Daniel Puskas cut a dash through some of Sydney's finest restaurants before opening Sixpenny in the neighbourhood of Stanmore. One of Sixpenny's many pleasures is the gentle sense of dislocation between the sleepy, genteel suburban setting and the radical things playing out on the plate. They're frequently marked by genuinely inventive uses of produce, and are always presented with an eye for elegance. "I like to make things appear simple, but once you start to eat a dish you can see how complex it becomes," says Puskas. "The sauce looks like a classic jus, but is in fact purely vegetal." Start this recipe a day ahead to drain the pumpkin juice. Serve with roasted leeks or a simple green salad.
- 2 boneless dry-aged lamb rump (500gm each), skin and fat cap on, removed from fridge 2 hours before cooking to bring to room temperature (see note)
- Grapeseed oil, for brushing
- Green salad (optional), to serve
Caramelised pumpkin juice
- 1 Jap pumpkin (about 3kg)
- 75 gm butter, diced
- 1 tbsp cabernet sauvignon vinegar
- 1 tbsp pumpkin-seed oil (see note)
- 1For caramelised pumpkin juice, preheat oven to 150C. Roast pumpkin whole on a tray lined with baking paper until tender when pressed (1½-2 hours). Handling the pumpkin gently, pierce the base with a skewer, then tie in cheesecloth or a filter bag and hang at room temperature with string over a large bowl to catch the juice (overnight). Gently squeeze bag to crack the skin and release as much juice as possible; you’ll need 500ml-600ml (reserve flesh for another use), then boil juice in a saucepan to reduce to 175ml (10-15 minutes). Meanwhile, cook butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat until foaming and nut-brown (5-6 minutes). Add to pumpkin juice, then add vinegar and pumpkin-seed oil, and cook over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally at first, then continuously as it thickens, until sauce becomes dark brown and coats the back of a spoon (10-15 minutes). Season to taste and keep warm.
- 2Meanwhile, increase oven to 170C. Heat an ovenproof frying pan over high heat. Brush lamb with oil, season with salt and sear in pan until browned all over (3-4 minutes). Transfer pan to oven with lamb skin-side down and roast until internal temperature reaches 52C on a meat thermometer (20-30 minutes). Rest in a warm place for 10 minutes.
- 3Thickly slice lamb, arrange on plates and serve drizzled with caramelised pumpkin juice.
Ask your butcher to dry-age the lamb for you, or use regular lamb rumps instead. Pumpkin-seed oil is available from select delicatessens and essentialingredient.com.au.
Drink Suggestion: Supple young red made from gamay or grenache.