What better way to celebrate National Lamb Day than with a lamb sausage roll! Ambassador Chef Kate Fay originally created her version of this Kiwi classic dish for the 20th anniversary of Cibo Restaurant in Parnell, where she is executive chef, putting a modern twist on a classic birthday party treat. It fast became one of her trade mark iconic dishes and she will be serving it on her menu for her upcoming Ambassador Series dinner for National Lamb Day on 24 May.
What makes this dish just that little bit extra special is using lamb neck as the filling. Kate says using lamb neck, a secondary cut which requires long slow cooking, adds a rich depth of flavour and an alternative texture to the traditional filling of a sausage roll. Lamb neck is a wonderful cheaper cut ideal to use on menu applications where a braised meat is required. Braising lamb neck not only brings out the flavour but creates a very moist and textural end result. With the increased popularity of this secondary cut, Kate says they are now available for chefs, filleted and ready for the braising pot!
To celebrate National Lamb Day at Cibo, you can book tickets here and for those unable to attend she is happy to share her iconic recipe with you below.
LAMB SAUSAGE ROLL WITH MINTED PEA PUREE
Photograph courtesy of The Great New Zealand Cookbook.
olive oil, for frying
500g lamb neck fillets
2 tbsp butter
1 medium-sized onion, roughly chopped
½ head garlic, cloves separated
1 small carrot
1 stick of celery, roughly chopped
½ leek, roughly chopped
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 sprig fresh rosemary
about 1 litre beef stock
12 sheets of filo pastry
melted butter, for brushing
2 cups frozen baby peas
¼ small brown onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
¼ cup cream
fresh mint leaves
3 tbsp olive oil
½ cup white wine
½ cup water
3 cups fresh mint leaves
½ onion, sliced
5 cloves garlic
Agar for setting
Pre-heat the oven to 170°C and prepare vegetables. Heat a frying pan to moderate heat and add olive oil, then sear lamb all over, until caramelised a deep golden brown. Remove from pan and place in a casserole dish. Add butter to the pan, then onion, garlic and vegetables and cook until coloured and caramelised. Add this mixture to the lamb, add herbs, and season well with salt and black pepper. Cover with beef stock, then cover with a lid or tinfoil and place in the oven for 3 hours until lamb is tender. Cool. Remove lamb from the liquid and shred the meat. Strain the stock, and process 1 cup of the braised vegetables in a blender, then mix these with the meat. Season the mix again and add extra herbs to taste. Roll into a sausage shape and chill in the fridge overnight.
Next day, pre-heat the oven to 160°C. Divide meat sausage into 12. Brush a sheet of filo with melted butter and fold it in half. Brush again with butter and fold into a strip a third of the width. Place a cylinder of meat at one end and roll the strip up, sealing the end with butter. Repeat. Place rolls on a baking sheet lined with baking paper and bake for 15 minutes, until golden brown.
For the pea purée, cook peas in boiling water for 2-3 minutes, until tender. Drain. Melt butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add peas, then cream, and bring to the boil. Stir for 1 minute or until heated through. Remove from the heat and add mint leaves. Process until smooth, then add olive oil and season to taste with salt and pepper. Pass the mix through a fine sieve and serve on sausage rolls.
For the mint jelly, bring all ingredients except agar to the boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, then set aside to cool and infuse for 2 hours. Strain, and measure the liquid. Add 2 grams agar for every 100ml of liquid and bring back up to the boil. Simmer for 5-8 minutes, until all the agar is incorporated. Strain again and place in the fridge to set. To serve, blend until smooth and place in a squeeze bottle.
You may wish to add a pea salad of cooked peas, fresh pea leaves and tendrils and blanched sugarsnap peas, tossed with olive oil and shredded fresh mint.