Monday, April 5, 2010

Peppered Lamb Loins with a Garlic & Dark Chocolate Sauce with Barossa Shiraz

Lamb is the traditional Easter dinner in our house. No exception this year. How about combining 2 Easter classics: lamb and chocolate? Michèle found a brilliant recipe in Food & Drink, the LCBO magazine: Peppered Lamb Loins with a Garlic & Dark Chocolate Sauce. I know…a garlic and chocolate sauce with lamb?! The recipe comes from Jennifer McLagan, whose book, FAT: An Appreciation of a Misunderstood Ingredient, got good buzz last year. Jennifer has a website and a blog that I’m going to check out more often.

The peppercorns are a great accompaniment to the lamb, like a pepper-steak. No doubt, the sauce was a very pleasant surprise: adding the dark chocolate makes for a rich sauce that mellows out the garlic and the peppercorns. Michèle served the main with a carrot-ginger purée and kale.

For the sommelier, what really made this dish even better was the wine. I hesitated between two Aussie varietals…Grenache or Shiraz. I went for a Barossa old vine Shiraz, aged in American oak. The wine had a port-like character: aromas and flavours of black cherry, prune, sweet spice (cinnamon), chocolate, and pepper. Well-integrated tannins. Normally, I wouldn’t describe this fruit-forward, full-bodied wine as food-friendly. But in this case, the wine’s flavours matched up extremely well with the chocolate sauce, which softened the wine’s tannins. I think that an Australian Grenache (or Grenache-Shiraz-Mourvèdre blend) would match up well, as would a Touriga-Nacional-based wine from Douro in Portugal.

Definitely a winner!

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