Thanksgiving dinner is all about the turkey, and Christmas meals tend to incorporate fish or beef, but lamb can make for a show-stopping holiday main dish. The American Lamb Board partnered with sommelier and wine writer Jessica Dupuy to curate a few wine pairings for the holiday the season. Here are her suggestions.
Syrah with Sheet Pan Leg of Lamb with Roasted Vegetables
One of the star grapes of France’s Rhône Valley, syrah is famous for its rich blackberry and blueberry flavors framed by earthy tobacco, pepper and dried, savory herbs. Offering classic notes of earth-dusted blackberries and floral violet, syrah is dark and brooding and a perfect fit for the dried herbs and peppery notes of sheet pan leg of lamb with roasted vegetables.
Cabernet franc with Braised Pomegranate Lamb Shank with Fennel
Lamb will always have a perfect home at the table with Bordeaux varieties, but cabernet franc’s lush, herbaceous qualities are remarkably complementary. It’s a medium-bodied red loved for its savory, bell pepper-like flavors, medium-high acidity, and mouthwatering taste. A perfect match for the rich, fruity, and herbaceous flavors of braised pomegranate lamb shank with fennel.
Zinfandel with Lamb Chop Crostini with Orange-Cranberry Sauce
The rich, jammy fruit character and warm baking spices in red zinfandel are a welcome complement to sweet, tender seared lamb chops. With a bright, medium body, soft tannins, and smoky finish, the ripe, full body of zinfandel makes an excellent pairing with the tangy fruitiness of lamb chop crostini with orange-cranberry sauce.
- 2-½ lbs. Boneless leg of American lamb
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- 1 tsp. Chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 tsp. Dried oregano
- 1 tsp. Salt divided
- ½ tsp. Onion powder
- ½ tsp. Black pepper
- 12 Petite white potatoes halved
- 1 Red onion cut into wedges
- 1 lb. items from olive bar black and green olives, cherry pepper, sun dried tomatoes, roasted garlic, etc.
- 1 lb. Campari tomatoes on the vine or grape, or cherry tomatoes
- 1 Lemon thinly sliced
- 2 tbsps. Olive oil
- One hour prior to cooking remove the lamb from fridge.
- Preheat oven to 375 degree.
- Arrange potatoes, red onion, olive bar items, tomatoes and sliced lemon on a rimmed sheet pan. Drizzle with olive oil and ½ tsp. salt. Toss to combine.
- Combine ½ tsp. salt with Dijon mustard, rosemary, oregano, onion powder and black pepper. Rub the mixture over the lamb roast.
- Roast until an instant-read thermometer registers 125 degrees to 130 degrees for medium rare, 60 to 75 minutes, or 130 degrees to 135 degrees for medium, 75 to 90 minutes. Transfer the lamb to a cutting board and let it rest for 10 minutes before carving.
- ¼ cup Olive oil
- 1 Lemon juiced
- 3-4 Cloves garlic minced
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 3-4 tbsps. Parsley chopped
- 1 lb. American lamb sirloin chops – about 3 small chops
- 1 cup Cranberries
- ½ cup Orange juice
- 1 Cinnamon stick
- ½ cup sugar
- ½ tsp. Nutmeg
- Olive oil
- Balsamic glaze
- Chopped parsley
- In a bowl or a bag that seals, combine lamb, olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and parsley. Let marinate overnight or at least 30 minutes. Bring out of the fridge 30 minutes before cooking to let it come to room temp. If only marinating for 30 minutes, leave at room temp.
- Heat your pan on high with olive oil when hot add lamb chops. Allow to cook for 3 minutes on each side. There should be a nice crust formed.
- Check the temp of the lamb chops. Remove the lamb between 140-145 and let rest for 5 minutes then slice thin.
- For cranberry sauce, combine cranberries, orange juice, cinnamon stick, sugar and nutmeg in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Let simmer for 10 minutes Remove from heat. The sauce will thicken as it sits and cools.
- Cut baguette into thin slices, crosswise. Drizzle with olive oil and broil for a minute or two until they are golden brown.
- Assemble the crostini by piling the toasted baguette slice with hummus, 1-2 slices of lamb, cranberry sauce, balsamic glaze and chopped parsley.
- 6 American Lamb shanks 1 lb. each
- Salt and ground pepper
- 2 tbsps. Oil
- 2 Large onions cut into wedges, or 2 pounds pearl onions
- 6 Garlic cloves peeled and whole
- 2 Large fennel bulbs
- 5 Rosemary sprigs or 3 bay leaves
- One 750-ml. Bottle ruby port
- 3 cups Chicken or beef stock
- 1 tsp. Whole fennel seeds
- 1 tsp. Whole peppercorns
- 1 tsp. Salt
- 2 cups Pomegranate juice
- ½ cup Pomegranate seeds
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Slice the top inch of the meat down, releasing it from the bone. Generously salt and pepper the lamb shanks on all sides.
- Heat oil in an extra-large, heavy-bottom Dutch oven. Working in batches, brown the shanks on all sides over medium-high heat. Take your time and do this well. Set the shanks aside.
- Lower heat to medium, add onions, garlic, fennel bulbs, and herbs to the same pan. Add port and stock, scraping up the browned bits and bring to a simmer. Place the shanks back in the liquid, meaty side down, bring to a boil, cover well, and place the Dutch oven, covered, in a 350°F for 1.5 hours.
- In a small pot, reduce the pomegranate juice by half, simmering on medium heat, uncovered until it reduces to down to 1 cup, about 20 minutes. When shanks are tender, add 1 cup of the strained shanks cooking liquid to the remaining pomegranate juice. Plate the shanks and drizzle a little pomegranate sauce over the top, garnishing with fresh pomegranate seeds.