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Rosemary-Mint Crusted Rack of Lamb

In the second half of our food and wine pairing shoot, I was asked to pair Lot 230, a Cabernet from Chalk Hill, Sonoma County. I loved this wine upon first tasting and it didn’t take long to construct a dish to pair with it. The earthy tones of the wine screamed red meat (as what usually goes with a cab), and the deep rich berries made me think of something a bit more complex than your traditional steak. My mind went immediately to lamb. The gaminess of the lamb would accent all of the flavors in the wine very well. To add a bit of a twist, I wanted to do a very flavorful crust that would mimic the earthy tones of the wine.

Rosemary and lamb have been friends for a long time. A classic combination. I took that base and also added in another common pairing with lamb, mint. Usually you see a mint jelly on the side when lamb is served. I took this idea and went on a small tangent. I took fresh rosemary, fresh mint, whole peppercorns, and kosher salt and ran them through a food processor. I blended the dry ingredients a little more than usual to create almost a paste, but not quite the consistency. This rub was then generously added to the french cut lamb chops. A cast iron skillet was heating up until smokey, and then the chops were thrown in the pan with a tbsp of olive oil. After both sides got a good sear, the cast iron went into the oven for about 20 min.

Also added to this dish was a sauce “bridging” the wine with the food. This essentially is cooking with the wine you will be drinking with the meal. With the lamb out of the oven and onto a resting plate, the cast iron skillet was deglazed with the Chalk Hill Cab, and also a little balsamic, and a touch of butter to finish. The lamb came out amazing, and paired absolutely perfect with the wine!

Paired with Cameron Hughes lot 230 Chalk Hill Cabernet


Combine herb ingredients for rub in a bowl or food processor. Lightly drizzle olive oil over lamb chops, then generously coat with herb rub. Sear lamb in a hot, cast iron pan two to three minutes on each side. Then place into an oven preheated to 375 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until internal temperature on the lamb reads 140 degrees. Pull from oven and let rest for five to 10 minutes Deglaze pan with wine, balsamic vinegar and add butter and let reduce until it is 1/3 of original volume.