Sounds Japanese? It's actually a New Zealand Herb. Horopito also is known as New Zealand pepper tree, winter’s bark, or red horopito.
Horopito is particularly unusual in that its flowers come directly off the older stems rather than from among the leaves. It’s not surprising that New Zealand has such unique flora and fauna. Situated at the bottom of the South Pacific, plants were able to evolve in isolation from other landmasses in a climate ranging from subtropical to glacial.
A Prehistoric Herb
How did the prehistoric Horopito shrub survive to this day? What qualities preserved it virtually unchanged for more than 65 million years?1 This is how old some of the fossilized remains in New Zealand have been dated, and in this plant’s superb natural chemical defense system lies the likely answer. Horopito developed antioxidants that allowed it to survive millennia of climate changes—the extremes of ice ages, global warming and volcanic dust winters that wiped out most of the early plant species. More importantly for us it developed chemicals in its leaves that offered excellent resistance to microbes like fungi and bacteria, as well as to larger creatures like insects and dinosaurs
How to serve Horopito:
Horopito Crusted - with Duchess Sweet Potatoes (Maori Pepper)
8 x 100g venison steaks from a denver leg set (rump, topside, silverside or round)150 ml Veal glaze (venison glaze if you have access to bones)
2 teaspoon Black peppercorns
2 teaspoon Horopito
5 teaspoon Sea salt flakes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 bunch baby onions
1 fresh pomegranate for adding to the veal glazeHand full walnuts lightly roasted & crushed
To make the pepper crust, combine black pepper, salt, horopito and sugar in a spice grinder and grind until fine or just a little chunky. Coat the venison steaks and sear in a hot pan with a touch of oil on both sides. Rest. Don’t overcook as it is a lean meat so it is best eaten rare/medium rare.Toss baby onions in a little oil and salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender and golden.Serve the venison steaks with the Duchess Sweet Potato, Pomegranate Jus, roast baby onion and sprinkle with walnut.*Make your own venison glaze by roasting off bones and venison trim, in a large pot cover with water, add peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley stalks, chopped celery, onion and carrot. Simmer for several hours skimming when impurities rise to the top. Strain and reduce until thick and coating consistency.
3 tbsp spiced vinegar or fresh lemon juice
½ cup Grove Horopito Avocado Oil
½ tsp mustard
½ tsp sugar
1 clove crushed garlic
salt and pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients in a jar and shake well to combine. Store in the fridge.Excellent with summer salad greens or try drizzling over salmon or chicken before grilling or pan frying.
Rack of Lamb with Horopito Mustard
Pre-heat the oven to 200°C. Rub each rack with 1/2 clove of garlic,spread each rack with 1 tablespoon of Horopito Mustard and sprinklewith orange zest. Stand the interlocking racks in a roasting pan, placing a sprig of rosemary over each (remove after cooking). Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into the pan and bake for 20-30 minutes (racks must be at room temperature before cooking).Sauce: Place all ingredients in a microwave proof bowl, mix tocombine. When the lamb racks have been removed form the oven,microwave the sauce on high for about 45 seconds until just warmed through. Place racks on plates and spoon sauce neatly on. Serve with kumara or potato mash, orzo pasta or oven baked potatoes.