Tuesday, October 2, 2012
Dark red fruits, hard herbs, smoke, pepper, and bacon. No, this does not describe the newest fragrance from the people who brought you Sex Panther, but rather the aromas and flavors of Syrah. I love Syrah. If I had my druthers and the bank account of a star NFL quarterback, I would pretty much only drink wines from the Rhone Valley (with maybe just a bit of Burgundy and Champagne thrown in for good measure). Alas, every man bears a cross and mine is law school loans which keep my druthers in the drawer.
The good news is the wine market is quite overloaded with Syrah. Syrah is planted all over the Rhone Valley and other parts of France (the bottle in photo above is from an area in southwest France). In the Northern Rhone, Hermitage and Cote-Rotie generally let Syrah stand on its own, although occasionally it is mixed with Viognier, a white wine grape which tends to add a softer, floral edge to the wine. The further south you travel down the Rhone, Syrah gets blended with a variety of grapes giving it more herbal flavors, reaching its pinnacle in the world class wines from Chateauneuf-du-Pape. In Australia, they call it Shiraz because a colony of prisoners always does thing strangely. In California, they call Syrah ""Pinot Noir" and sell it as such.
More importantly, Syrah is a perfect match for grilled, juicy meats. Roasted lamb in particular is a fantastic excuse to open a bottle of Syrah. I will concede that roasting a leg of lamb is an ambitious project for a weeknight dinner. But you know how to make burgers right? If you answered yes, this recipe should be right in your wheelhouse. The juicy lamb sits on a bed of peppery kale and is topped with an herb fueled yogurt sauce. It just may make you crave a leg of lamb and more bottles of Syrah.
Lambsbury Steak with wilted kale and yogurt sauce
For the burgers
1 pound ground lamb
Salt and Pepper
Carefully form lamb into patties. Season with salt and pepper on both sides. Cook on a grill or in a cast iron skillet. Either way use medium-high heat. 3-4 minutes per side.
For the Kale
4 cups kale
1 shallot, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
Salt and Pepper
Heat a saute pan and add olive oil. When oil shimmers, add garlic and shallot and cook for one minute. Add kale and toss to combine. Add salt, pepper, and a few dashes of sherry vinegar. Once kale has wilted (about 2 minutes) turn off heat. Taste adjust seasoning if necessary.
For the yogurt sauce
1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt
1/4 cup of watercress, chopped
4 radishes, minced
1/4 cup of mint, chopped
1 tablespoon of sherry vinegar
Combine all of the above in a bowl, stir to combine.
Kale on the bottom of the plate. Add lamb burger. Top with yogurt sauce. A few diced tomatoes aren't a bad idea.