The Dish: Irish chef Noel McMeel

Acclaimed Irish chef Noel McMeel grew up on the family dairy farm and his mother's traditional home cooking was his first culinary inspiration. He trained in Northern Ireland and the U.S., working in some of this country's most renowned restaurants, including Le Cirque in New York, and Chez Panisse in Berkeley, California. Then he headed back home. Now he's executive head chef at the award-winning Lough Erne Resort and author of the book "Irish Pantry," with recipes for baked goods and other treats. 

Here are some of McMeel's signature recipes: 

Mixed carrot mash

Ingredients

200g peeled carrots (mirepoix size)
200g peeled parsnips (mirepoix size)
30g butter
salt and white pepper 

Directions

1. Boil the carrots and parsnips in separate pots until tender. Mash and crush to create a rough puree mix add the butter and season (if the mix is too wet add a little potato starch to bind)

Cabbage parcels 

Ingredients

50 green outer Leaves medium savoy cabbage
20 rashers of smoked back bacon, rinds removed and cut into lardoons
50ml vegetable oil
25ml white balsamic vinegar
2 kg pigs cawl (Crepinette)
100g butter
Pepper to taste 

Directions

1. Blanch the Cabbage Leaves in boiling salted water and refresh immediately.

2. Chiffonade the remainder of the cabbage hearts Heat a frying pan until very hot and fry the lardons until crisp. Add the cabbage butter and balsamic vinegar and mix with bacon, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and cook slowly for 5-10 minutes. Season and set aside too cool. Prepare the cabbage ball.

3. Lay down a clean kitchen cloth then Lay down a blanched cabbage leaf 3in square, season the leaf and fill with 1 table spoon of cabbage and bacon mixture roll around the cloth to form a small ball and tight but try to keep the juices inside. 

4. Lay one sheet of pigs cawl 3in square on a lightly oiled bench and roll around the cabbage ball to keep the whole thing together. When needed for service brush with a little clarified butter and steam for 4-5 minutes serve immediately.

Roast rack of Irish mountain lamb

Ingredients

2 each of 4 to 6-bone rack of lamb 
4 tbsp rapeseed oil
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped (I used dried)
1 tbsp dijon mustard (will increase this next time to 2 tbsp)
1 tbsp dried thyme
1 tbsp dried parsley
1 pint beef stock 
Salt 
Pepper 

Directions

1. Remove all the trim from between the bones. Remove the fat from the back of the rack, leaving just a little to flavour the meat while it cooks.

2. Remove all the trim from between the bones. Remove the fat from the back of the rack, leaving just a little to flavour the meat while it cooks.

3. Preheat oven to 180°C. While the oven is preheating, heat a frying pan on a high heat. Add some rapeseed oil and the lamb rack, meat side down and brown well. Take approximately 2 minutes, then using tongs, flip it over and brown the other side for another 2 minutes. This is to add a rich caramelised flavour to the meat.

4. Place in a roasting tin and roast for 20- 30 minutes. The best way to test the doneness and not overcook it is to use a meat thermometer as your oven and size of lamb rack may differ from mine. Insert a meat thermometer into the thickest part of the meat, and when it reads 70°C, it's a perfect medium rare. Remove from oven and leave to rest for 15-20 minutes before carving into cutlets and serving.

5. Using the same pan used to brown the meat, add the meat stock. Scrape the brown bits on the pan with a wooden spoon as well as the juices left on the roasting tin from the roast rack of lamb and simmer and reduce to a sauce-like consistency.