Botanic Gardens Restaurant executive chef Paul Baker shows us that licorice can mean much more than chunks of black in a lolly bag.
Almost everybody has eaten liquorice as a lolly. It’s an ingredient that divides people but liquorice (Glycyrrhiza glabra) is something I have really grown to love. This plant is in fact part of the legume family and has its origins in the Middle East and the Mediterranean. The root is the most commonly used part of the plant and having access to an abundance of it in the Adelaide Botanic Gardens I have been able to use it extensively at Botanic Gardens Restaurant, showing its versatility in both sweet and savoury dishes.
Beef short ribs are my go to here as the anise flavour of the root not only helps to bring out the meatiness of the beef rib but from a health perspective, liquorice aids digestion and has anti-inflammatory properties.
The only thing you need with it is Kasim Erkoc’s baby carrots roasted in caraway seeds and buttermilk. It’s a great side which works perfectly with the rib or happily stands on its own. Keep the baby carrot tops – when young and fresh they taste amazing.
Beef short rib in liquorice root, pickled vegetables, lovage and celery leaves
4 beef short ribs, approximately 350g each, bone in
1 celery stick, diced
1 medium carrot, diced
1 small fennel bulb, diced
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic
130g fresh liquorice root*
1 tablespoon fennel seeds
3 star anise
1 teaspoon peppercorns
2 sprigs thyme
700ml red wine
2 litres beef stock
100ml vegetable oil
Handful celery leaves
Handful lovage leaves
2 cups assorted pickled vegetables
*Dried Liquorice root can be substituted
1. Pre-heat oven to 200C.
2. Sear beef ribs in a little oil in a heavy-based pot until browned on all sides. Set aside.
3. In the same pot over medium heat, sweat celery, carrots, fennel and onion until softened.
4. Add garlic, liquorice root, star anise, peppercorns and thyme and cook for a further 2-3 minutes.
5. Deglaze with the red wine, scraping the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and reduce by half.
6. Add beef stock and bring to the boil.
7. Reduce to a simmer and return ribs to the sauce.
8. Cover and place in oven for 2 hours or until the meat starts to fall off the bone.
9. Gently remove ribs from the sauce and reduce until it thickens slightly. Return ribs to the sauce.
10. Serve with pickled vegetables, lovage and celery leaves.
Caraway seed roasted carrots, buttermilk, rye pangrattato, carrot tops
2 bunches baby carrots
1 tablespoon caraway seeds
1 tablespoon honey
50ml extra virgin olive oil
Pinch Olsson’s sea salt
Handful carrot tops
150g toasted rye breadcrumbs
1. Pre heat oven to 225C.
2. Scrub carrots well. No need to peel them.
3. Toss carrots in the caraway seeds, honey, butter, extra virgin olive oil and a good pinch of salt.
4. Place in a roasting tray and bake for about 45 minutes, tossing after the first 20 minutes so they are evenly coated.
5. To serve, pour buttermilk onto the base of the serving dish, followed by carrots.
6. Sprinkle with rye crumbs and roughly chopped carrots tops.
Paul Baker is executive chef at Botanic Gardens Restaurant