Ed’s Note: This recipe and corresponding interview were originally published in 2016, but Matt Moran’s delicious lamb is about as timeless as a dish can get.
Autumn brings with it the need for warmth and comfort — all things that the ultimate roast lamb with mint salsa dish can provide.
We asked Matt Moran of Chiswick Restaurant for the perfect Autumn dinner dish, his secrets for taking a party from ordinary to extraordinary and his all-time favourite Easter treat.
RESCU: How has the Sydney food scene changed in the past five years?
Matt Moran: It’s come a long way from when I started as a chef 30 years ago and it’s definitely continuing to evolve. It’s got great energy nowadays, we’re eating out more often and there’s more diversity. I love that people are so engaged with food and the industry now too – they really want to know about provenance: where their food comes from, what it’s fed or how it’s grown and harvested. As a big believer in seasonality and using fresh, local ingredients it’s really great see.
RESCU: What do you think are three secrets to cooking for friends that will take a dinner party from the ordinary to the extraordinary?
Matt Moran: Keep it simple! So often people try to go all out to impress and then they spend their whole time in the kitchen. Plan ahead, cook what you know or know will be a success and do as much as you can in advance, so by the time your friends arrive you can just hang out and have fun. If everyone’s having fun it will be a great night. So just choose simple dishes that are delicious and have a great cocktail to start.
RESCU: What is your favourite dish to cook and serve your family?
Matt Moran: People often say to me, “I bet you don’t cook at home” but the truth is, it’s one of my favourite places to cook. What I cook depends on the mood and it’s usually pretty simple – if we’re at my family farm it could be todays eggs for breakfast and roast lamb for lunch. At home, we often have a barbecue or roast but a family favourite is my poached chicken in master stock. I’ve got a kitchen garden at home actually and I’m about to start work to expand it. So I plan to cook there more often!
RESCU: For a novice cook, what one dish would you suggest we master to wow friends and family?
Matt Moran: This is a tough one! There are lots of tasty dishes packed full of flavour that aren’t that difficult to cook. My poached chicken in master stock that I mentioned is a winner in my household is actually really easy to make, it just takes time.
Lamb Shoulder with Mint Salsa Dish
Image credit: Chiswick
If you’re looking for the ultimate Easter dinner dish, Matt Moran’s Easter lamb shoulder with mint salsa recipe is the perfect dish to serve up this Easter Sunday.
300 g table salt
200 g caster sugar
5 black peppercorns
4 juniper berries
1 lamb shoulder on the bone (about 1.3 kg), trimmed
4 cloves garlic, smashed
2 sprigs rosemary
2 litres chicken stock
2 Tbs Vegetable oil
¼ bunch picked mint leaves
½ clove garlic, roughly chopped
¼ bunch parsley, leaves picked
1 bunch mint, leaves picked
200 ml grapeseed oil
30 ml chardonnay vinegar
To make the brine, place all the ingredients in a saucepan with 2 litres water and bring to the boil over high heat. Remove from the heat, strain through a fine-meshed sieve and place in the fridge until cooled completely.
Place the lamb in a container, pour over enough brine to cover, then cover with plastic film and place in the fridge for 3 hours. Remove the lamb and pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat oven to 120C. Place the lamb in a casserole dish with 2 garlic cloves, 1 sprig rosemary and chicken stock. Cover and roast for 31/2 hours or until the meat is falling off the bone. Raise the temperature of the oven to 180 Degrees. Remove the lamb from the oven and remove the cover and leave to rest in the stock.
For the mint salsa, place the garlic, parsley, mint and oil in the food processor and process until smooth. Transfer to a mixing bowl, stir in the vinegar and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
To plate the lamb reheat the meat in a hot oven to form a crust on top. Carefully lift the lamb onto the plate, spoon over some of the cooking juices and reserve the rest for another recipe, then spoon over the mint sauce.