This month’s wine pairing weekend theme is all about Greek wine so we bring you Lamb Kebabs and Agiorgitiko. Thanks to Cindy Lowe Rynning of Grape Experiences for choosing and hosting this theme. I had a an excuse to open the bottle of Agiorgitiko my well traveled neighbor gifted me.
First the Lamb Kebabs Recipe:
- 1 1lb lamb kebabs - about ¾ inch each
- 5-12½ inch cubes of zucchini
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons Greek yogurt
- Juice of 1 small lemon or lime
- 3 sprigs of thyme (remove hard stems)
- 1 small shallot chopped
- salt and pepper
- 1 or 2 large fresh tomatoes
- 1 poblano
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 dashes red pepper flakes
- Tablespoon red wine vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs - I used oregano, basil, and mint
- 1 cup Greek strained through cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer for 2-3 hours at room temp
- black pepper
- ½ cup rice (I used cauliflower rice)
- ½ - ¾ cup white wine
- 1½ teaspoons cinnamon
- ¾ teaspoon cumin
- 1 medium shallot or equivalent amount sweet or red onion chopped
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
- Combing marinade and place in sealed bag with lamb. Marinate room temperature at least 3 hours or overnight in fridge.
- When ready to cook, divide kebabs and place on two skewers.
- Divide zucchini, place on two skewers, brush with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
- Heat grill to really hot
- Oil cleaned grate
- Sear zucchini (4-5 minutes each side
- Sear lamb to medium (2-3 minutes each side)
- Remove from heat
- While grill is heating...
- In a dry cast iron skillet, roast tomatoes, poblano, and garlic. Turn frequently with tongs. Remove when outsides are blackened. Place pepper in plastic bag. Meanwhile chop tomatoes and garlic. Place in small pot with vinegar and red pepper flakes. Remove blackened skin and seeds from poblano and add to pot. Heat sauce over medium heat until reduced to desired consistency. Add fresh herbs and cover. Either turn off heat or turn low to keep warm. Depending on serving time - you can allow sauce to reach room temperature and reheat.
- Prepare rice according to package direction substituting wine for ½ of the recommended water
- While rice cooks, saute onion in a separate skillet adding cinnamon and cumin.
- Add onion and spices to cooked rice and season with salt and pepper.
- (If substituting cauliflower rice like I did cauliflower can be cooked with onion mixture in skillet)
- Layer rice, lamb and zucchini, top wth tomato sauce, and garnish with yogurt.
This recipe was inspired by a Turkish recipe from Classical Turkish Cooking by Ayla Algar that looked like it would take 3 days to make and had ingredients like onion water. I start on page 108 and changed everything I did not have, did not have time for, did not want to do, and did not recognize. It took about 1 hour (active time) and was delicious.
Calorie/Carb Saving Tip
Not only did I not make the special bread (which I’m sure as divine) I did not even substitute rice. I used cauliflower rice seasoned with cinnamon, cumin, white wine, and onion. To learn how easy it is to make cauliflower rice see “Cauliflower Rice Risotto“
Next the Agiorgitiko
I could not even read the name of this grape – written with the Greek alphabet – it was literally Greek to me. Luckily it was spelled out in English on the back label. I did study this grape when I got my Diploma from Wine and Spirits Education Trust so I had my old notes.
My trusty notes told me just what I needed to know. Agiorgitiko (also spelled Aghiorghitiko) is a red grape grown in Neméa in the Peloponnese. It is fruity, can sometimes lack acid, and blends will with Cabernet Sauvignon. It is the 2nd most planted grape in Greece – maybe that is why I have had a few times over the years even with my limited experience with Greek wine. Turns out most of this info was on the back label.
Tasting note ~ We did indeed find this to be quite fruity with rich red cherry flavors and almost a light body compared to the flavor saturation. Tannins were soft to nonexistent and it a hint of a sweet cinnamon note. I would not have identified it as Greek or Old World style in a blind tasting. But it was a pleasant pairing.
Be sure to see what other great Greek wines and recipes the #winepw team cooked up.
- Lori of Dracaena Wines writes about The Case of the Confused Country.
- David from Cooking Chat suggests Grilled Tilapia with Tomatoes, Olives and Greek Wine Pairing.
- Sarah of Curious Cuisiniere serves Moussaka and a Greek Wine Pairing.
- Jill of L’Occasion writes about the 5 Surprises of Greek Wine
- Lauren of The Swirling Dervish features A Taste of the Peloponnese: Fresh Swordfish and Mercouri Foloi
- Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm discovers that Lahano me Kreas Does Double Duty.
- Jane of Always Ravenous serves Souvlaki Paired with Assyrtiko.
- Gwendolyn of Wine Predator says Go Greek with Marathon Wines and Grilled Eggplant with Spiced Yogurt for #WinePW
- Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla pairs Garides Saganaki + A Traditional Semi-Sparkling Orange Wine
- Jade of Tasting Pour pairs Lamb Kebabs and Agiorgitiko
- Cindy of Grape Experiences takes on Dinner Tonight: Wine from Crete with Shrimp, Feta, and Tomatoes