The harvesting, cooking and sharing of food is a key part of Matariki celebrations, Kiwi chefs Karena and Kasey Bird tell us.
“An important aspect for us about the rising of Matariki is that this star cluster was used to predict how bountiful the food sources would be for the year to come. Whether it be food from the land, the trees, the rivers or the ocean.
“As a whānau, we wake up early to watch Matariki rise, we of course celebrate Matariki by all gathering together to share a meal. It is a great time to plan ahead for the year to come and reflect on the year that has passed.”
Mānuka Smoked Lamb Leg with Green Lip Mussel Salsa and Kūmara and Watercress Gratin Recipe
- 1 x Silver Fern Farms Lamb leg
For the marinade:
- 1 ½ tbspn honey (melted)
- 1 ½ tbspn brown sugar
- 3 tsp salt
- 1 tsp crushed black pepper
- 4 tbspn olive oil
- Fish Smoker
- ¾ cup Mānuka wood chips
For the Kūmara gratin:
- 6 small orange Kūmara, thinly sliced
- 500ml fresh cream
- 2 cups watercress, chopped
- ½ onion, thinly sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, minced
- ¾ cup grated cheese
- 2 tsp salt
- 1 tsp pepper
For the salsa:
- 8 steamed mussels, roughly chopped
- 2 tsp dijon
- 2 tsp honey
- ⅓ cup fresh herbs, finely chopped (we used chives, parsely and mint)
- 5 small cornichons, diced
- ½ cup olive oil
- 3 tbspn red wine vinegar
- 2 tbspn water
- Salt and pepper to your liking
For the Lamb:
- Preheat oven to 200°C.
- Mix together all of the ingredients for the marinade. Dry the lamb leg off, place in a roasting dish and pour over the marinade.
- Add a small amount of water to the bottom of the roasting tray and roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
- To smoke the lamb, prepare your fish smoker as usual and place the woodchips in the bottom of the smoker. Smoke for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and rest for 15 minutes.
For the Kūmara Gratin:
- Preheat the oven to 175°C.
- Whisk together the cream, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Set a portion of the cheese aside to sprinkle over the top at the end. In an oven dish, layer a quarter of the Kūmara, then watercress and cheese. Keep repeating until the dish is full and finish with one layer of Kūmara. Pour over the cream mix and finish with cheese. Bake for 40 minutes or until the Kūmara is tender.
For the Green Lip Mussel Salsa:
- Mix together all of the ingredients to make the salsa and season to your liking. Serve with the Lamb.