This meal was served in the historic Brown family home, over a conversation about the King Valley homeland.
The old brick homestead has long held the role of welcoming visitors to the Brown Brothers estate, just as its owners have for 128 years.
“The house was built by my great-grandfather in the 1920s,” Caroline Brown says, “and then my grandparents (Patricia and John) moved there in the 1960s, and lived there until they moved o the property in the ‘80s.”
The Epicurean Centre restaurant, which now sits next to the beautiful old home, has added to the sense of family. “We want to share that feeling of home with everyone who visits the site,” says Caroline. “We have a beautiful old recipe book that we put together after Patricia, my grandmother, passed away, and Douglas Elder (our Executive Chef ) often uses some of her ideas.”
Douglas loves to take inspiration from many sources, and in this recipe he’s harking back to old-fashioned home-style comfort food. “This is the sort of food I love to cook,” he says. “It’s simple, hearty, tasty food that makes you feel at home; the smell lls the house and there are leftovers for the next couple of nights.”
The dish is also the epitome of the King Valley, says Douglas: “It’s the sort of dish you’d see at one of the King Valley’s events, like Weekend Fit For a King or La Dolce Vita.”
After all, it’s the valley itself that provides a sense of home to the Browns and their visitors. Caroline says, “The company will continue to grow and the houses and the property change over time, but it’s Milawa that remains our home and our grounding point.”
Orecchiette with lamb ragu and pecorino
500g packet of dried orecchiette 1.5kg lamb, diced
375ml white wine
3 onions, diced
3 celery sticks, diced
6 garlic cloves, minced
300ml chicken stock
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 x 400g tinned tomatoes, pureed with a hand blender bay leaf
pecorino cheese to finish
Marinate your diced lamb in the white wine for one hour. Remove the meat from the wine, setting aside the wine.
Brown the meat in a hot pan, set aside.
Sweat down the onion, celery and garlic in some olive oil until soft and shiny.
Add the tomato paste and cook down for a minute.
Add the white wine, turn up to full heat and reduce until there is very little liquid left.
Add the stock, tomato, bay leaf, thyme and meat and bring to the boil.
Turn to a very low simmer and cook for 2-3 hours until the meat is tender. Add some extra stock if the ragu becomes too thick.
Visit Brown Brothers’ Patricia’s Table restaurant