Wouldn't you normally choose what to eat and then what to drink? First, select your entree, and then pick a wine to accompany your meal? Sure, that sounds typical. Or perhaps you could go the other way once in a while, you know, when the opportunity presents itself. Like finding a nicely discounted Côtes du Rhône Villages, a delicious medium-bodied red. Damn bottle fell into my cart! I don't know what happened?!? Good wine deserves good food, so this was begging for pairing with something tasty.
You've probably had the varietal Syrah or what them Aussies and Kiwis call it, Shiraz. Same grape, different name. It's one of a few select (french laws, of course) grapes blended to make Côtes du Rhône. Well, actually up to 23 select few.
Like Italian with a Chianti Classico. Champagne with oysters. Sauternes with foie gras. Port with chocolate. It's Syrah with lamb. Lamb and Syrah (or Côtes du Rhône) are very good friends. Good, yummy friends.
Never made lamb? Not even these super easy guys?
Want to learn more about Côtes du Rhône?
Lamb loin chops look like miniature t-bones- do not forget to dry them to develop a good sear
Lamb Chops with Syrah Pan Sauce
4 lamb loin chops
EVOO or veggie oil
2 large shallot, diced (bout 2 TB)
1 clove garlic, diced
1 TB tomato paste
3 sprigs rosemary
1/2 C good Syrah, Shiraz or Côtes du Rhône
1/4 C low sodium chicken stock (optional)
1.5 TB cold butter, diced
1 TB good balsamic vinegar
Bring your lamb chops to room temp before cooking, 10-15 minutes out of the fridge. Pat dry with paper towel, then season with a healthy pinch of S&P. Preheat a cast iron or heavy-bottomed skillet over medium-high heat for five minutes. Add a touch of canola or veggie oil to the lamb chops. Put a good sear on the first side and cook for about 4 minutes, then 3 minutes on the flip side. That's for medium-rare to medium, depending on the exact thickness of your chops- don't cook past medium, I recommend medium-rare. Remove from the heat and tent with foil to keep warm.
Turn down the heat to medium, add a bit more oil and then the shallot. Cook until softened, a couple minutes, then add the garlic, rosemary and the wine. You can add a splash of stock as well, if desired, to bring some flavor. Deglaze the pan and scrape up any fond with a wooden spatula, you can't leave those tasty bits behind, that's the heart of the sauce right there. Bring to a high simmer and reduce until halved, about 3-4 minutes. Season minimally with S&P, then remove from heat and add the butter and balsamic. Don't forget to add any juices from the resting chops. Stir up a bit, the sauce should be nice and shiny, thickened just a bit, will thicken more upon cooling. Sauce up a plate and then add your delicious little lamp chops, 2 per person. Serve up with a starch and something green.