A Great Pairing for Red Bean & Lamb Casserole is Elusive

It’s been a long time since we cooked Red Bean and Lamb Casserole, a Supercook favourite. It’s an adaptation of an Iranian dish.

Cubed lamb is casseroled in chicken stock with onions, garlic, tomatoes, kidney beans, turmeric, salt, pepper, lemon juice, coriander and mint. Yoghurt is stirred in at the end and the dish is garnished with parsley. We served with mashed potato and roasted courgettes.

We initially tried to pair the meal with Glorioso Crianza Rioja 2011, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society, but surprisingly the flavours of the lamb casserole did the wine no favours, so we set the wine aside.

We thought a wine with more sweetness might be better and opted for a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red that is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo. We last enjoyed this with a lamb korma.

We detected intense red fruits on the nose with vanilla sweetness, black and red fruits and a slight mocha finish.  A good match, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine.2016-01-30 18.07.10

For the leftovers we decided to switch to a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines that we had enjoyed previously with a beef carbonnade.

We detected black fruits on the nose with vanilla sweetness and intense red and black fruits on the palate. The finish was smooth, peppery and spicy. The wine was a slightly better match than the Rioja, but we were left wondering what wine would have been a really good match.

Aussie Red Better Pairing than Rioja with Turkish Lamb Stew

We enjoyed Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” tv programme last year and we tried his Lamb Kleftiko. A couple of very good pairings with that dish can be found here.

This time we cooked his rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi).

Boned lamb shoulder is cooked with red pepper paste, tomato paste, onion, garlic, green chilli, green pepper, tomatoes, oregano and seasoning. The lamb stew is served on a bed of aubergine purée made from mashed aubergine, milk, flour, Parmesan, lemon juice and seasoning. We served with flatbread.

We opened a bottle of Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva from the Co-op.  A previous bottle of this medium-bodied Spanish red was very good with lamb chops.

There were black fruits on the nose, a vanilla sweetness with mocha and sweet black fruits on the palate. A good match with the meal, but we thought the flavours in the aubergine purée may have detracted a little from the pairing.2016-01-15 18.01.11

We finished off the leftovers with a bottle of Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2014, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. We chose this wine because it had previously made a very good match with lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.

There were brambly fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness on the palate, with blackberry fruit and a milk chocolate and coffee mocha finish. The Shiraz was a better match than the Rioja with this particular combination of Turkish lamb stew and aubergine purée.

Spanish or Australian Red with Slow-Cooked Lamb Korma?

On a cold rainy January day there is nothing better than something cooked in our crockpot and Lamb Korma from the Slow Cook Book was ideal.

Cubed lamb is fried with onions, ginger, garlic and a spice mixture of dried red chillies, cardamon, cinnamon, cloves, black peppercorns, cumin, mace and paprika.  The lamb is then slow-cooked with yoghurt and a little salt.  Double cream is stirred through towards the end of cooking.  The korma is then garnished with coriander and served with pilau rice.  We mopped up the sauce with naan bread.  Delicious.

We opened a bottle of The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.  There was an initial sweetness, followed by intense blackcurrant fruits and a smooth, spicy finish. The wine was a good match with the korma, but we have enjoyed better pairings with this wine, such as this one.2016-01-01 17.31.00

However, we managed to improve on the pairing with the leftovers.  We opened a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Gran Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  This wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo.

We loved its sweet, creamy smooth vanilla red fruits, with a lovely savouriness on the finish.  A very good match with the korma.

Two Reds Not Enhanced by Autumn Game Casserole

We fancied trying Autumn game casserole from the Slow Cook Book.  Mixed game meat such as pheasant, venison and rabbit are slow cooked with onion, carrot, parsnip, fennel and mushrooms in cider and chicken stock.  We garnished with chopped parsley and served with mashed potato.

We weren’t sure what to expect and what would be a good wine pairing.  Whilst there were pleasant savoury and sweet flavours in the casserole, our next using game will involve a red wine sauce.

We sampled two reds with the dish.  The first was The Hundred Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve 2011, a favourite of ours from the Sunday Times Wine Club.IMG_2187.JPG

This full bodied Australian red delivered a slight sweetness, black fruits and a smooth finish, but its flavours were not enhanced by the pairing. See here and here for some better pairings for this wine.

The next wine was a bottle of Castillo de Viñas Crianza, Rioja 2012, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Wine Society made from 90% IMG_2188-0.jpgTempranillo and 10% Graciano.

We detected red fruits on the nose, with flavours of strawberries and a creamy vanilla finish.  A marginally better match, but not great.

 

A Red Rioja is Very Good with Baked Lamb Chops

For a midweek meal we tried the Lamb Chop Bake recipe from the All Recipes UK website.

