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Recipe for a cheerful marriage

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And a mixed marriage at that.

One of the best uses for leftover roast is in a tian, a simple Provençal preparation in which the chopped meat is combined with vegetables, aromatics and white wine and baked in a earthenware dish of the same name (recipe after the jump). I recently made one with the trimmings from our vernal equinox leg of lamb. As a believer in regional parings, I’d normally reach for a lighter-styled Provençal red. Having none on hand, I popped the cork on this: an outlander, yes, but it made a fine match.

IGT Sicilia 2010, Gaio Gaio, Calabretta ($21.90, oenopole, NLA)
100% organically farmed Nerello Mascalese grown on the north slope of Mount Etna. Fermented with indigenous yeasts. Matured in stainless steel and Slavonian oak barrels (neutral, I’d guess). The wine is named after the winemaker’s father, Gaio, which also means cheerful, merry, chipper. 11.5% (!) ABV.
Pale red. Nose of red berries, obsidian dust, dried orange and a umami note (dried porcini mushrooms?). Light and flowing in the mouth, with a caressing texture, singing acidity and soft tannins. The fruit plays sweet over a ground base of dark minerals and finishes on a savoury note. Fresh and pure, a wine that almost drinks itself, a joy. The closest analogue would be one of the lighter Beaujolais crus – a Fleuri, say – except the flavours are more southern, solar, volcanic.

oenopole’s first-ever shipment of Calabretta wines arrived in March and sold out within days. Going by the quality of this bottle, it’s easy to understand why. Those who didn’t get any or enough can try it in local restaurants, hope for a second shipment and keep an eye peeled for the next vintage. Wines like this are why people turn to the private import channel.

Tian d’agneau aux champignons

This is one of those dishes with countless variations. The mushrooms can be replaced by vegetables like tomato, eggplant and zucchini, the shallots by sautéed onions. Other herbs can be used. The lamb can be replaced by beef, other meats or left out altogether. There are even recipes for seafood tians. Nearly all have a simple, homey quality that pushes them into the realm of comfort food.

Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF). In a large bowl, combine 250 g (1 lb) sliced brown or white mushrooms, 100 to 125 ml (1/3 to 1/2 cup) chopped flat-leaf parsley, 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves, 6 minced medium shallots, 4 to 6 minced garlic cloves, 60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Spread half of the mixture on the bottom of a baking dish (mine is 21.5 x 28 cm / 8½ x 11 in.). Scatter 2 to 3 cups chopped cooked lamb over the mushrooms. Cover with the other half of the mushroom mixture. Add 125 ml (1/2 cup) dry white wine. Top with 60 ml (1/4 cup) fresh bread crumbs. Drizzle with a little olive oil. Bake for 30 minutes.

Written by carswell

April 11, 2013 at 11:35

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