SOURCE: American Lamb Board & Kendall-Jackson Wines

March 14, 2011 05:00 ET

Springtime Celebrations

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - March 14, 2011) - (Family Features) Spring is full of celebrations and rich traditions that bring the family around the table for special meals. A savory roasted 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 American 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 lamb 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 lamb roast against the grain so the meat will be tender. A naturally tender leg of lamb cut should be sliced about one half inch thick.

Visit American Lamb to order a free "Spring Celebrations American Lamb" cook booklet, and to find more recipes.

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, Kendall-Jackson offers a detailed food and wine pairings list.

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 1 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.

American Lamb Sandwich with Tzatziki Sauce  
      Leftover roasted leg of lamb
       
For tzatziki sauce:  
  1/2   English cucumber,
       peeled, cut in half
       and seeded
  1   tablespoon fresh dill
  2   tablespoons fresh mint
  8   ounces Greek yogurt
  3   garlic cloves, minced
  1/2   lemon, juiced
      Kosher salt
      Freshly ground black pepper

Grate cucumber with a box grater. Place grated cucumber in a strainer, sprinkle with salt and allow to drain for 20 minutes.

In a bowl, add dill, mint, yogurt, garlic and lemon juice. Squeeze as much liquid from cucumber as possible and add cucumber to the yogurt. Mix well and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To serve: Fill warm flatbread or pita with sliced leftover leg of lamb, thinly sliced tomatoes and cucumbers and chilled tzatziki sauce.

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 1 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 5 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 1 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 1 tablespoon salt and 2 quarts water; bring to a boil. Add green beans and cook until tender, approximately 4 minutes.
Remove beans from water, place into bowl with butter and toss to coat. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.

Recipes courtesy of Kendall-Jackson Executive Chef Justin Wangler.

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