When I visited Commenara and Bernard King’s sheep farm, I couldn’t wait to actually cook the end product. The black-faced sheep are ideally suited to the mountainous country-side. They are only small, about 16-17 kilos dressed weight. The meat is tender and sweet.
Place a large deep-sided pot (like a Chasseur) over medium high heat. Add one tablespoon (20ml) oil. Season lamb with salt and pepper and sear on all sides (optional for pot method). Alternatively preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced).
Either process dry herb crust ingredients together and then add wet, or chop by hand and mix well. Pack crust onto the fat side of the lamb, pressing down very firmly so it adheres to the meat.
Place in pot and cover with lid. (Or place in a baking dish in a pre-heated 180’C oven). Cook for 10 minutes for medium rare or until cooked as desired. Remove to a warm place, cover with foil and allow to rest.
Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add remaining two tablespoons (40ml) oil. Add kumara and stir frequently to cook until golden on all sides. Add mushrooms, stir well and cook briefly until mushrooms are just cooked.
Meanwhile bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add peas and cook briefly. Drain and mash.
Mound crushed peas in the centre of two plates. Surround with kumara and mushrooms and top with herb crusted lamb.
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