Friday, April 6, 2012

Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Blueberry Pomegranate and Red Wine Reduction, Oven Roasted Parsnips Paired with 2007 Barboursville Vineyards Virginia Octagon

When conceiving of a wine pairing, there are two entry points; select a wine and prepare a menu complementing the wine, or start with a feature dish and select an appropriate wine.  Most of the time, my routine begins with the inspiration to prepare a dish followed by a wine selection.  This pairing is an exception.  Octagon is the signature wine produced by Barboursville Vineyards.  This exalted position is well deserved.  I sampled this wine at a tasting months before and was quite impressed.  Due to my affection for this wine, I was excited to prepare a meal that showcased the wonderful flavors in both the wine, and my yet to be conceived culinary creation.

Octagon exemplifies what the best of what Virginia wineries are striving for and more frequently achieving; a wonderful expression of terroir.  A blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot, one would think you were sipping a fine Bordeaux yet with a welcoming assertion of Virginia climate, exposure, altitude, care, and soil.

This full bodied red features aromas of berry, plum, and dark cherry which are echoed on the palate.  Rich, silky tannins lead to a lengthy and refined finish.  It is rich, elegant, and a real pleasure.

In conceiving this pairing, I needed a construction that first mated well with the full bodied Octagon while also complementing the berry, plum and dark cherry flavors.  To match the body, I began my thought process with lamb chops, then added the blueberry pomegranate reduction to echo the flavors of the wine.  The result was spectacular.

The key to this wildly successful pairing was selection of the lamb as the protein and adding the complementing flavors of the reduction.  In terms of principal flavors, the lamb and the reduction contributed equally and resulted in a pairing that was absolutely heavenly.


Pan Seared Lamb Chops with Blueberry Pomegranate and Red Wine Reduction

  • 8 lamb rib chops or one rack of lamb cut into 4 sections (8 ribs per rack)
  • 2 tablespoons. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot
  • 1/2 cup blueberry pomegranate juice
  • 1/2 of the berries from a pomegranate
  • 1/4 cup full-bodied dry red wine
  • 1/4 cup chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 tablespoons butter divided into small cubes
  • Salt and coarsely ground black pepper to taste
  1. Liberally season the lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides. 
  2. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until very hot. 
  3. Sear the chops until browned on both sides (about 2 minutes per side for medium rare, or 3 minutes per side for medium). 
  4. Place the chops on a platter and cover with foil to keep warm.
  5. Add the shallot to the same pan with remaining fat and cook, stirring constantly, until browned. 
  6. Add the pomegranate juice, wine, chicken stock, vinegar, and thyme and reduce by half 
  7. Reduce the heat to medium low and add butter, keeping on the heat until the butter melts. 
  8. Adjust seasoning.
  9. Run reduction through a fine sieve and ladle over lamb.
  10.   Garnish with pomegranate berries. 
For Oven roasted parsnips and onions, peel four parsnips (or whatever quantity you need for feeding your dinner crowd) and cut into 1 inch cubes.  Add to a large mixing bowl.  Slice an onion and add to the bowl.  Chop 1/2 cup of cilantro and add to bowl.  Drizzle contents with olive oil (enough to lightly coat), season with salt and pepper, and toss.  Spread evenly over a sheet pan and place in oven preheated to 350 degrees for 20 minutes, or until parsnips are tender.

In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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