Aussie Red Better Pairing than Rioja with Turkish Lamb Stew

We enjoyed Rick Stein’s “From Venice to Istanbul” tv programme last year and we tried his Lamb Kleftiko. A couple of very good pairings with that dish can be found here.

This time we cooked his rich Turkish lamb stew with aubergine purée (Hunkar begendi).

Boned lamb shoulder is cooked with red pepper paste, tomato paste, onion, garlic, green chilli, green pepper, tomatoes, oregano and seasoning. The lamb stew is served on a bed of aubergine purée made from mashed aubergine, milk, flour, Parmesan, lemon juice and seasoning. We served with flatbread.

We opened a bottle of Baron de Ley Rioja Reserva from the Co-op.  A previous bottle of this medium-bodied Spanish red was very good with lamb chops.

There were black fruits on the nose, a vanilla sweetness with mocha and sweet black fruits on the palate. A good match with the meal, but we thought the flavours in the aubergine purée may have detracted a little from the pairing.2016-01-15 18.01.11

We finished off the leftovers with a bottle of Dark Corner Durif Shiraz 2014, a full-bodied Australian red from the Sunday Times Wine Club. We chose this wine because it had previously made a very good match with lamb meatballs in tomato sauce.

There were brambly fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness on the palate, with blackberry fruit and a milk chocolate and coffee mocha finish. The Shiraz was a better match than the Rioja with this particular combination of Turkish lamb stew and aubergine purée.

A Chilean Cabernet Good with Turkish Köfte

We enjoyed an excellent family holiday in Kalkan, Turkey a few weeks ago and I will be writing about some of our culinary experiences soon.

While we were there, on a couple of occasions, we enjoyed Lamb Köfte cooked on the barbecue.  So much so that we brought back some packets of Köfte Harci (meatball mix).  The instructions on the packet were in Turkish and German.  My knowledge of German is considerably better than Turkish and I worked out that the suggestion was to mix minced lamb and beef together with the spice mix and water. If desired we could add an egg and some parsley. We cooked these on the barbie and served them with fried Aubergines (from our Turkish cookbook) and rice.  It was difficult to pinpoint exactly all the herbs and spices that were in the mix, but we could definitely detect cumin.

We opened a bottle of red from the Wine Society – The Society’s Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is full-bodied and we tasted black fruits, particularly blackcurrants. This fruitiness was balanced with smooth tannins from oak to give a richness. We thought it complemented the Köfte very well.

A Mature Aussie Cabernet Goes Well with Lamb in Yogurt

We finished the remainder of the Yogurtli Kebab Turkish lamb dish from the previous evening (see 12th November).  The lamb cubes combine with yogurt, cumin, paprika and tomatoes to produce a delightfully-flavoured dish.  We decided to switch to a medium-bodied Australian red – Wild River Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 from Sunday Times Wine Club.  This mature red had a cassis sweetness with plenty of fruity blackcurrant flavours.  We thought this food-friendly wine went very well with the lamb.

A Spanish Red Pairs Well with a Turkish Lamb Dish

Tonight we enjoyed one of our favourite lamb dishes – Yogurtli Kebab from Supercook.  This is a really delicious Turkish dish and is cubed lamb marinated in yogurt, cumin, onion and lemon juice. It is cooked with tomatoes and paprika and served on a bed of toast would you believe?  It is quite mildly spiced but full of flavour. We opened a bottle of Torres La Plaza Real Garnacha Syrah 2008 from Sunday Times Wine Club.  We last had a bottle of this wine with Greek Lamb Stew and really enjoyed it (see 18th August 2011).  This Spanish red exhibited cherry flavours, with smooth vanilla and subtle spices.  A very good match with the lamb.

A Lovely Chilean Red Blend Brilliant with a Turkish Kebab Dish

We had one of our all time favourite meals – Halep Kebab.  One of our friends has adapted this recipe from many experiments trying to recreate what he used to enjoy in a small Turkish restaurant in Brighton in the 70s and 80s.  This wonderfully flavoured lamb dish contains a powerful tomato and onion sauce with loads of cumin, coriander and chilli.  Yoghurt is added at the table to taste and has a lovely cooling effect.  I discovered we still had a bottle of Fundacion Carmenére/Syrah 2007.  This Chilean red from the Sunday Times Wine Club delivers blackcurrant from the Carmenére, with berry fruits and peppery spice from the Syrah.  A lovely rich and powerful mouthful and a brilliant match with the Halep.