lamb belly, turnips, pickled onions and sheeps’ milk yoghurt

Jacob Davey was the Australian young chef of the year 2013, have a look at one of the great lamb share plates he created.

Preparation time: 45 minutes
Cooking time: 8 hours
Skills needed: moderate – hard
Serves: 4


  • 1 lamb belly (approximately 800 grams)
  • 1 kg duck fat
  • 400 g rock salt
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 2 sprigs of rosemary
  • 8 baby turnips
  • 10 ml sherry vinegar
  • 20 ml olive oil
  • 4 pickling onions or small white onions
  • 4 anchovies
  • 1 bunch turnip tops
  • 200 g sheeps milk
  • 10 g vegetable ash**
  • 100ml water
  • 80 ml white wine vinegar
  • 50g sugar
  • 5 white peppercorns
  • 2 cloves
  • 5 sprigs dill
  • salt and pepper for seasoning

method: for the lamb
Blend rock salt, garlic and rosemary in food processor until combined. Place the lamb into a baking tray. Press the salt, garlic & rosemary mixture onto the lamb making sure that you cover all the surfaces. Cover and leave for 45 minutes or longer in the fridge. Rinse the mixture from the lamb and pat dry with a tea towel. Place the lamb into a clean deep baking tray with the duck fat and cook in the oven at 85 degrees C for 8 hours (overnight) or until tender.

Allow to cool slightly in the fat until able to handle being careful not to let it cool too much. When ready, remove the lamb from the fat, place on a shallow metal tray – the tray will need sides to catch any seepage from the pressing – and then place another flat metal tray ontop. Cover with gladwrap and press down with approximately 3 kg of weight which can be tins, bricks or other heavy objects. Refrigerate until firm – approximately 4 hours or overnight.

Once firm, remove from fridge, place the lamb onto a chopping board and slice into 8 x 3cm thick slices.

method: for the pickled onions
Peel the onions. In a medium saucepan combine the water, sugar, vinegar, peppercorns and dill and bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, add the onions and simmer for 12 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the onions to cool in the liquid. Once cool, slice into 3mm slices crossways and chargrill on one side until a golden brown. Separate the slices into individual rings and set aside The onions can be pickled and kept in the liquid up to 12 months beforehand when placed in a sterilised jar and kept in a dark, cook place

method: for the sheeps’ milk yoghurt
Place yoghurt in a cheese cloth/muslin lined fine sieve or chinois, placing over a bowl to allow the yoghurt to drain for 3 hours in the fridge. When ready, remove from the cloth, place in a bowl, add vegetable ash and season to taste. This can be made the night before

method: for the turnip and anchovy puree
Pick the turnip leaves from the stems and wash thoroughly. Blanch leaves for 4 mins in a pot of rapidly boiling water. Remove from the pot, drain well and squeeze out any excess water.
Puree with anchovies until very smooth. Season to taste and set aside. If wanting a silky smooth puree, pass through a fine sieve with a spatula

When ready to serve

method: for the baby turnips
Thoroughly clean turnips, keeping the tops attached. In a shallow pot of boiling water about 3 cm deep, boil turnips for 4 minutes ensuring that the tops remain raw. Once cooked, remove from the water and reserve.

to assemble
In a bowl, dress baby turnips with sherry vinegar, olive oil and salt. Gently heat turnip puree. In a fry pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil and caramelise lamb belly slices on one side until golden which is approximately 4-5 minutes on a medium heat ensuring that the lamb is warmed all the way through. On each plate, spoon the puree with 2 lamb slices atop of the puree and place a turnip on each slice of lamb. Place 5 rings of pickled onion randomly on each plate.

Place a teaspoon of sheeps’ milk yoghurt mixed with the vegetable ash on each slice of lamb.


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