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Aussie Meat Trends

A soupçon of wisdom: Soups and stews with Aussie Lamb

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lamb miso ramen soupFresh off our culinary immersion in San Francisco, Chef Andrew Hunter dishes up his thoughts on cooking soups and stews with Aussie lamb: 

“When it comes to Aussie lamb soups and stews, lamb shoulder is my number one go-to. Shoulder really benefits from long and slow cooking, and it pays you back with fantastic flavor that permeates your dish. Even after long cook-times, it will hold integrity and bite. It browns nicely, with a good fat/lean ratio. You can treat it simply, and Aussie lamb will speak for itself in the best way!” 

“Always start by searing and caramelizing the lamb with a fat that fits your soup. So for something Italian or Mediterranean like minestrone, use olive oil. Then brighten it with a bit of lemon zest, and let it cook to tender in a little tomato broth. For presentation, build your bowl with the lamb, white beans, chopped tomatoes and fresh herbs. Pour your soup broth over the top for a dramatic effect. For broth, I recommend using chicken stock for a nice neutral savoriness; you can cook it with the lamb bone to add some depth and richness without overwhelming it.”

Soups on!

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burnt soupTis the season for #Aussome soups and stews, taking the chill off of whatever weather Mother Nature can dish out. One of our favorites right now is what our mates Chef Josh Balague and Chef Sophina Uong developed on a culinary training day with us. They call it “Burnt Winter Soup with Garlic Lamb,” and in addition to the Aussie lamb, charred and roasted veggies, it has a jasmine tea brodo that gets poured tableside for extra show points. We’ll let Josh tell you about it!

“The backbone of it is the broth. We made a lamb broth and steeped the tea in it, then deepened the flavors even more by adding charred vegetables. The lamb is ground Aussie lamb, stewed in the broth with lots of garlic and then sautéed to brown it. We grilled Chinese mustard along with the onions, carrots and shiitakes. All that goes in the bowl with a little hit of gochujang vinaigrette — just for fun, and to add a bit of heat and acid. Then the broth gets poured over tableside; I like to involve the guest in the “show” where it makes sense.”

It’s the kind of dish that would make sense at Nuri, the concept Chef Balague is co-developing with Ethan Speizer. A casual wine bar targeting a younger crowd, with food inspired by the Far East and Southeast Asia. Let us know when you’re open Josh, and save us a seat!

Meet the farmer: Jim Gaylard

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Jim Gaylard This week we share a chat with Jim Gaylard, a family lamb rancher who recently hosted Evandro Caregnato from the Texas de Brazil restaurant chain on a visit Down Under. Here’s what he had to say about the visit, and about life on Trawalla Pastoral, his mixed operation of lamb, cattle and crop farming about 100 miles west of Melbourne.

I loved meeting Evandro and his family. It was great to see a man equally passionate about the product he uses as I am about producing it. We are always really proud to show chefs who use our product what we do here at Trawalla, and for them to see the environment we raise our lambs in, which gives them the quantity and consistent quality for their restaurants.

Q: 4000 hectares is a very large property — especially for our city dweller American readers! That’s over twice the size of the entire city of San Francisco. As a family farm, how do you manage that, and how many sheep are you raising?

It’s a team effort for sure, between my family and an experienced team of Jackeroos*, we’re like a huge family all working together running 12,000 ewes and producing 14-16,000 lambs per year.

Q: What are some of the sustainability initiatives you have in place or planned at Trawalla Pastoral?

One of the most impactful and yet simple programs we implemented was a series of tree plantations. The shelter provides help with erosion, pasture drying and animal welfare for exposure and shade in the hot summer months.

Q: What’s your philosophy when it comes to animal welfare — what’s the role of the rancher in giving sheep the “good life” under your care?

Animal welfare is always front of mind. Clean water, good shelter and adequate feed are the keys to a successful livestock business, and we pride ourselves on making sure we provide them. We also work hard to reduce stress on the animals, moving and monitoring them with minimal intervention. In the end, if our animals are happy then that makes us happy. If I could take the sheep home on a cold winter’s night, I would, although my wife probably wouldn't like to share the house with a mob of bleating lambs!!

*Aussie slang for a young ranch-hand