Lamb chops are sprinkled with rosemary and seasonings and baked with potato wedges, carrots and courgettes. We added some aubergines too. A stock made from a lamb stock cube and tomato purée is poured over. A yummy recipe.

Riojas are usually reliably good with lamb chops. (See here for a great pairing).  We opened a bottle of Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva 2009, a medium-bodied Spanish red from the Co-op.

We detected black fruits on the nose, followed by vanilla oak sweetness on the palate, with creamy black cherries and tobacco hints on the finish.  The wine was a very good match with the baked lamb chops. 

 

French and Spanish Reds Very Good with Lamb Kleftiko

We’ve been watching Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” cookery programme and thought we’d try his lamb kleftiko.  However, we modified the recipe by using lamb shanks instead of leg and we cooked it in the slow cooker.

The lamb shanks were put in the slow cooker along with waxy potatoes, red pepper and tomatoes. We poured lemon juice and olive oil over the lamb and added garlic, oregano and water. We added Feta cheese towards the end. Very tasty.

We decided on a bottle of Christian Moueix Bordeaux 2010, a Merlot-based French red from the Wine Society.  We paired a previous bottle of this wine with lamb shanks and enjoyed it.

There was an initial cherry sweetness followed by flavours of blackberries and dark plums, with smooth tannins.  A very good match with the kleftiko.2015-09-25 19.16.33

We enjoyed the leftovers a couple of days later and tried a bottle of Momo Ribero del Duero 2010, a full-bodied Spanish red also from the Wine Society.

This Tempranillo was inky black in the glass with black fruits on the nose.  We tasted vanilla sweetness and black fruits from this powerful and smooth wine.  It was almost as good with the lamb as the Bordeaux.2015-09-27 19.06.10

A Southern French Red is Excellent with Delia’s Pork Chops with Mushrooms & Crème fraîche

In the tasting notes that came with Domaine de l’Arjolle Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, the Wine Society suggested it would make a perfect pairing with Delia’s Pork Chops Baked with Wild Mushrooms and Crème fraîche, a recipe we have tried before.

Pork chops are fried in butter and cooked with dried porcini mushrooms, Crème fraîche, fresh thyme, open-cap mushrooms, lemon juice, flour and salt and pepper.  We served with grilled courgettes and croquette potatoes.

The medium-bodied Southern French red blend displayed red fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness, red berries and cherries with a nice acidity on the finish.  We agree with the Wine Society that the wine is an excellent match with Delia’s pork chop recipe.2015-07-08 19.43.14

See here for a previous pairing with this wine.

A Red Bordeaux is Very Good with Slow-Cooked Lamb Shanks

2015-07-05 17.52.32We tried Braemoor slow-cooked lamb shanks in red wine and rosemary gravy from Lidl.  These are cooked sous-vide and we served the lamb shanks with mashed potato and green beans. Very quick to prepare and tasty.

We paired the meal with a bottle of Christian Moueix Bordeaux 2010, a French red from the Wine Society.

This medium-bodied Merlot-based claret had an initial sweetness, followed by mixed berry fruit flavours and smooth tannins.

A very good match with the lamb shanks.

A Portuguese Red is Very Good with Barbecued Lamb Chops

2015-06-18 15.51.18We have been making good use of recipes from the Barbecue Bible website lately.  We marinated some lamb chops in Steven Raichlen’s “only marinade you’ll ever need“.  It contains lemon juice, hot pepper flakes, black pepper, salt, lemon zest, garlic, fresh parsley, mixed herbs (we used coriander and basil) and olive oil. Very Mediterranean.

We barbecued the chops and served them with Delia’s Anya Potato Salad, with less salt than recommended and Caesar Salad, also from Barbecue Bible.

We paired the meal with a bottle of Aluado Alicante Bouschet 2011, a medium-bodied Portuguese red from the Sunday Times Wine Club.

We detected mixed berry fruits on the nose and sweetness, spiciness and black fruits, especially cherries on the palate.  Lovely acidity.  A versatile food wine and a very good match with the barbecued lamb.

A Californian Red Blend is Good with Barbecued Jerk Pork

2015-06-11 18.04.04We visited Jamaica a few months ago and brought back with us some Island Spice Jerk Pork rub. The rub contains corn starch, crushed pepper, Jamaican pimento, garlic, onion, breadcrumbs, black pepper, salt, sugar, cumin and Jamaican scotch bonnet pepper.

We coated some pork chops in the rub, grilled them on the barbecue and served them with a mixed green salad.

We thought the pork was reasonably tasty, but didn’t think it was especially hot as indicated on the packet.

We paired the food with a bottle of Fetzer Crimson 2010, a medium-bodied Californian red blend from Tesco made from Zinfandel, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Durif and Petit Verdot.  An enjoyable, easy drinking wine that delivered mixed red and black fruits, with a warm spiciness.  It was a good match with the pork.