Barbecues - bane or breeze?
Practical help for a laid back barbecue
Barbecues can be a lot of work and sometimes a bit tiresome with the same old, sometimes charred, offerings but they needn't be - find some time-saving recipes that allow you to chat with your guests and serve wines that won't be overwhelmed by the smoky food.
To help you chill out at your barbecue this summer I am sharing with you one of my favourite recipes - and it's very easy - plus some tips on wines to serve with barbecued food:
Barbecued Shoulder of Lamb with Merguez Spices
I have adapted a fabulous River Cottage recipe for use on the barbecue - it makes a great change from standard barbecue fare. All credit to River Cottage for the original recipe:
I suggest one medium shoulder of lamb (c. 2kg in weight) scored and with excess fat removed. You will need sufficient charcoal on the barbecue to keep the shoulder cooking for at least a couple of hours.
The spice paste consists:
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
½ cinnamon stick, broken up
1 tsp black peppercorns
A pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli powder
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
Leaves from 2 large rosemary sprigs, finely chopped
2 tsp sea salt
2 tsp olive oil
Crush the cumin, coriander, fennel seeds, cinnamon and peppercorns (after dry-roasting if you have the time) and mix with the rest of the spice paste ingredients. Rub the spice paste all over the lamb shoulder. Grill the lamb on the hot barbecue for three minutes each side, taking care not to burn it.
Wrap the lamb in foil pouring a glass of water into the foil and cook for two hours by which time the meat should be falling off the bone. You may need to add another glass of water halfway through. Skim the excess fat off the juices and pour over the meat before serving. And that is it - easy, leaving you more time to spend with your guests.
Which wines to serve at a barbecue?The standard guidelines for food & wine pairing apply - see our earlier Food & Wine Matching blog - but in general barbecued food requires intensity so that the wine is not overwhelmed by the food - but beware the influence of marinades and sauces.
Good all-rounders would be Malbec or Shiraz which have the body, complexity and spice to cope with highly flavoured food.
For fans of a lighter style of wine try a Rioja, a fresh sparkling rosé with body or a fruity rather than a crisp white such as a Picpoul or a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc.
© Wines With Attitude Limited, www.wineswithattitude.co.uk
Lindsay Cornelissen DipWSET is passionate about good quality wine and set up Wines With Attitude to share that passion with other wine lovers.