Inspiration for this pairing… #Merlotme is a movement to “celebrate the greatness of Merlot throughout October.” The #winepw crew is participating by pairing recipes. We did not know which Merlot we would each receive and our house was quite glad to get Duckhorn 2012 Napa Valley Merlot.
We have a lot of plums right now and that slightly tart dark fruit flavor seemed perfect for a Merlot. Fall makes us crave savory dishes dusted with cinnamon and allspice, two flavors we often find in new world Merlot. The more we thought about it this wine was just made for Fall. On the nose the Duckhorn Merlot showed dusty minerality, notes of raspberry, cherry, toasted wood, floral and spice (cinnamon and allspice). The wine was well integrated and balanced, bright, ready to drink, and quite a pleasure.
We are reminded of a trip to Half Moon Bay one October about 7 years ago. Three things stand out in our memory. Traffic was backed up horribly on the way to the restaurant, our appetite increasing with each inch forward. It was pumpkin season and they dotted the fields with orange happiness. We were bound and determined to order a pumpkin dish. The dish is one we will never forget. All I had to say to Handsome Hubby was, “There’s a dish I have always wanted to recreate but don’t know how.” He immediately knew. We don’t think we nailed the recipe but we nailed the satisfaction factor. Our version, using acorn squash instead of pumpkin, conjures all of the things we love about fall. If crunchy leaves, crisp mornings, and changing colors had a taste, it would be this lamb and acorn squash autumn skillet.
- 2 lamb shanks
- 2 Tbs. thyme
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 cups red wine
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 2 cups winter squash, cubed
- 1½ cups caramelized onion
- 3 Tbs. sage, chopped
- 2 cups red potatoes, cubed
- ½ tsp. powdered cinnamon
- ¼ tsp. allspice
- 2 Italian plums, chopped
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil
- 2 eggs
- Cooking Directions
- Coat bottom of dutch oven with olive oil.
- Brown lamb shanks on all sides.
- Toss in garlic, thyme, and red wine.
- Cover and place in 200 degree oven for 2½ hours or until meat is falling off bone.
- Meanwhile caramelize onions and prepare other ingredients.
- Remove lamb shanks from oven and increase heat to 425.
- While shanks cool pour cooking juices into fat separator leaving enough to coat bottom of dutch oven.
- Heat dutch oven on stovetop and toss in potatoes, sprinkle with salt and pepper, cover and cook on stovetop 10 minutes.
- Remove cover and transfer potatoes in dutch oven to heated oven.
- Add ¼ cup cooking juices.
- Cook 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile remove lamb from bones and sprinkle squash with cinnamon and allspice.
- Add lamb, sage and squash.
- Cook 15 minutes.
- While cooking poach eggs.
- Add onion and plums to dutch oven.
- Cook 5 minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Divide between 2 plates and top each with poached egg.
Samples were provided by the winery and enjoyed by the wine writer.
Let’s see how our #winepw friends pair their Merlot.
- Jeff at foodwineclick with #MerlotMe Confession with Duckhorn and Pork Chops
- Martin at Enofylz with An Exploration Of Merlot’s Food Pairing Versatility With Ethnic Fare
- Lori at Dracaena Wines with #MerlotMe and #WinePW– A Perfect Pair[ing]
- Camilla at Culinary Adventures with Camilla with Fungi, Fun Guy, & Two Napa Valley Merlots
- Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva with Return to the Magic of Merlot
- Cindy at Grape Experiences with #MerlotMe with Duckhorn and J.Lohr paired with Duck Breasts Provençale
- Erin at Platings and Pairings with Gnocchi with Frizzled Prosciutto and Blue Cheese
- Sarah at Curious Cuisiniere with Beef Osso Buco and an Exploration of Merlot Wine
- Jennifer at VinoTravels with Merlot pairings with Polenta and Sausage
- David at Cooking Chat #MerlotMe Wine & Roasted Rosemary Pork Chops
- Jade at Tasting Pour with Lamb and Acorn Squash Autumn Skillet
- Michelle at Rockin Red Blog with Celebrating #MerlotMe with #WinePW
Wendy Klik says
This dish sounds amazing and I can just imagine how well the Duckhorn paired with the lamb.
I usually pair Pinot noir with lamb. It is a wonderful pairing and living in Willamette Valley I cannot throw a rock without knocking over a good bottle. The Merlot was a good choice though.
Dracaena Wines says
I'll take anything pumpkin. and to have loads of plums- how wonderful and perfect timing!
Yes they were Italian plums so they were kind of tart and fleshy, really good for cooking.
Jennifer Martin says
My favorite time of year for sure and I as well think of pumpkin dishes, squashes, warm baking spices and yummy treats. Sounds like Duck Horn was loved by all. I've never attempted lamb, but I must try preparation of one soon.
No different than preparing any other meat really and lamb loves wine!
Cindy Rynning says
Love this! Acorn squash screams "autumn!" and I have some at the ready! I'll try the lamb, too…with Merlot of course!! Thanks, Jade!
Then you are all set!
Erin Lynch says
What an amazing fall meal – I'll bet the flavors are perfect with the merlot!
Camilla Mann says
This MIGHT have to be on my table this week! Too bad I'm out of the Duckhorn!! 😉
Sarah | Curious Cuisiniere says
What a wonderful dish! Perfect pairing!