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Springtime celebrations

Posted: March 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 23, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Roasted leg of American lamb

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Spring is full of celebrations and rich tradi­tions that bring the family around the table for special meals. A savory leg of lamb or a dish with succulent lamb loin chops is a delicious way to enjoy a flavorful meal, no matter the occasion.
American lamb pairs beautifully with a variety of wines. Wineries, such as Kendall-Jackson, have a wide selection of wines that bring out lamb’s mild, meaty flavor and make it even more irresistible.

Tips for roasting lamb

*    A bone-in leg of lamb cooks faster than a boneless leg of lamb. Use a good meat thermometer to deter­mine doneness:
Rare    135°F
Medium Rare    145°F
Medium    160°F

*    You can sear the lamb roast first in a hot 450°F
oven for 15 minutes to seal in the juices and then reduce oven temp to 325°F and continue roasting for approxi­mately 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until internal temperature reaches 5 to 10 degrees less than your desired temperature.

*    Remove roast from oven and let rest for 20 minutes before serving. This allows the meat’s juices to settle and make carving easier. (As the meat rests, the internal temperature will rise 5 to 10 degrees.)

*    Carve the roast against the grain so the meat will be tender. A naturally tender cut like leg should be sliced about one half inch thick.

To order a free “Spring Celebrations American Lamb” cook booklet, visit www.americanlamb.com.

Choosing the right wine
*    Complement. Similarly flavored foods and wines complement each other.
Example: Citrus-based sauce and a lemony, lightly oaked Chardonnay (such as Kendall-Jackson Avant Chardonnay or Chablis from the Burgundy region of France).
Example: Mushrooms with the earthy flavors of Pinot Noir.

*    Contrast. Contrasting flavors balance each other.
Example: Spicy foods and sweet wines, such as Thai food and an off-dry Riesling.
Example: Salty foods and crisp, high-acid wines such as Sauvignon Blanc or Champagne.

*    Match the tenor. Match a food’s weight and intensity to similar elements in wine.
Example: Delicately flavored foods call for delicate varieties of wine, such as Pinot Gris or Sauvignon Blanc.
Example: Weighty textures and intense flavors are a better match for more powerful wines, such as matching herb-crusted roast lamb with a robust Syrah or Merlot.
To learn more about food and wine pairings, visit www.kj.com.

Roasted leg of American lamb
Serves 8
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot.

    1     boneless leg of lamb,
            approximately
            6 pounds

For the marinade:
    4     garlic cloves, smashed
    2     lemons, zested
    1/2     tablespoon fresh thyme,
            chopped
    1     tablespoon freshly
            ground black pepper
    2     tablespoons dried
            oregano
    1     tablespoon fresh
            rosemary, chopped
    1     bunch parsley, chopped
    1     cup olive oil
    1/4     cup kosher salt

In small bowl, combine all ingre­dients.

Rub mixture on leg of lamb.

Cover with plastic wrap and mari­nate overnight.

Bring lamb to room temperature and sprinkle with salt.

Preheat the oven to 375°F.

Roast for one hour and 15 minutes or until a thermometer inserted into center of leg reads 125°F to 130°F.

Cover loosely with aluminum foil and allow to rest for 20 minutes.

Fresh mint and garlic marinated grilled American lamb loin chops
with roasted fingerling potatoes and green beans
Serves 4
Serve with Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Syrah.

    4     cloves garlic, minced
    1     shallot, minced
    1/2     bunch parsley leaves, chopped
    1/2     bunch mint leaves, chopped
    1/2     cup extra virgin olive oil
    2     tablespoons red wine vinegar
    1/2     teaspoon kosher salt
    1     teaspoon black pepper
    8     lamb loin chops

In bowl, add garlic, shallot, herbs, olive oil, vinegar, salt and pepper. Whisk to combine.
Place lamb chops into a bowl and add 3/4 cup of marinade (reserve remaining marinade for sauce). Mix to coat thoroughly. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
Preheat grill to medium-high heat. Grill lamb to desired temperature (medium-rare is recommended). Remove from heat and allow the lamb chops to rest for five minutes. Drizzle chops with the reserved mint and garlic sauce. Serve with roasted potatoes and green beans.

For potatoes:
    1/4     cup olive oil, divided
    1 1/2     pounds fingerling
            potatoes, cut in half
            lengthwise
    4     garlic cloves, crushed
    1     teaspoon fresh thyme,
        chopped
    1     tablespoon kosher
        salt
    1     teaspoon freshly
        ground black pepper

Place a sheet pan in the oven and preheat to 425°F. In a bowl, combine 1/8 cup of olive oil and remaining ingredients. Toss to coat potatoes. Pour 1/8 cup olive oil onto hot sheet pan and allow to heat for one minute. Place potatoes onto hot sheet pan and roast for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

For green beans:
        Kosher salt
    1/2     pound green beans,
        stems removed
    1     tablespoon butter
        Freshly ground black
        pepper

In large pot, add one tablespoon salt and two quarts water; bring to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, approximately four minutes. Remove beans from water, place into bowl with butter and toss to coat.
Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

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