Monday, October 10, 2011

Beef on Weck Paired with 2009 Boisset Family Estates Fleur De Lyeth California Proprietary Blend

Beef on Weck - Lamb on Weck-2

This pairing comes from a confluence of inspirations that include my recent exploration of California blends, a weekend at the crab shack in the midst of canning madness, and family ties to Buffalo NY.  The weekend was dominated by a gathering of family and friends to prepare and can at least a dozen varieties of fresh vegetables.  Somewhere in the chaos, brother-in-law Bill mentioned a Northwest NY sandwich delicacy – beef on weck.

A beef on weck is a sandwich made on kummelweck bread (think of a kaiser roll topped with caraway seeds and coarse salt) with thinly sliced slow roasted beef heated in au jus before serving.  Horseradish is added as a condiment.  Finally, the truly special part of this beauty, the top half of the roll is dipped in the au jus to add another layer of juicy flavor.

Beef on Weck - Lamb on Weck-1

According to Wikipedia; “The origin and history of the beef on weck sandwich is not well established.  It is believed that a German baker named William Wahr, who is thought to have emigrated from the Black Forest region of Germany, created the kummelweck roll while living in Buffalo, New York.  A local pub owner is said to have used the roll to create the beef on weck, with the thought that the salty top of the roll would make his patrons drink more.”

Kummelweck Rolls-1

With this inspiration and description of a beef on weck I set out to create my interpretation.  I did not stray far from the original concept with the exception of a big right turn with respect to the beef.  Having just prepared a slow roasted boneless leg of lamb, I decided to make a meat substitution and created the “Lamb on Weck” sandwich.

First I made the kummelweck bread.  I am not including a recipe, but kummelweck bread recipes are easy to find, or you can use a recipe for a kaiser roll and simply add some caraway seeds and course salt.  Alternatively, go to your local baker, buy some kaiser rolls, brush on a egg wash and top with caraway seeds and salt.  Pop this into the oven for a few minutes to bake off the egg wash and cement the salt and seeds in place, and there you have it.

Kummelweck Rolls-3

I then sautéed some onions until brown and added 2 cups of beef stock to the onions.  Thinly sliced lamb was added to the stock and brought to serving temperature. The sandwich was constructed by placing a healthy portion of the lamb on the kummelweck roll and topped with the sautéed onions and prepared horseradish. Staying true to the roots of this great sandwich, I dunked the top half of the roll in the au jus, snapped a few photos and made a mental transition to a Buffalo pub. 

There is good reason this sandwich is a Buffalo favorite.  The layers of flavor that come from the caraway seeds, salt, horseradish, au jus soaked bun, and in this case, lamb, all combine to something ridiculously tasty.  While I have not visited Buffalo and enjoyed this local delicacy on its home turf, I am confident the substitution of lamb was a nice modification.  The moderate gaminess of the lamb added a distinctly enjoyable twist in comparison to beef.

2009 Fleur De Lyeth California Proprietary Blend-1

Imagining these wonderful flavors, now add a velvety smooth blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec from the 2009 Boisset Family Estates Fleur De Lyeth California Proprietary Blend.  This pairing was a winner!  Here are the tasting notes from the winemaker:

“Nose: The nose offers bright cherry and aromas of dusty oak and dark plum.
Palate: Opening with luscious flavors of bing cherry and plum with a touch of strawberry and cherry cordial, the wine is perfectly balanced by a subtle oak backdrop. With a light-medium body, round tannins and a clean finish, this wine is very smooth and easy drinking.”

In my opinion, the tasting notes represent my experience precisely.  My single comment would be to emphasize the velvety smoothness of this wine.  The satisfying fruit flavors complimented the lamb perfectly and the body was perfectly matched to the sandwich.  The cherry and plum flavors were a wonderful complement to the slight gaminess of the lamb. 

Beef on Weck - Lamb on Weck

While this wine is lusciously satisfying on it’s own, the medium body and wonderfully distinct fruit flavors and velvety smoothness make this a great pairing wine that will work well with many dishes demanding a medium bodied wine. 

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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