Lamb shnitzel with mint sauce (or maybe in a sandwich with tomato ketchup)


The trans-Tasman comradery and a good piece of lamb

I am not sure the reason, but whatever it is, we as Australians always seem to be able to afford ourselves the time for a big old cross seas pointing of the finger and a laugh with our neighbours the Kiwis (and them to us I’m sure). It might be the spirit of the ANZACS? A strange, unexplainable, X-Files-esque trans-Tasman chemistry? Or maybe it was a morning where we awoke next to each other after a heavy night of drinking and realized we were in the games room at a retirement home and we smell like potpourri and denture adhesive? (Please, stick with me here). Wherever the connection may lie, the average Australian has a penchant for a good solid joke with the Kiwi’s, aka New Zealanders.

But today we shall not be discussing jokey time. No, no, no. This shit is serious as having face herpes at your final high school ball. It is time to say once and for all; the sheep f**cking (should read fucking) must stop!

K? K.

Now, lamb rump is probably so popular because butchers were smart enough to call it something other than “lamb’s ass”. But let’s face it; it is a lamb’s ass cheek. Now (back to the finger pointing) a good, tender lamb’s ass is a point of national distraction for a Kiwi (I know I said there would be no more jokes about coital union with a sheep but…). A bit of the old “nah mate, it was caught in the wire fence and I was just trying to push it through”. But a good, tender lamb rump… well that’s something I’m going to be happy to put in my face anytime. And that is indeed what I did

Pounded lamb rump and a few other bits and pieces

A little pile of shnitzels and mint sauce. A photo that may or may not appear in a book I have been working on.

LAMB SHNITZEL
(Serves 4)

8x 90—100 g (3—3½ oz) lamb rump steaks, pounded a little bit to flatten
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
1 tbsp fresh thyme, chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
125 g (4½ oz) plain flour
3 eggs, whisked with a splash of water
200 g (7 oz) panko breadcrumbs
Salt and pepper
Crushed potatoes, peas and mint sauce (recipe below), to serve
Or maybe white bread and tomato sauce, to serve
Mix the breadcrumbs with the herbs, lemon zest and a pinch of salt and pepper.
Dust the lamb rumps in flour, then egg wash, then breadcrumbs to coat.
Shallow fry the schnitzels in medium-hot oil for 1 minute each side.
Drain on absorbent paper for 1 minute.
Serve with mint sauce and vegetables or whack it in between two slices of white bread white a little tomato ketchup and you have yourself a fucking cracking sandwich. The sandwich thing works super well with cold schnitzels too.

MINT SAUCE
125 ml (4 fl oz) apple cider vinegar
50 g (2 oz) caster sugar
A big handful of mint
Salt and pepper
Warm the vinegar and sugar until the sugar is dissolved. Allow to cool.
Add chopped mint leaves, or add them whole and then hit it with a stick whizz.
Season with a little salt and pepper.
That’s it.
Tell yourself some things really can be that easy.

Braised lamb cutlets with bubble-and-swede… and a couple of things that grow really well on the south island of New Zealand


Yeah, I know right. Who uses lamb cutlets for braising?

Well, in the south island of New Zealand where the sheep population grossly outweighs that of the humans*, lamb cutlets are cheap as bro, so today I would do whatever the heck I wanted with them.

So many swedes for the sheep

Also, what is this whole bubble-and-swede thing, you ask? A damn clever play on words and a really tasty way to eat the humble swede, that’s what it is.

You see, on an island that seems to have the climate to grow absolutely nothing, the folks down south are pretty effing adept at growing the humble swede. Mostly to feed the ever-growing sheep population it would seem, but occasionally for human consumption also. But probably not very much for human consumption as I would imagine they’d be pretty sick of them by now. Probably the carnie folk would still relish a good swede though, I would imagine…

So much dribble.

Whatever the case, it was not uncommon to see roadside market stalls selling swedes (and swedes alone) the size of the head of the carnie folk they might eventually feed, for a buck a pop.

So, the scenario is this – we drove through the hills (there is always “the hills”) of the sheep growing, swede producing south and I said to myself, “today I shall purchase some sheep and some swedes and I shall cook them for our evening meal”.

“That would be heaps Kiwi-ish”, I agreed.

The camper kitchen

Unbelievably cheap-as lamb, bro
Get a bit o’ colour on those lamb cutlets
Mashy the swede and potato
…and then mix in the sautéed leek…

Truly delicious. Wash it all down with a local alcoholic beverage of some description

LAMB CUTLETS, TAGINE GRAVY, BUBBLE-AND-SWEDE

(serves 4)

8-12 lamb cutlets, depending on size and appetite (NZ origin)
Moroccan seasoning (dubious origin)
½ onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped (NZ origin)
1 small knob ginger, grated (origin unknown)
1 teaspoon chilli paste (origin unknown)
A splash of some white wine (NZ origin)
400g tin diced tomatoes (definitely not of NZ origin as we could not afford the barter of 12 gold doubloons and 3 sex slaves that was necessary to obtain said tomatoes)
1 decent sized swede, diced large (NZ origin)
1 leek, sliced (NZ origin)
1 potato, diced large (probably NZ origin)
50-100g butter (we had some NZ stuff earlier in the week, but… hmmm… we don’t have any more)
Salt and pepper to season

Season cutlets with Moroccan seasoning. Brown cutlets in a pan over med-high heat for 2 minutes each side. Remove and set aside.
Add onion, garlic, ginger, chilli and a little extra Moroccan seasoning to the same pan with all of the lamby flavour, and sauté for a few minutes or until soft.
Deglaze pan with a splash of white wine and add diced tomatoes.
Return lamb chops to pan, cover and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes or so, until lamb is nice and tender.
While that’s going on you’ll need to sort your bubble and swede.
Boil swede and potato until nice and soft. Drain.
Sauté leek with half of the butter until soft and sexy smelling.
Mash swede and potato with remaining butter, mix in sautéed leek and then season well. Taste it and make sure the seasoning is good.
Plate it up however you see fit.
A bit of parsley would be nice but as you can probably see, we didn’t have any of that on hand.
Feeling the NZ vibe? I am.

*Seriously. I grew up in the south of Western Australia and I thought that place was an oversized sheep property but this place is nek level. The locals around here would be chucking a few sheep in the front yard before they ever contemplated putting in a rose garden or a kids cubby house I can guarantee you. I have respect for that kind of sheep love.