Horopito lamb loin with smoky kumura mash and wilted watercress

Our Matariki inspired lamb dish takes some beautiful NZ lamb from ovation and spices it up with native horopito. Kumara, a Kiwi staple is given a smoky flavour, reminiscent of a hangi. Finally a very traditional green, watercress, is wilted and served on the side. Matariki is a harvest celebration, a time to give thanks and share a meal with loved ones. In the spirit of preserving and treasuring everything we even made kumara crisps out of the peel.

  • 4 x Ovation Lamb Loins
  • 1 tbsp. sesame seeds
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp freshly cracked pepper
  • 2 tsp ground horopito

Smoked Kumara Mash

  • 500g Kumara (I used an orange one but any will work)
  • 1/3 cup cream
  • 30g butter

(You will also need wood chips and a wok with lid)


To make the smoky kumara mash, scrub the kumara and then peel. Don’t discard the peels.
Chop the kumara into 6-8 pieces and place in a pot. Cover with water and add a good pinch of salt and simmer.
While the kumara is cooking smoke the cream and butter. If you are a BBQ fanatic you can do this on the bbq. AS it’s winter and the bbq is firmly ticked away I did it in an old wok. Soak a couple of handfuls of wood chips in water over night, or at least an hour. Place these on the bottom of your wok, cover with the lid and heat. Place the cream and butter in a small metal bowl and when the smoke has built up in your wok quickly lift the lid and place the bowl of cream inside. Cover quickly with the lid and smoke the cream for 5 minutes. I turned the heat of at this point and left the cream in there until the kumara was cooked.

Drain the cooked kumara and mash before stirring in the smoked cream and butter. Re-heat just before serving. Place the kumara peel on a lined baking tray, drizzle with a little oil and sprinkle of salt and bake for 5-8 minutes or until crispy. This is a great way to reduce waste and these can be stored for a few days in an airtight container. To cook the lamb, take it out of its packet and pat dry with a paper towel and allow it to stand for 25-20 minutes at room temperature. Mix together the sesame seeds, salt, pepper and horopito. Pre heat the oven to 180C. Heat a large pan and add a dash of oil. Sprinkle the lamb loins liberally with the spice mix then sear for 3 minutes on one side, then 2 on the other before placing in the oven for 4 minutes. Remove from the oven and rest for 5 minutes before slicing. While the lamb is resting wilt the watercress. Remove all the large stalks. Add a chopped garlic clove along with a dash of oil to a pan and heat. After approx. 30 seconds add the watercress and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes or until the watercress starts to wilt. You may have to add a dash of water and pinch of salt to help.

Serve slices of the lamb loin on a bed of the smoky kumara with the wilted spinach on the side and some crispy Kumara peel on top.

Note this dish has not sauce. If you feel it needs one try serving it with a very Kiwi Tamarillo chutney.

*Look for Horopito in good food stores. We used Kinaki variety


When the Matariki star cluster rises into the skies, it signals a month-long nation-wide celebration of the Maori New Year.
The Maori New Year signals a time for connecting with and giving thanks to the land, sea and sky and for turning to the future and celebrating new beginnings

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