Roast Lamb with Shallots, Mint and Mustard

Roast Lamb Chops

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS For lamb: 1 crown of lamb made from two 8-rib racks (about 4 1/2 pounds total) 3 TBSP butter, room temperature 1 TBSP plus 1/2 TSP Dijon mustard 2 TSP dried rosemary

1 cup dry white wine large shallots, chopped 1/4 cup chicken stock 3 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

For Spring Vegetables with Mint: 1 1/2 pounds new potatoes, halved 1 baby carrot bunch, stems trimmed to 1 inch, peeled 1 10 OZ. basket pearl onions, peeled 1 LB fresh asparagus, trimmed, cut crosswise into thirds

3 TBSP butter 3 TBSP fresh mint, chopped

Preheat oven to 450°F. Mix 2 tablespoons butter, 1 tablespoon mustard and 1 1/2 teaspoons rosemary in bowl. Season generously with salt and pepper. Place lamb in roasting pan. Rub all over with butter mixture. Roast 15 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. and continue roasting until thermometer inserted into lamb registers 140°F. for medium-rare, about 40 minutes. Transfer lamb to platter; let stand 15 minutes.

Pour off fat from roasting pan and set pan aside. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large skillet over low heat. Add shallots and 1/2 teaspoon rosemary; sauté until shallots are tender, about 5 minutes. Add wine to roasting pan and bring to boil over high heat, scraping up any browned bits. Add wine to skillet. Add stock; boil until slightly thickened, about 6 minutes. Mix in 1/2 teaspoon mustard and mint. Season with salt and pepper.

Spoon vegetables in center of and around roast. Serve, cutting lamb into chops and spooning sauce over.

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Seared Duck Breast with Cherry Port Sauce

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INGREDIENTS 1 cup Soy Sauce 1 cup Sherry 4 6-OZ duck breast halves 12 frozen dark sweet cherries, thawed and halved 1 cup chicken stock 1 cup beef stock 1/2 cup ruby port 1 fresh thyme sprig 1 TSP cornstarch dissolved into 2 TBSP water 1/4 cup butter, cut into 1/2-inch pieces

Whisk soy sauce and Sherry in medium bowl to blend. Using a sharp knife, make diagonal slits on the duck breasts 1/2-inch apart making sure to not cut too deep (not through meat). Place duck, skin side up into glass baking dish. Pour marinade over. Cover duck with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 2 hours and up to 6 hours. Bring cherries, chicken stock, beef stock, port and thyme spring to boil in a heavy medium saucepan over high heat. Simmer until mixture is reduced to 1/2 cup.

marinate the duck breasts

Meanwhile, heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Remove duck from marinade. Add duck breasts, skin side down to skillet. Cook until skin is crispy, about 10 minutes. Turn duck over and continue cooking to desired doneness, about 5 minutes for medium. Transfer duck to cutting board or other surface. Add cornstarch mixture to port-cherry sauce. Bring to simmer, whisking constantly. Add butter one piece at a time until melted.

Slice duck breast and fan out on plates. Spoon sauce over duck then serve.

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Chicken Saltimbocca

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Serves 4 Traditionally, this classic Italian dish is made with veal, but chicken also works. The sauce will help keep the chicken moist while the Marsala compliments the prosciutto.

INGREDIENTS 2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts 2 TBSP Olive Oil 8 oz. mushrooms sliced in half ½ cup beef stock or broth ½ cup marsala or Madeira 2 oz. chopped prosciutto 2 TBSP chopped sage 2 TBSP butter Salt and Pepper

Slice chicken breasts in half length-wise then place in a reseal able plastic bag. Pound each breast with a meat mallet until they are about ¼” thick. Season chicken with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, Sauté 2 pieces of chicken at a time in olive oil until browned, about 3-5 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate with foil on top to keep warm.

In same pan (do not clean bits out of pan), cook mushrooms until they begin to brown over medium-high heat. Transfer mushrooms to another plate. Add marsala and beef stock to pan, reduce heat to medium-low and reduce liquid to half. Remove liquid in pan from heat, then add sage, prosciutto and butter. Serve chicken with sauce poured over top.

This recipe tends to lean towards the salty side of the taste map. Both the beef stock and prosciutto have a good amount of salty taste, so to offset that with the wine I look to a wine with sweetness. Your basic buttery Chardonnay will have enough vanilla creaminess and sweetness to compliment this recipe. I don't think a Sauvie B would work as it's too bitter. Perhaps an Italian Soave or Pinot Gris would also work as this is an Italian dish. When cooking regional fare, the wines from the same region are often a good place to start.

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One of the Chardonnay's I like with this recipe is the Norman Reserve Chardonnay from Paso Robles. Rich and creamy, and so buttery even Mrs. Buttersworth would say, "Damn! That's buttery!" I like the complex apricot, tangerine, lemon, peach and vanilla toastiness. The intensity of flavors are pretty similar which makes this Reserve (under $20) a great choice. Cheers!

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Pork Tenderloin with Dried Cherry and Rosemary Sauce

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What do these icons mean? Serves 4

INGREDIENTS 2 LB pork tenderloin (or 2 1LB cuts) 2 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil ¾ cup red wine ½ cup chicken stock ½ cup beef stock ¼ balsamic vinegar ¾ cup cranberry or apple juice 4 garlic cloves, minced 6 shallots, minced 4 TBSP rosemary, finely chopped ½ cup dried cherries Salt and pepper to taste

In a small pan, boil chicken and beef stock until reduced to about ¼ cup. Preheat oven to 375˚F.  Pat pork dry  and place in a glass baking dish then sprinkle with salt and pepper. In a medium bowl mix together cherries, reduced stock, red wine, vinegar, cranberry juice, garlic, shallots and rosemary.  Pour mixture over pork and marinate for at least 2 hours.

In a large skillet heat olive oil over medium heat.  Cook pork (leave marinade off to the side) 2-3 minutes on all sides leaving it under cooked, but browned. Pour marinade over pork and roast in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly pink in the middle basting throughout.

I like the Twisted Oak Tempranillo to pair with this recipe.  The icons above will indicate how each recipe pairs together.  With this pairing, both wine and food are well balanced between Bitter, Salt, Sweet and Sour.  The dried cherry and rosemarry sauce combines sweetness and sourness from the cherries with bitterness coming from the rosemary and shallots.  Together, they offset the saltiness of not only the pork, but also the beef/chicken stocks.  What you end up with is a good balance between all four flavas.  Your palate might want a little more of this or that.  The Twisted Oak Tempranillo, as with most of @eljefetwisted wines is perfectly balanced.  Both recipe and wine are about the same on the intensity of flava scale coming in around 6-7.

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Please let me know if you try this pairing and report back any adjustments or success stories you have.  Cheers!

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