I had a first hand experience recently about the extreme skills involved with expertly carving a lamb when I attended the Chophouse Butcher’s Masterclass. Now I’ve been to the supermarket and am just mad for a good butcher shop, but I’d never seen how the animal goes from a whole beast into all of the different parts we are more familiar with, all perfectly packaged or laid out on display in a cabinet. Like lamb chops, on my favourites list, or a lamb shoulder, perfect for roasting, or even the back strap, ideal for a quick sear on the BBQ and throwing in a summer salad.
Chef Scott Alfonso who heads the team at Chophouse in Perth was resident teacher for the night and ready to school our intimate assembled group in the art of butchering. Before the knives came out we first heard the story of Dorper Lamb.
The Dorper is a fast growing meat producing sheep. It was bred by crossing a Dorset Horn sheep from Britain with a Persian sheep form Iran in the 1930’s. The breed was introduced to Australia in 1996 and is now the country’s fastest growing sheep breed.
Dorpers are shedders, and they’re attractive to local producers because shearing and muelsing requirements are minimal. They are non-selective grazers and adapt well to Australian conditions. Dorper Lambs grow rapidly thanks to the abundant supply of milk from their mothers and their ability to graze at an early age. The lambs show good maturity at 4-6 months of age, ensuring tenderness and a superior flavour.
Inherent characteristics of the breed such as rapid growth rate, good muscling and an ability to produce low fat scores makes for a great-tasting prime lamb.
It certainly looked the impressive animal, laid out on a sheet of plastic at the end of the table. Throughout the demonstration we all watched enthralled as Chef Scott expertly carved up the lamb into the cuts we had outlined on our very helpful handouts. There is such skill involved, knowing exactly where to cut and tricks of the trade to make that process easier, it was captivating to see. A few eager punters even got hands on and gave it a go, which class attendees are welcomed and encouraged to do.
Then once we had the disassembled lamb in front of us it was time to start eating. Well not straight away I suppose. The tenderloin, once removed, had been sent straight to the kitchen to whip up some Spiced Kibbeh on Croute, which proved to be the freshest lamb tartare I’d ever eaten. Well if I was honest I hadn’t eaten any lamb tartare before that I could recall, only ever beef, but this was a taste sensation, fresh and liberally seasoned with middle eastern spices before a spoonful was quenelled onto a crisp bread. It was delicious, just so much flavour and quite the experience for the meat to have been carved, prepared and plated to us in such a short space of time. As fresh as it gets!
With the butchery display finished the other dishes we were served had been prepared with other lamb.
- Lamb Neck Empanada with Salsa Verde
- Smoked Shoulder Croquette with Buttermilk and Goats Cheese
- Lamb Shank and Bean Salad with Crème Fraiche
- Seared Rack and Pressed Belly with Herb, Anchovy and Parmesan
The empanadas were filled with shredded lamb, which paired so well with the vibrant salsa verde. The croquettes also had an abundance of flavour and a real rich smokiness. And the main dish was a real tribute to the Dorper Lamb. Done three ways, there was a seasoned lamb belly, a succulent cutlet and hiding in the salad was a shredded lamb shank! It was a lamb lovers paradise!
This class is informative and for meat lovers it is a real eye opener to the skills of a butcher. It can be hands on if you want it to be or sit back and appreciate the experts work. You then get to enjoy a delicious dinner and a glass or two of very choice Pinot Noir. So why not round our your meat loving mates and head along!
My thanks to Chophouse for the invitation!
Butchers Masterclass @ Chophouse Perth
- Term 1. Lamb Masterclass Dorper Lamb Fee.
- $120 per person
- Class size. 10-12 Pax Menu.
- As per menu above, including 2012 Warramate Pinot Noir for lamb
- Bookings Essential 7 days, Evening Classes only.
- **Day classes upon availability
- Start date: Classes available from November 16th
- **for smaller groups (2-4pax), Chophouse Perth will be running Quarterly sessions, place your name down for the waitlist and we will let you know when the next class is available so you don’t miss out!
For all enquiries contact Chophouse Perth:
Mon -Fri 12pm – 12am
Saturday 6pm- 12am (not open for lunch)
1300 246 748