened aubergine:
- Start by lighting a braai and get a good fire going! When the flame is starting to die down a little, place the two aubergines on the grid over the flames and allow to slowly burn, turning to insure all the skin gets a good even burn. Take off the fire once you have achieved this and the aubergine is starting to feel soft. You can leave them on the braai, away from the flames for another 20 minutes to slow cook.
- Once fully cooked, remove the stalks and while hot, roughly chop and add to a blender or liquidizer and blend until it reaches a puree consistency. Add the activated charcoal, season with salt and pepper, a good squeeze of lemon juice and a big splash of olive oil. Continue to blend until you have a smooth silky black puree, pass this though a fine sieve to remove any small bits and put to one side until you are ready to use.
How to prepare the peas:
- Bring a small pot of water to a rapid boil, don’t add any salt to the water (I find it makes the peas a little bitter), we will season after and still have that great sweet flavour with the peas. Get a bowl of ice water ready on the side of the stove as the peas will cook very quickly.
- Remove all the peas from the pods (you can put the pods to one side and use later to make a pea dust) and quickly blanch the peas in the boiling water. This will take 30 – 45 seconds, spoon out the peas quickly to the ice water and leave for about 3 minutes or until the peas are completely cold to the touch. Remove from the water and drain.
- The next part takes patience, one by one, using a small sharp knife, make a thin shallow line in the pea and while holding the pea between your thumb and finger in the other hand, you are looking to just cut the skin, not too deep. Gently squeeze out the second half of the pea from its skin, but be careful not to squash or crush the pea while doing this! It might take three or four tries before you get into the feel and rhythm of this, but you will soon get the hang of it. Create little games while you do this, like time yourself, see how many you can do in two minutes and then try to better it, before you know it you’ve done them all! If you don’t have the time or the patience you can just do this recipe with the peas skins on, it does affect the taste and look of the dish but only marginally.
- Put the pea halves or whole peas into a small mixing bowl and give a good drizzle of about 50ml extra virgin olive oil, add a small splash of truffle oil, salt and pepper to taste. Remove about six large basil leaves from the stalk and roll up into a cigar, then with a sharp knife slice shred into micro thin slivered, we call this chiffonade. Add the basil to the peas and give a good mix with a spoon, when the peas and basil have been nicely coated add the zest of half a lemon with a microplane and add to the mix along with a big squeeze of the lemon juice, mix together well and taste for seasoning, put this aside till you start plating.
How to make the pea dust:
- Simply place the discarded pea pods and skins on to a tray lined with grease-proof paper and place in the oven. The oven needs to be a low heat around 45c and leave to dry overnight, if you have a dehydrator then you can use this instead. When dry, blitz in a blender with a little maldon salt until you have a fine powder, this is great for garnishing, it will give a vibrant green touch to a dish as well as an intense pea taste.
How to prepare the radishes:
- Remove the stalks from the radishes and wash thoroughly in cold water. Pat dry and place them in a heavy-based medium pan along with a sprig of thyme and rosemary making sure that the pan is big enough to hold about 350ml of liquid.
- Pour over the chicken stock and add the butter, the radishes should just be submerged in the stock. Add a small pinch of salt and place over medium heat and bring to a boil, turning down the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook until the radishes are almost tender, tossing them once or twice to coat in the cooking liquor; this should take about 6-7 minutes. Once the radishes are almost tender, turn the heat up on the pan to reduce the liquor down until there is just enough to coat the radishes in a pale, glossy glaze. Spoon the radishes into a bowl, season with a little salt and pepper and keep aside for plating.
How to prepare the caramelised onions:
- Put a pan on the stove at a medium to high heat and pre-heat your oven to 180c. Cut the baby onions in half down the middle, you can leave the skin on here; the skin will help to protect the flesh of the onion from colouring. lay the onions on your board cut side up and sprinkle with a good pinch of fine salt.
- when the pan is nice and hot, place the onion halves cut side down on to the hot pan, one by one, careful not to move them when you’re putting the next one in. you are looking to dry fry them until they show signs of browning around the bottom, this will take about 5mins. when you are happy that the onion are nicely coloured, turn them over using a palate knife ideally in the order that you put them in. add a good drizzle of oil, add in a big bunch of thyme, a little extra salt and give a shake before putting the pan in the oven for 6mins. when they are done, remove from the oven, let them rest for about 5mins or until you can touch them by hand. remove from the pan, and remove the skin off the baby onions, keep side until you are ready.
How to prepare the wild garlic oil:
- Use the leaves for the oil and the flowers can be kept to use for a garnish on the plate. Bring a pot of water to a rapid boil and add a good pinch of salt. Ensure that you have a bowl of ice water ready before blanching the picked and washed wild garlic leaves. When cool enough to handle, drain the leaves and with a muslin cloth, ring out any excess water. Place the leaves in a liquidizer along with a pinch of salt and start to blend. Slowly pour in the oil until you have a vibrant green sauce. Pass this through a sieve to remove any pieces that might be left and pour the oil into a squeeze bottle and keep aside for plating.
- If you want a clearer oil, then pass the oil first through a sieve and then through a coffee filter – this will leave you with a clean green oil.
To finish the dish:
- Pre-heat the oven to 180°c/355˚f/gas mark 4 and place a non-stick pan over a medium-high heat, gently score the fat side of the lamb loins before putting the fat side down in the pan, render down the fat on the lamb loins until golden brown, then turn to caramelise the rest of the meat.
- Pop the loins onto an oven tray and place in the oven to roast for 5-7 minutes, this will vary with the fatness of the loins, but you want them so that they are still pink in the middle. After 2 or 3 minutes in, add the cooked onion halves to the tray to heat them through. Remove from the oven and rest at room temperature until ready to plate.
- Meanwhile, warm the smoked aubergine purée and pinotage jus in separate pans.
- Colour the lamb belly portions in a hot pan with a little oil until golden brown all over.
- Cut each of the lamb loins in three, giving you six equal pieces. Spoon the aubergine purée onto each plate and with a palate knife drag across the plate, this will give you a nice rough rectangular shape to plate on. Place a small spoonful of the yoghurt in the middle of each swipe, then top with lamb loin and arrange the baby onions around the loins.
- Add a small spoonful of the marinated peas and plate the lamb belly pieces. Arrange a few poached radishes, drizzle some of the pinotage jus around on each plate, followed by some wild garlic oil and a good pinch of the pea powder. Garnish with some seasonal micro herbs and the wild garlic flowers you kept before serving.