A hearty stew and wine, perfect for this months cold weather.
I was pleased with the results from this recipe. The lamb was tender and did not have a strong taste. At first I thought the butcher had made a mistake and that it was beef. Nope, it had a subtle lamb taste and subtle bacon taste. The H3 Merlot paired beautifully.
There is room to tweak this recipe, as I did. I cut down the lamb to only 1 Lb. and it was enough for me. And I added a slice of bacon, celery and peas for more flavor and more vegetables. I also bumped up the chicken stock, because I wanted more liquid in my stew. It still thickened up a lot by day two and three.
Wine and Food Pairing with the H3 Merlot
Thoroughly enjoyed the H3 Merlot by itself. It also matched beautifully with the lamb. Both wine and stew are robust. Flavors were complimentary and contrasty. The wine, as my notes indicate on day one, was a bit savory, which paired well with the savory stew. On day two the wine had more fruit, which really matched well with the lamb on day two, which had become even more savory and hearty.
I call that a successful recipe and successful wine and food pairing!
Note: Some lamb stews don't call for wine or red wine. I found it impossible to make this dish without adding red wine. Very happy I selected the H3 Merlot. Love the value and super happy with how delicious the wine tasted alone and with this stew. See my tasting notes following
|"One must take time for time and for wine." Jean-Charles Boisset.|
Note: I used 1/2 cup of this wine for the stew. The stew took 6 hours to cook. My tasting notes were taken after the wine had been open 5 hours. So, notes not taken at open. I had things to do.
Tasting Notes 2014 H3 Merlot by Columbia Crest
Color: Deep ruby.
Nose: Smoky, medium plus intensity, white pepper, pencil shavings, baked bell pepper, blueberry in background, savory.
Palate: Juicy, focused, blueberry, dry, fine medium tannin, medium body, coffee, dried thyme and blackberry on a medium finish. Enjoyable, fairly dry, so should pair well with stew. It did.
Day two: Less savory more fruit. Dry, juicy, focused, medium plus fine tannin across the full tongue, sensual feel in the mouth, full of life, deep black cherry, dark chocolate, blueberry tar, whiff of smoke and white pepper, fresh on the medium plus finish. Very good. My speed. Also paired well with the stew on day two. Drank the last glass after dinner. Yum!
|Sip and savor the H3 Merlot with your favorite book. I do.|
Thoughts: Purchased locally, quite reasonable price, almost felt like stealing. Big like. So my speed. Paired beautifully with the lamb stew too. I suggest you stock up when you find it. Drink now and over next 5 years, cellar if you prefer gentler tannin. I like how it is drinking today. Perfect for fatty protein or with a good book. Stock up now as the 2015 is the current vintage.
Stemware: Riedel Cabernet Sauvignon.
Region: Washington State
AVA: Horse Heaven Hills
Blend: 100% Merlot
Oak Program: 62% older, 38% new, both French and American, about 17 months
Fermentation: 7-14 days on the skins
Closure: 2 + 1
- About H3: Columbia Crest H3 wines were created to celebrate the winery’s rich heritage in the Horse Heaven Hills AVA as well as its innovative spirit with regards to winemaking and viticulture practices. Grapes from this distinctive appellation produce bold, well-balanced and seductive wines.
- About Horse Heaven Hills AVA: The Horse Heaven Hills AVA is home to 26% (15,534 acres) of the state's vineyards and the source of the five 100-point wines from Washington (Champoux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Quilceda Creek Vintners). You will find family farmers growing a wide selection of wine grapes. Visit the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, where you will find dramatic, windswept vistas, clear blue skies, arid hot summers and delicious Washington wines. Learn more.
- About Columbia Crest: Founded in 1983, Columbia Crest has grown from a small winery in a relatively unknown wine region to one of the most significant wineries in the U.S. and a major force behind Washington State’s emergence as a world-class wine region. In 2009, Wine Spectator magazine named the Columbia Crest 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon the No. 1 Wine in the World on its Top 100 list, the first time a wine from Washington State has received that ranking. Beautiful facility, excellent staff and delicious wines. Stop by when visiting SE Washington wine country. More information about the winery can be found at columbiacrest.com.
|Ingredients for lamb stew.|
Recipe - Lamb Stew Slow Cooked in Crock PotServings: Enough for 4 bowls
Total cooking time: 6 hours on Low
3 cups chicken stock (bumped it up +1 cup, original had only 2 cups)
1 Lb Lamb, chopped in chunks
1 slice of bacon
3 carrots - cut in large chunks, I coarsely peeled
1 onion - cut in half and then each half cut into quarters, 8 chunks
4 potatoes - peel, then cut in half and each half cut into quarters, 8 chunks
3 cloves garlic - sliced or chopped
1/2 cup red wine
2 tbsp EVO
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp Italian seasoning or Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 stalks celery (optional)
1 bag frozen peas (optional)
|Browning the lamb.|
1. Cut lamb into cubes. I purchased a package of pre-cut lamb stew meat. Place lamb chunks in a bowl add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper, mix well. Set aside.
2. Cook the slice of bacon in a large frying pan until crisp. Remove and crumble bacon when cool. Set aside. Keep the bacon fat in the pan, do not remove. You will need for the next step.
3. Brown lamb chunks in the frying pan with the bacon fat + 1 Tbsp EVO. Remove lamb once browned and set aside in a bowl.
4. Saute the Garlic and Onion with 1 Tbsp EVO in the same pan the lamb was in. Add to lamb once the onion has softened, about 2 minutes.
5a. De-glaze your pan with the 1/2 cup red wine. I used the H3 Merlot. Set heat to medium and simmer about 5 minutes. Scrape off any bits that may have stuck to the pan. Then pour red wine into the bowl with the Lamb, Onion and Garlic, crumble bacon on top. Set aside.
|Bacon crumbled on top of onion, garlic, lamb and wine.|
5b. While de-glazing the pan, and the wine is simmering for those 5 minutes, put the 3 cups of chicken stock in a pot and bring to a simmering boil. Once the chicken has reached a simmering boil, you are ready for step 6.
|Pouring lamb, onion, garlic wine mixture over carrots and potatoes.|
Add ingredients to the Crock pot and set on Low.
6. Add the sliced carrots and potatoes to the crock pot.
7. Carefully pour the hot chicken stock into the crock pot.
8. Add the lamb, onion, garlic, bacon, wine mixture to the crock pot.
9. Add the Italian seasoning and lemon juice to the crock pot.
Cook on Low for 5 hours. Go do something.
|At 5 hours added celery.|
10. (Optional) Add the sliced celery at the 5 hour window. I did. Gently stirred ingredients.
Let slow cook for another 30 minutes.
11. (Optional) Add a bag of frozen peas. I did. Gently stirred ingredients.
Cook in crock pot for another 30 minutes.
Adjust salt to taste. Serve and enjoy!
|Last bowl of lamb stew on the third day. Yum!|
A hearty meal, wonderful on a cold winter afternoon or evening. Hit the spot. As I'm the only one at home eating lamb, I was able to enjoy this lamb stew over three days. It is a little thin on day one, but I did not mind. By day two, the stew was certainly thicker and the flavors more integrated. Day three the stew was just as delicious and kept me captivated, even though I was out of wine by then.
|My notes and recipe modifications in the background.|
Go out and cook. I hope you are trying to eat and drink better at home. I certainly am. Cooking is a creative and fun outlet. Yes, it takes time, planning and preparation. But I feel the dividends are worth it. Pairing your meals with a delicious wine is a bonus.