‘Tis the season to celebrate legends

17th December 2020 | Eativity editors

With Christmas on the way and 2021 not far off (hurry up already), Australian Lamb is ending 2020 on a high, sharing inspiring community stories with their Lamb Legends series, where iconic Aussie chefs cook delicious holiday lamb dishes for local legends.

The content, housed on the Australian Lamb website, celebrates everyday heroes who’ve made a big, feel-good dent in the bin fire that has been 2020. To jump-start the festive season, MasterChef star Elena Duggan and chef and Insta-legend Mitch Orr have both created tasty lamb dishes to thank a 2020 Lamb Legend. You can find their recipes below.

Anika Molesworth (right) was named 2015 Young Farmer of the Year.

First up, Duggan treats sustainable farmer and climate activist Anika Molesworth to a Moroccan spiced roasted lamb leg. Co-founder of Farmers for Climate Action, a movement that puts farmers at the centre of climate solutions, Molesworth is a passionate advocate for sustainable farming and environmental conservation.

As a chef and champion of fresh ingredients, Duggan appreciates the challenges Molesworth faces in supporting Australia’s farming communities and the work it takes to preserve the areas that provide us with fresh produce.

“She could have downed tools and done something different, but instead she’s trying to figure out how to make this country richer, with sustainability her main focus,” she says.

For Duggan, lamb has always been a dish for celebrating special people and moments: “My nan’s roast lamb is the hero centrepiece every Christmas, so I always associate Australian lamb with bringing loved ones together,” she says.

Erin Riley has helped hundreds of bushfire victims find accommodation.

Next in the series, Orr cooks delicious grilled lamb loin chops with a peach salad for undisputed legend and Find A Bed co-founder, Erin Riley. Find A Bed came to life during the height of the 2019/20 bushfire crisis, after Riley spotted evacuees sleeping in cars and realised she could match home owners with those who needed a place to stay.

“I started a very simple website in under an hour, with just two buttons: ‘I have a place’ and ‘I need a place’,” Riley says. “It was all very low tech, but within a day we had over 100 people registered to host people and requests for places to stay began flowing in.”

Find A Bed has now helped almost 1000 people find accommodation over the course of the bushfire season and the COVID-19 pandemic.

“People like Erin, who put others first and spring into action to solve a problem that needs to be fixed… That’s pretty legendary to me,” says Orr.

You can watch Duggan and Orr’s videos and find more recipes at australianlamb.com.au.

Elena Duggan’s Moroccan spiced lamb leg with plums

Serves 8
Prep time 30 minutes
Cooking time 4 hours, 15 minutes

You’ll need:

For the lamb

1 leg of lamb, approximately 2.5kg, bone in
3 large onions, sliced in 1cm-thick discs
750ml vegetable stock, reduced salt
750g fresh plums, halved and pitted
50g slivered almonds
50g currants or raisins

For the spice rub

50g extra virgin olive oil
2 tsp cumin, ground
2 tsp ginger, ground
2 tsp garlic, minced
2 tsp turmeric, ground
2 tsp cinnamon, ground
2 tsp coriander, ground
2 tsp paprika, ground
100g honey or (date syrup)
½ preserved lemon
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cous cous

½ bunch fresh coriander, leaves only
½ bunch fresh parsley, leaves only
50g slivered almonds
1 bunch watercress, woody stalks removed
100g yoghurt
250g dried couscous
1 pomegranate, arils only
1 large lemon, finely grated zest and juice
50g extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
¼ bunch parsley, finely chopped

Method:

1. Preheat fan-forced oven to 150°C. For the spice rub, blitz all ingredients in a food processor until thoroughly combined. Place onions in the centre of a roasting tray, place lamb on top of onions and thoroughly coat the leg with the spice rub, so the presentation side is face down. Carefully pour stock all around the lamb, so as not to remove the rub.
2. Roast the leg at 150°C for 2 hours, covered with aluminium foil, then an additional two hours uncovered. After four hours, remove the tray and increase the heat to 250°C. Place the plums, almonds and raisins around the lamb and gently toss in the pan juices.
3. Return to oven for 15-20 minutes to form a heavily caramelised crust, before removing from oven. Allow 10 minutes to rest the lamb, before pulling or slicing and serving.
4. In a large heavy-based pot, prepare the couscous according to packet instructions. Once cooked and while still warm, stir through remaining ingredients.
5. To serve in the oven tray, dollop small portions of yoghurt around the lamb on top of the plums and onions. Scatter the watercress, herbs and additional almonds. Slice and serve at the table. Serve with fresh parsley if desired.

Mitch Orr’s grilled lamb loin chops with peach salad

Serves 4
Prep time 20 minutes
Cooking time 6 minutes

You’ll need:

For the lamb and marinade

8 lamb loin chops
4 cloves peeled garlic
2 peeled shallots
Juice of 2 lemons
Pinch dried chilli flakes
1 tsp fennel seeds
Extra virgin olive oil
Salt

For the salad

4 ripe peaches
1 tbsp brown sugar
2 bunches English spinach
1 bunch mint
1 bunch flat parsley
1 peeled shallot, finely sliced
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Extra virgin olive oil
Sea salt
2 tbsp toasted and chopped almonds

Method:

For the marinade

1. In a small food processor blitz garlic and shallots. Add lemon juice and dried chilli flakes.
2. Lightly toast the fennel seeds in a pan over a medium heat. Once toasted crush them a little in a mortar and pestle, or you can just use the bottom of a pot. Add to the garlic mix.
3. Season garlic mix with a pinch of salt and add a generous drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
4. Lay the lamb in a tray and pour the marinade over them. Give them a good mix around to ensure all the lamb is coated. Cover and put in the fridge for around an hour.

For the salad

1. Preheat your BBQ or grill plate.
2. Remove pit from peaches and cut in quarters. Brush with a little olive oil.
3. Once the BBQ is nice and hot, lay the peach down, flesh side. Cook them until they’re starting to blacken. Repeat on the other flesh side.
4. Once charred, place peaches in a bowl and add brown sugar, apple cider vinegar and finely sliced shallots. Add a good pinch of salt. Mix thoroughly together, leave to marinate for 30 minutes. Pick spinach and herbs, give them a good wash and spin dry.

To serve

1. Shake off the marinade from the lamb. The grill should be nice and hot from charring your peaches. Place the lamb on the grill. They should take around 2 to 3 minutes on each side for a medium cook (depending on the thickness of the chops). Once they’re cooked, place them in a clean tray and keep to the side of the BBQ to rest while you assemble the salad (2 minutes is perfect). Season with a little more flake salt.
2. To finish the salad, mix the peaches through the spinach and herbs. Use the juices from macerating the peaches to dress the salad along with some extra virgin olive oil. Check the seasoning and add a pinch of salt if needed.