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Wine & Food Affinties

Savory Vegetable and Lamb

olive oil 1 qt. chicken stock or low sodium broth
2 lb boneless lamb stew meat, such as shoulder, cut into 2-inch chunks 5 medium carrots, quartered lengthwise and halved crosswise
salt and freshly ground pepper 3 large celery ribs, halved lengthwise and quartered crosswise
1 large onion, cut into 8 wedges 5 small zucchini, halved lengthwise & crosswise
1 cinnamon stick 10 small pattypan squash, trimmed
1/2 tsp. turmeric 1-15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
pinch of crumbled saffron threads  

Heat 1 Tblsp of oil in a large heavy saucepan. Generously salt and pepper the lamb. Sauté the meat in 3 batches over moderately high heat until browned, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to a platter. Add 1 teaspoon of oil to the pan and cook the onion over moderate heat until browned on both sides, about 4 min. Transfer to the platter.

Return the meat to the saucepan. Add the cinnamon stick, turmeric, saffron, chicken stock and 1 quart of water and bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce the heat to moderately low and simmer until the meat is tender, about 1 hour. (The stew can be made ahead to this point and refrigerated overnight. Rewarm before proceeding.)

Add the carrots, celery and onion wedges to the saucepan and return to a simmer. Cook until carrots are almost tender, about 15 minutes. Add the zucchini, pattypan squash and chickpeas and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes longer. Discard the cinnamon stick and season the stew with salt and pepper. Transfer the stew to a bowl and serve. Serves 10. Serve with a good Pinot Noir, red Burgundy, Provence red, Bordeaux, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot.

Rack of Lamb Hadlee with Red Currant Sauce

2 racks of NZ spring lamb, about 9 chops each 1 Cup red currants
2 Tbl whole-grain mustard 1/2 C dry white wine
1 Tbl Orange Juice 2 Tbl. honey
bread crumbs 2 Tbl. each mango & O.J. concentrate
finely chopped fresh parsley 1/2 C chicken stock
Sauce: 2 whole cloves

Preheat oven to 400 F. Mix together the mustard and orange juice. Mix together the bread crumbs and parsley. Add mustard sauce. Spread over top of each rack of lamb. Roast the racks for 10-15 min (rare to medium rare). Remove from oven, cover with foil and allow to stand for 5-10 min. Meanwhile, simmer all sauce ingredients in a pot for 15 minutes. Remove cloves and press the sauce through a sieve. Simmer 5 more min to reduce. Spoon a little on each plate and top with 4 chops. These are easily separated by carving between the ribs. Garnish with a sprig of rosemary. Serves 6. Serve with a big Pinot Noir or top red Burgundy, a good Bordeaux, California Cabernet, or California Merlot. Don't spend all that money on the meat and pair it with a wimpy, inexpensive wine. (Recipe courtesy of Pat Churchill of Wellington, New Zealand)

Lamb Chops with Tart Tomatoes and Crispy Vegetables

12 New Zealand Spring Lamb loin or rib chops 4 Tbl. wine vinegar
12 very ripe tomatoes Crispy Raw Vegetables:
2 large onions   4 oz. zucchini
1 sprig of thyme or a pinch of dried thyme   4 oz. mushrooms
1 dried bay leaf   4 oz. tomatoes
1/2 bunch chives, finely chopped   24 basil leaves or mint leaves, finely chopped
2 Tbl. walnut oil   1/4 cup vinaigrette made from walnut oil, wine vinegar, salt

Immerse tomatoes in boiling water for 20 seconds. Run them under cold water. Remove from water. Remove skin and seeds. Cut in large pieces and set aside. Chop onions finely, brown 3 minutes in hot walnut oil; add thyme, bay leaf and chives, then the tomatoes. Cook rapidly, stirring often, until there is almost no liquid left. Add vinegar and cook over low heat 3-4 minutes until sauce-like consistency. Set aside. Prepare the crispy vegetables by dicing them finely and marinating in the vinaigrette for 3 minutes. Fry the lamb chops in a mixture of oil and butter for 3-4 minutes per side, to taste, or broil, rotating for even cooking. Spread the tomato sauce on serving plates and place the lamb chops on top; arrange the vegetables around them. Sprinkle with herbs. Serves 4. Serve with a richly flavored Bordeaux, a Cabernet, a big Pinot Noir, or better red Burgundy.

Lamb in Pita Pockets

Lamb:   lettuce leaves, thinly sliced
  1 lb + lean lamb roast Citron Salsa:
  1 clove garlic, crushed   Finely grated zest of 2 limes
  1/4 C oil   3 kiwi fruit, peeled and chopped
  1/4 C fresh lime juice   1 small ripe tomato, diced
  4 pita breads   1 Tbl. fresh coriander, chopped
  1 red pepper, thinly sliced  

Combine garlic, oil and lime juice. Marinate the lamb at least 3 hours in this mixture, refrigerated. Drain well and roast for about 20 minutes at 375 F or grill. Mix together the salsa ingredients. Warm the pita pockets. Carve the cooked lamb. Fill the pockets with the lamb, red pepper slices and lettuce. Top with the Citron Salsa. Serves 4. Serve with a fairly substantial red such as a Cabernet Sauvignon, a good Bordeaux, an Australian Shiraz, or a Rhone.

Lamb Spiedini

1 lb. ground lamb 1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 c. onion, minced 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
1/2 c. fresh bread crumbs 1/2 loaf whole wheat country style bread, cut in 1 inch cubes
1/2 c. Pecorino romano cheese, grated 1/2 c. olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped 20 wooden skewers, 5” length
1 egg, beaten  

In a mixing bowl, combine lamb, onion, bread crumbs, cheese, rosemary, salt and pepper. Lightly rub your hands with olive oil and roll the lamb into one-inch balls. Thread three meatballs onto each skewer, alternating with two cubes of bread. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat with 1/2 c. olive oil. Arrange as many skewers as will comfortably fit across the bottom of the pan. Cook for a minute or two until brown and crisp, and turn to brown the other side. Repeat with remaining skewers and add more olive oil to the pan if needed. Serves 6 as an appetizer. Over rice, it would serve 3-4 as an entrée. Serve with a hearty red wine such as a full-throttle Barbera, a Cabernet, or a Rhone or Shiraz.

Deviled Rack of Lamb

2 racks of lamb (2-2 1/2 lbs each) 1/2 tsp. kosher or sea salt
2 Tbl. vegetable oil 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tsp. coarse-grained mustard 3/4 C cracker crumbs (saltines, matzoh, or dry bread crumbs), finely ground
1 tsp. dried rosemary, crushed  

Place oven rack on center level. Heat oven to 500 degrees F. Place the racks of lamb in a 14x12x2-inch roasting pan. Whisk together the oil, mustard, rosemary, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Coat both sides of the racks with the mixture. Pat on a layer of bread or cracker crumbs. Roast 20 minutes for rare. Let stand 5 minutes before carving. Serves 6. Serve with a hearty red such as a robust Bordeaux, Cabernet, or Australian Shiraz. A run-of-the-mill California Merlot won't stand up to this dish, but a good one ($20+) will. Don't spend all that money on the meat and pair it with a wimpy, inexpensive wine.

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