Lamb Pairing: Moroccan Spiced Lamb with Flageolet Beans and Mushrooms

So this is one of those dinners that should have been perfect, except for the slight mishaps in execution.  But the result was so promising that I’m posting it anyway, and will reveal how to avoid the mistakes I made along the way.  Not even I am perfect, after all.

Lamb, I am ashamed to say, is wonderfully delicious. (Remember, I make no apologies here about being a carnivore).  And while you can make some incredible Greek dishes out of the leg of lamb, the best and of course priciest cut is the rib chop.  But, I find rib chops are only delicious when they come from New Zealand, or lately, Iceland of all places.  In fact, I have decided that I dislike Colorado lamb because it tastes much gamier.  I know, I know, that’s bad news for all you localvores and I’m sorry about that, but at least I’m supporting our kiwi friends to the south. 

The rib chops are delicious when grilled simply with a Moroccan style dry rub.  The dry rub I completely made up using what I had in my pantry can be found here:  Moroccan Spice Dry Rub. Rub generously, pat into the meat, and grill on indirect heat preferably so you don’t scorch the meat. Easy.  rudolphs-1-of-5

For sides, green flageolet beans are a traditional french accompaniment to lamb.  I got mine as a gift from the Sinskey Wine Club (my favorite because along with wine you always get a cool culinary gift to go with the pairing recipes also provided).  Though I soaked overnight, unfortunately I did not allot enough cooking time and my impatience and growling belly took over.  These beans take much longer than the 50 minutes the recipe I consulted said to cook them, more like an hour and a half, live and learn.  Though obviously a bit tough, the beans were tasty tasty, and provided a nice texture to go with the meat.  The simple recipe I’m including here corrects my rookie errors.  Hopefully yours will turn out perfect.  Recipe for Flageolet Beans rudolphs-2-of-5

As a final side, I reconstituted some dried shiitake mushrooms that I picked up in the local Korean market.  I sauteed garlic in butter, added the soaked mushrooms, salt and some cooking wine and sauteed.  Next time, I’m using fresh mushrooms.  The reconstituted dry mushrooms weren’t really working for me as they tasted a bit spongy.  So no recipe to post for this one, boo.  rudolphs-3-of-5

Even with the mistakes, the meal came together, albeit in draft form.  It sure looked pretty though, and Big N, for his part, grilled the lamb up just right, showoff.

rudolphs-5-of-5 For wine, we paired with a favorite Gigondas.  Gigondas is a region in the southern Rhone, so wines from here will be predominantly Grenache based, and usually blended with some Syrah and Mourvedre.  I find these wines more floral and elegant than their big Chateauneuf du Pape brother nearby, though some find them more minerally so prefer the more expensive Chateauneufs.  The Gigondas we picked from Whole Foods, 2005 Nectar du Terroir, costs about $20.  In this wine we found dark concentrated fruits like black cherry, lean tannins, and on the nose violets, leather, and some tobacco.  Rich and sultry, the wine complemented the Moroccan spices and hearty beans.  The presentation was so nice, I think I’ll go with a do-over in the near future.

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