This week we continue our look at holiday menu ideas, with part two of last week’s discussion of main courses. This week we’ll look at ideas for beef and lamb dishes and wines that match.
Try a new wine this week!
Beef And Lamb Dishes
Just as earlier this month we looked at ideas for earlier courses in a multi-course meal, let’s look at the main course. Last week we discussed chicken and pork, this week it’s beef and lamb.
When it comes to beef, you can always grill steaks. But for myself, I do that a lot throughout the year, and I’d like to something different for the holidays. And, I’d like to cook something that won’t keep me in the kitchen all evening when everyone else is drinking wine and enjoying the evening. Maybe we’ll all wind up in the kitchen, but then everyone’s watching me cook, and I don’t know if that’s a lot better.
So, if not grilled, then what? Well, you could always cook a whole beef tenderloin. It’s expensive, but delicious. Sear it first, then finish in the oven. It can be seasoned, or crusted, or sauced or any combination. There are many good recipes.
And if you’re finishing something in the oven, it doesn’t have to be the most expensive cut. In fact, as a certified barbecue judge (KCBS, MBN, MIM), I can tell you that tougher cuts tend to have more flavor. That’s one reason that filet’s are traditionally sauced. But, they’re tougher, and the way to handle that is to cook it low and slow, breaking down the tough connective fibers.
Braising a beef roast in Italian Barolo is a great tradition, though a different red wine would be good, too, and less expensive. That takes around three hours for a good-sized roast. Beef Burgundy is another traditional favorite, but tell your guests what it is or they’ll think it’s a beef stew with wine (which it is).
For lamb, we most often seem to have a choice between lamb chops (back to the grill, again), or leg of lamb. Leg of lamb is a very wine-friendly dish.
Now a good cabernet is never out of place with beef or lamb, but for the holidays I’ll probably shake things up with a blend. RED4 (“Red to the Power of 4”), from Vina Robles is a good one.
It’s a blend of syrah and petite sirah, with a small dollop of touriga and tannat, a deeply-colored but drinkable blend with a bit of complexity for less than $20.