Sunday, November 1, 2009

So You Think You Hate Lamb?

I confess, I've never "gotten" why some people claim they don't like lamb. "It's 'gamey'", people say. "I've always heard it's strong and smelly," say others. Well, it's not and I have, once again, Tracey to act as my witness.

Having subjected her to roasted brussels sprouts and having her ask for them again, I figured it was time to force her to choke down some lamb. I had a small piece of a butterflied leg, so I treated it like a thick steak as I usually do, but indoors rather than on the grill, which would have been better. Alas, she managed to leave her grill behind in Reno when she moved, so the grill wasn't an option.

I seasoned it with salt and pepper and a bit of garlic, seared it in a cast-iron skillet and finished it in a 375 degree oven, removing it at 125 degrees. It was about 140 by the time the carryover cooking stopped, which was a bit more done than I'd like, but it was still tasty.  Here it is with Mom's green beans simmered forever in onions, garlic, tomatoes and oregano and some orzo "alfredo" - orzo with a sauce of butter, garlic and parmesan cheese. The picture isn't the best because the light was a bit off, but it was a yummy dish. And Tracey went back for seconds. I'm two for two with new foods!

Wine match: Lamb goes with almost any red wine and I'm often moved to choose a syrah or something from the rhone. This I matched with a 2008 single-vineyard pinot noir from the Willamette Valley that I can't name. It's not that I don't know, it's that I promised I wouldn't make public reference to it.

I had stopped by the winery for a bottle of the 2007 from the same vineyard and, despite the fact that they were in the middle of bottling their 2008s, they obliged me. It wasn't until after I'd gotten home that I realized they'd given me a just-bottled 2008 and, after telling them, they just asked me to keep quiet about it because it won't be released until next spring.

So, I won't tell you the wine, but I WILL tell you that it's up to the same standard shared by every 2008 Oregon pinot noir I've tasted from barrel and bottle. The aromatics are incredible and this, being from the Dundee Hills, was all red fruit - strawberries, raspberries, cherries and a little pomegranate with a bit of dustiness thrown in for good measure. It was perhaps a little overpowered by the tomatoes in the beans, but with the lamb it was perfect.

I'll do a more in-depth review of 2008 pinots later, but this one's worth saving up for when it's released, just like all of its cousins are.


  1. I 'don't like lamb' because I don't eat baby animals. I 'don't like veal' either. So there.
    Feel guilty yet? ;)

  2. No, Anonymous, I don't feel guilty at all - and you're a chicken for not identifying yourself :-)

    Nor do I feel guilty about eating fattened duck and goose livers. You're entitled to your own feelings and I understand them as much as I can, being an omnivore. Keep up the comments, though. We don't censor our critics around here.

    BTW - chickens are slaughtered at a very young age. Feeling guilty?

  3. While I am not sure it was necessary to share with everyone that I had seconds on everything in the meal, I must say it was All fabulous!
    Oh, and that wine was amazing as well. Thanks for a yummy time.

  4. Well, Bobaganoush (if that's your real name...ha!), I'm not being critical, I'm stating a preference. I eat meat of old, jaded, ready-to-pack-it-in cud chewers who have lived the life of Reilly, lo these many years, and the flesh of fish and fowl, whose brains equal the size of something I picked out my teeth earlier today. I do not eat the meat of babies ripped from their mother's bosoms! I'm just sayin'!
    Mary (owner of little lambs)
    I'm thinkin' the guilt is setting in.....dum de dum dum....

  5. Mary, I'm reminded of JoBeth Williams in Switch when she commented on her fur coat :-)

  6. Mary, quite contraryNovember 1, 2009 at 8:24 PM

    I've never seen it, so can't comment. But seriously, we know that dogs are eaten in parts of the world, and we (somewhat) accept it. But if they start advertising they're eating PUPPIES? Come on! PUPPIES? BABIES? It's the baby thing. As a woman, I can't stomach it, and it's the reason I do not eat lamb or veal. Or bunnies, kitties, puppies, etc. To go further, I don't eat game meat either. Poor bastards struggling to survive in the wild. Rain, snow, heat, dehydration, predators, crippling falls...only to be shot dead by some camo wearing roughneck so somebody can experiement with venison and dijon mustard. Ouch. Harsh.

  7. Mary, all I can say is that venison pate and Dijon mustard are great together. Just add some cornichons and it's all good! Puppies and kittens are not on the list, though.

  8. Mary, Queen of ShotsNovember 1, 2009 at 9:08 PM

    See, Bob, even YOU draw the line. No puppies or kittens, even though Labrador Retriever or Siamese and Dijon may go GREAT together! I feel the same way about lambie pies and baby moo moos.
    Shall we now debate California wine versus....???????

  9. Oh my gosh! Yummmy! And thanks for the directions. I may become more of a cook. :)