I enjoy the flavor wine imparts in my cooking, so I was happy to team up with 14 Hands Winery to do some summer grilling. They sent me some bottles of wine for me to experiment with. We’ve purchased 14 Hands for cooking before, and we’ve always been very satisfied with the results. I was very happy to try out some of the other varieties they produce. Perfect timing – we recently bought a small charcoal grill and now I want to grill absolutely everything. Like cooking with wine,grilling over charcoal also gives food such a nice flavor – it always reminds me of summers gone by.
I knew I wanted to pair the Hot To Trot Blend with lamb and summer fruit. I imagined lamb marinated in white wine and fresh herbs would be incredibly flavorful and perfect on the grill.
14 Hands produces great wines, and I wanted to make sure my ingredients matched the quality of the wine. So I made my way to all of my favorite local markets, stands and farms to stock up on the high quality locally produced food like lamb and sheep’s milk feta, raspberries and nectarines, veggies and greens, and ciabatta.
I must have changed my menu plans about a dozen times while I was shopping, and finally settled on making the ground lamb into patties served on greens with a flavorful salad on the side. (And a gorgeous dessert, but we’ll come to that later.)
Some of my husband’s favorite sausage is made with wine, so I decided to add some wine to ground lamb and let the meat marinate overnight before making it into grilled patties. It worked wonderfully. The lamb was so tender the patties were practically falling apart. (You might think that’s a bad thing, but it just meant we had to treat them more gently than a hamburger.) I later read that Greek-style meatballs are traditionally made with wine and the same kinds of herbs I used. These patties would be great made into meatballs and served as an appetizer for a BBQ.
To go with the lamb patties, I wanted to make a flavorful salad that wouldn’t overpower the lamb. Thin wedges of nectarines along with thinly sliced fennel, baby red onions, Ricotta Salata on a bed of baby arugula with a little drizzle of a sweet honey wine vinaigrette was the perfect compliment to the rich lamb. Ribbons of fresh mint leaves went very well with the lightly oiled and grilled sliced zucchini. The zucchini came to me almost as an after thought, and because we have to eat it at every meal to keep up with our garden. :)
For dessert, I knew I wanted to reduce the white wine into a syrup. I added some sugar and a vanilla bean. Once it had reduced by half, I added the raspberries and let it simmer a little longer Almost all of the alcohol evaporated leaving the most delicious sauce I think I’ve ever tasted. You know I am prone to exaggeration, but I really mean it this time. The sauce was incredible on its own, but drizzled over the Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta? Magical.
Every element of this meal was summer perfection–the fresh produce, the flavorful lamb and cheeses, the charcoal grill, and of course, the 14 Hands wine.
(p.s. These aren’t burned. They’re just nicely charred and the tastiest part of the patty.)
Serve these lamb patties up with Nectarine Fennel Salad and Greek Yogurt Panna Cotta with Raspberry White Wine Syrup.
- For Lamb Patties:
- 1 Tbsp. butter
- 1 onion, finely diced
- 2-3 large cloves garlic
- 2-2½ lbs. ground lamb (I like locally raised, grass fed lamb, free of hormones and antibiotics)
- ½ cup white wine (14 Hands Hot To Trot)
- ¼ cup or more mixed fresh herbs--thyme, rosemary, marjoram, oregano
- 2 tsp. coarse salt (use a little less if using table salt)
- ¼ tsp. black pepper
- For Feta-Yogurt Sauce:
- ¼ cup crumbled feta cheese
- ½ cup Greek yogurt
- a few tablespoons of fresh marjoram, oregano and mint leaves
- salt and pepper
- a little olive oil
- For serving:
- Fresh organic salad greens
- slices of fresh cucumber
- For Lamb Patties - Heat a small skillet over medium high heat and add the butter. When foaming subsides, add the onion and garlic and cook until it softens and starts to turn lightly golden. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.
- Place the ground lamb in a large bowl. Add the cooled onion/garlic mixture, white wine, herbs, salt and pepper. Mix gently. Cover and refrigerate overnight or several hours for flavors to meld.
- The next day, shape the meat into patties. We made about 4-5" patties that were about ¾" thick. (About a dozen patties.)
- To cook on a grill, prepare it for direct grilling. It should be very hot. Cook the patties over the direct heat for 4-5 minutes per side, or less time if you've made smaller patties. It may take longer if the grill isn't very hot. Transfer to a clean plate and keep warm until ready to serve.
- To cook on the stove top, heat a cast-iron skillet (or non-stick skillet) over medium-high heat. Cook the patties on each side until cooked through, about 3-4 minutes per side.
- For Feta-Yogurt Sauce: Place all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until combined, but not pureed. Chill until ready to use. Makes about ¾ cup.
- To serve: Place the grilled patties on the bed of greens on a serving platter. Serve each patty with some of the greens and a spoonful of the feta-yogurt sauce and a few slices of cucumber.
Disclosure: The food and wine in this post are sponsored by 14 Hands Winery, my opinions and gushing are, as always, my own. But I do recommend 14 Hands if you’re looking for great wine.