Posted by: edibleplanet | July 8, 2010

The Ultimate New Zealand Dish

Our shooter's sandwich

Our shooters' sandwich

We like a challenge and so we decided to enter the food blogger competition held in conjunction with Rick Stein’s Food Odyssey New Zealand shows. We do find ultimatums hard. We get asked a lot what is our favourite cuisine or our favourite recipe. It’s a hard question to answer because we don’t have a favourite—good food is good food. We also go through phases. Karl is on a bit of a Middle Eastern thing at the moment, while Fiona is making a variety of interesting breads. Trying to choose an ultimate New Zealand dish was tricky. In the end we decided to make a dish that was in keeping with winter, used seasonal ingredients and worked well with the Kiwi lifestyle. It is also fun and not pretentious which we think is a big part of being Kiwi.

We made Rewena bread using a fermented potato starter that we made a few days in advance. You could do this dish with any crusty bread but we liked the idea of using a local bread from Maori tradition. The bread has a sweet tang like sourdough.

We bought some rump steak from the local butcher. We chose beef because while lamb is often seen as THE New Zealand meat, we Kiwis eat on average three times more beef than lamb. We seasoned it with salt and some foraged horopito and cooked it medium rare. Ground horopito as mentioned in an earlier post gives a pepper flavour but with the slow build up like chilli and a strange tongue numbing finish. It seemed a good thing to use in an ultimate Kiwi Dish because it is totally unique to New Zealand. We kept the flavours simple to not overpower the horopito. We bought some mushrooms from the local fruit and vegie shop and cooked them up in some butter—New Zealand made of course! Then the fun part.

We hollowed out the Rewena bread and put the whole cooked steak inside along with the mushrooms. Then we wrapped it up in tin foil and weighted it down for several hours so the juices from the the steak and the mushrooms would soak into the bread. It’s called a shooter’s sandwich and has British heritage, like many of us who call New Zealand home.

We thought this was the ultimate New Zealand dish because while using Kiwi ingredients, it is also perfect for taking along as lunch for skiing trips, bush walks and the other outdoor activities we all love so much. You can do the weighing down phase in the car under all your gear or at the bottom of your pack. You don’t need to worry about squashing your lunch.

Once it was pressed, it was ready to be sliced up. The bread soaked up all the delicious juices and we had moist, tender beef in the middle of our bread. We served it with a simple salad of grated raw carrot and swede with lemon juice, which Fiona’s Mum used to make years ago. Light, sweet and fresh, it was a nice counter to the robust flavours of meat and mushrooms.

So that is our ultimate New Zealand dish, made from tasty, local, seasonal ingredients. It can be eaten on top of a mountain or shared with good friends in the sunshine. Isn’t that really what great food is all about?



  1. Lovely, a sort of Kiwi version of pan bagnat! Where did you get the horopito? I had to make do with rather generic ingredients as I don’t live in NZ at the moment but it was a fun challenge ^_^

  2. We foraged ours and then dried it in the oven, but we now also sell some in our shop 😉

  3. Ciao, first time here, from the Lunchbox Production site, and happy to discovered other NZ blogs. Will visit again, I am interested in foraging, although only plants 🙂



  4. Thanks for visiting. Foraging is definitely fun – even if not always successful! We have also made a sweet and sour sauce from some haw berries we foraged and some jelly and fruit paste from some sort of quince/crab apple fruit.

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