Food & Drink

December 6, 2014

Food and Wine Pairing: Grilled Lamb Kofte with Wente Vineyards Sandstone Merlot

Wente Vineyards partnered with America’s Test Kitchen to compile quick, easy, and impressive holiday recipes and wine pairings for holiday entertaining. We’ve given a few of the recipes a whirl here in the South Florida Food and Wine kitchen and have decided to share with you some of the more impressive recipes to consider when planning your holiday menus. This pairing is all about the marriage of flavors; Grilled Lamb Kofte with Wente Vineyards Sandstone Merlot. In true Middle Eastern style the Kofte is made with lots of spices and fresh herbs which compliment and play to the Sandstone Merlot’s black fruit. Unconventionally for Christmas, this course is grilled, be it charcoal or gas. This recipe requires time, planning and effort but the outcome shows its worth in every bite.
America's Test Kitchen Grilled Lamb Kofte, photo credit: America's Test Kitchen

America’s Test Kitchen Grilled Lamb Kofte, photo credit: America’s Test Kitchen

  • 1cup plain whole-milk yogurt
  • 2tablespoons lemon juice
  • 2tablespoons tahini
  • 1garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2teaspoon salt

  • 1/2cup pine nuts
  • 4garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 1/2teaspoons hot smoked paprika
  • 1teaspoon salt
  • 1teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/8teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/2pounds ground lamb
  • 1/2cup grated onion, drained
  • 1/3cup minced fresh parsley
  • 1/3cup minced fresh mint
  • 1 1/2teaspoons unflavored gelatin
  • 1large disposable aluminum roasting pan (if using charcoal)
    1. FOR THE YOGURT-GARLIC SAUCE: Whisk all ingredients together in bowl. Set aside.
    2. FOR THE KOFTE: Process pine nuts, garlic, paprika, salt, cumin, pepper, coriander, cloves, nutmeg, and cinnamon in food processor until coarse paste forms, 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer mixture to large bowl. Add lamb, onion, parsley, mint, and gelatin; knead with your hands until thoroughly combined and mixture feels slightly sticky, about 2 minutes. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions. Shape each portion into 5-inch-long cylinder about 1 inch in diameter. Using 8 (12-inch) metal skewers, thread 1 cylinder onto each skewer, pressing gently to adhere. Transfer skewers to lightly greased baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to 24 hours.
    3A. FOR A CHARCOAL GRILL: Using skewer, poke 12 holes in bottom of disposable pan. Open bottom vent completely and place pan in center of grill. Light large chimney starter filled two thirds with charcoal briquettes (4 quarts). When top coals are partially covered with ash, pour into pan. Set cooking grate in place, cover, and open lid vent completely. Heat grill until hot, about 5 minutes.
    3B. FOR A GAS GRILL: Turn all burners to high, cover, and heat grill until hot, about 15 minutes. Leave all burners on high.
    4. Clean and oil cooking grate. Place skewers on grill (directly over coals if using charcoal) at 45-degree angle to grate. Cook (covered if using gas) until browned and meat easily releases from grill, 4 to 7 minutes. Flip skewers and continue to cook until browned on second side and meat registers 160 degrees, about 6 minutes longer. Transfer skewers to platter and serve, passing yogurt-garlic sauce separately.

    Wente Vineyards Sandstone Merlot  2011 (SRP $18) Merlot exhibits aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry and plum with hints of toasted oak. Paired with the Lamb Kofte it makes for a food and wine pairing match made in heaven.

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