Lamb: the meat of choice on Australia Day since Sam Kekovich graced our television screens as Australia’s “Lambassador” in a series of satirical advertising campaigns commencing in 2005. Well, it could’ve been before this but I only remember it so post Sam bringing my attention to the rampant un-Australianism of not enough lamb chops on barbies.
In any event, I’ve made a concerted effort to “chomp on a chop” each Australia Day weekend for the past few years. Marketing huh! So here are some no-fuss lamb-centric recipes to help make your Australia Day with some pairing ideas. You know it makes sense!
Lamb and Haloumi Skewers with Green Beacon Brewing Co. Wayfarer USA
- 1 lamb backstrap
- 1 x 180g block Haloumi
- Olive oil
- Fresh basil
- Lemon, to serve
What to do:
1. Slice the backstrap and Haloumi into 1.5cm cubes and thread alternately onto 6 metal skewers.
2. Drizzle with olive oil and a sprinkling of freshly chopped basil.
3. Heat a BBQ or grill to high and cook skewers until haloumi has browned or lamb is to your liking. Serve with lemon wedges.
The Pairing: Green Beacon Brewing Co. Wayfarer USA
The citrus notes in the wayfarer tie in nicely with the basil and serve to cut through the saltiness of the haloumi – you could even omit the lemon wedges if pairing with a citrus-forward wheat such as this one. The focus, however, stays with the lamb – as it should – and its meaty sweetness is contrasted by the subtle spicy bitterness of the wayfarer.
Cherry, Pineapple and Five-Spice Marinated Backstrap with Newstead Brewing Co. Porter
- 2 lamb backstraps
1/2 cup cherry and pineapple jam*
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 teaspoon five spice
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed
What to do:
1. Heat jam in a saucepan over low heat. Once melted, remove from heat and stir in soy, five spice and garlic.
2. Pour marinade over lamb and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
3. Heat a BBQ or grill to medium-high heat and cook, using the marinade as a baste, for 5 minutes each side (for medium) or until cooked to your liking. Remove from grill/barbecue and rest for 5 minutes before slicing and serving.
The Pairing: Newstead Brewing Co. 21 Feet 7 Inches Porter
This pairing was the pick of the three for me and I highly recommend. The roasted malt characters of the porter intertwine with the charred crust of the backstrap and bring the sweetness of the marinade that has permeated the lamb to the fore, while the star anise of the five spice cleverly lends itself to the aniseed flavours of the porter.
Garlic & Rosemary Rump Steaks with Mountain Goat Summer Ale
- 6-8 lamb rump steaks
- Salt and pepper for seasoning
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 6 sprigs rosemary
- 1/4 cup olive oil
What to do:
1. Season lamb with the salt and pepper then rub in remaining ingredients. Refrigerate 2 or more hours before cooking.
2. Heat a BBQ or grill to medium-high heat and cook to your liking.
The Pairing: Mountain Goat Summer Ale
The fruity aromatics of the Nelson Sauvin and Motueka hops enhance the herbal character of the rosemary, and, rather unexpectedly, produce something reminiscent of 961 Beer’s Lebanese Pale Ale. The garlic, while adding another flavour element, highlights the sweet juiciness of the lamb which in turn plays contrast to the bittering hops of the ale.
* I am fortunate to have a mother who makes jams, relishes and other preserves regularly to sell at the local visitor information centre. If you can’t find cherry and pineapple jam anywhere, normal cherry will do. 😉