Town on a Plate – Mason’s of Bendigo

Head chef and owner of Masons of Bendigo, Nick Anthony makes no bones about what Bendigo would be if it were a dish. His roasted Rockwood Cottage lamb cutlets with pickled shoulder, sherry carrots and land cress salad is a nod to many of the culinary strengths from his hometown.

“This dish encompasses the old Bendigo with the new. Lamb has been showcased in Central Victoria since the late 1800s with the introduction of the Australian Sheep and Wool Show. History shows it’s been a staple of the Bendigo diet throughout the ages, featured regularly on dinner tables. At present, it’s still as popular as ever. Ensuring we source the very best locally produced lamb, combined with suited flavours has proved to be a winning formula. Our diners love knowing where our produce has been sourced from and making direct contact with growers is a part of what Masons is about. PepperGreen Farm is one of those. It’s a not-for-profit enterprise using organic gardening as a way to deliver employment initiatives for people with disabilities. It’s great having it grow right in the heart of Bendigo and also keeps in line with the importance of using seasonal produce. Autumn is the perfect time to combine lamb and land cress. Most of the larger style dishes on our menu are European based drawing from my experiences in London. They can be tricky to prepare and take time but it’s all worthwhile when you sit and enjoy the end result.”


Roasted Rockwood Cottage lamb cutlets, pickled shoulder, sherry carrots and land cress salad

1 boned lamb shoulder; pickled (a quality butcher will happily pickle it for you)

2 x 4 point lamb racks; Frenched (bones that are clean of any fat and meat)

4 carrots

3 onions, peeled

Lamb dish copy for web
Roasted Rockwood Cottage Lamb cutlets, pickled shoulder, sherry carrots and land cress salad.

4 celery sticks

6 garlic cloves

2 bay leaves

1 star anise

4 cloves

6 peppercorns

8 thyme sprigs

Carrot puree: 4 carrots, large, peeled

5 large shallots, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced

100g butter

750ml chicken or vegetable stock

100ml dry sherry

8 heirloom carrots – purple, orange, yellow

extra butter and seasoning

Lamb shoulder – the shoulder needs to be prepared at least a day before serving.

Evenly dice all of the mirepoix vegetables.   In a large pot, place the lamb shoulder and mirepoix, cover with cold water.  If the shoulder lifts above water, cover with greaseproof paper and weigh down lightly with a small plate.  Bring to the boil, skim impurities with a ladle and reduce the heat to a simmer.  Cook until soft and tender (approximately 4 hours) Ensure the lamb is always covered with water –  you may need to top it up throughout the cooking process.  Once cooked, allow the lamb to cool for 1 hour in the pot before removing from the water.  Pull the meat from the fat and mould into a cylinder/log shape with foil or cling film. Ideally the size should be around 2cm in diameter and 32 cm in length.

Refrigerate overnight to set.

Lamb cutlets – cook the lamb 30 minutes before serving

Season the racks with sea salt and pepper

Heat a fry pan, add olive oil and colour the racks on both sides (golden brown is ideal). Roast in a 180 degree oven for approximately 12-14 minutes. Cooking times will vary according to the size of the racks.  Remove from the oven and rest in a warm place for the same amount of time as the cooking time.

Carrot puree – can be made ahead of time and re-heated just before serving

Saute the shallots and garlic in butter until soft.  Add the sliced carrots, season and cook for 5 minutes.  Add stock, bring to boil before reducing heat to a simmer. Simmer until the carrots are soft & stock is reduced by half.  Add the sherry and cook for a further 3 minutes.  Whilst warm, puree the carrots in a blender. Begin by holding back some of the liquid as you want a thick puree.   Add salt and pepper, if necessary, to taste.

Heirloom carrots – these are best prepared just before serving

Carefully peel the carrots in long strokes from top to bottom to ensure quality presentation.  Trim the green stems to retain 2cm.  In a fairly hot pan, add butter and roast until golden brown on all sides.  Season with sea salt and pepper.

To serve

Cut shoulder log into 4 even pieces, unwrap cling film/foil.  Roast in a hot pan with olive oil and brown on one side.  Carefully transfer to an overproof tray and warm through in a 180 degree oven.  Slice lamb racks into 4 cutlets each (8 in total).  Heat the carrot puree, spoon onto plate.  Place the shoulder on a cross angle.  Dance the cutlets and carrots around the shoulder.  Garnish with land cress.

To accompany this dish, Steve Oates of Heathcote Wine Hub recommends:

Tellurian 2012 Grenache Shiraz Mourvedre at $35.00. This classic French blend uses the savoury characters of Grenache and Mourvedre to tone down the shiraz. So you end up with an elegant, rich, savoury wine.  Lifted aromas of plum and wild strawberry with some more meaty notes and a touch of mint.

By Linley Wilkie