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NOURISH | feature

turn up the

heat RECIPES Josh Kerr | PHOTOGRAPHY Holly Marie Russell

The wood fire oven takes pride of place at Dough Bros on Victoria Street in Hamilton both in creating a gorgeous warm atmosphere as well as on the menu. Chef Josh Kerr shares a couple of great spring recipes that are enhanced by the use of the wood fired oven as well as some useful tips. LIGHTING YOUR FIRE Everyone does this different, out of all the staff here at Dough Bros I don't think I’ve seen two people do it the same way, so whatever works for you, but here are some helpful tricks. + Treat your oven fire like you would starting any other fire: start with kindling and small wood and work your way up. + While your kindling is starting, have your next lot of bigger wood sitting to the side in the oven. This will heat them up and help them to catch when you add them to your fire. + If you cook pizzas (or anything you want to get a nice colour on the bottom), build and leave your fire and coals in the spot where you’re going to cook. Then when you’re ready to cook, move your fire back and place your food where the fire was. This will get the bricks underneath nice and hot and in turn give your food a crisp base.

As the steak cooks you will get some fat dripping down onto your coals and some flames lick up. This isn't anything to worry about, in fact it’s a good thing. This will help to get a great smoky flavour in your steak. If, however, you get a flame start directly on your steak, move your steak out of the flame and over some other hot coals, or remove it until the flame dies down and then continue cooking. Now you have a nice seared steak, remove it from the oven and place it on a tray, push your fire back and stoke it. You now can put your tray in the oven and roast your steak to your preferred temp. Rest in a warm spot wrapped in foil for at least 10 minutes, carve and serve.

COOKING A STEAK IN A WOOD FIRED OVEN Once you've got a nice hot fire going, drag it to the mouth of the oven making sure to bunch the coals up so you have a high heat to grill with. Pat your steak dry with a paper towel, brush with olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Place your steak on an old wire rack and put the rack on top of the coals. You may need to dish the coals to make some space between them and the meat. We are only trying to get some colour on the steak at this stage, so we’re looking for a fast, intense cook. You will need to keep an eye on it and check regularly as the cooking time will depend on the heat in your coals.

SOME HELPFUL TIPS ON COOKING STEAK + Pick a cut of meat with a bone, this will help it hold up to the high heat of direct coals. I’m using OP rib (bone in rib cut) from Magills Butchery. + Place your steak on a rack uncovered in the fridge over night. This will start to dry the very outside of the meat, helping to get that nice colour while searing. + Remember to turn food in the oven. There is a very hot heat source coming from one spot in a wood fired oven so turning your food regularly will help to cook it evenly. OTHER HELPFUL TIPS *Have a look around local junk shops and markets. You’ll find all sorts of old kitchen equipment like old resting racks to cook your steak on.

*As a general rule I normally try and rest my meats for at least half their cooking time. *When picking recipes to try in your wood fired oven, look for ones that will show off the smoke and wood flavours. Jamaican cuisine is a good place to start. Alsouse recipes that suit fast high heats. Trying to slow cook or control the temp of a wood fire is just asking for a headache. Stick to fast heavy roasting or heavy hearty sauces that will hold up. Dough Bros 250 Victoria Street Hamilton www.doughbros.co.nz

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