Notes: February 2017

Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain.

This week, Altano Red Portugal (release: Feb 18), Casa Silva Carmenere (release: Feb 4), Katnook Cabernet Sauvignon (release: Feb. 18) and D’Arenberg The Galvo Garage red (release: Feb 4).

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Mushroom Stuffed Leg of Lamb

Serve the lamb with simple sides that won’t distract too much. Roasted potatoes and a side of green beans would work well.

You can make the lamb roll the day ahead and let it rest overnight in the refrigerator. Make sure to take it out at least an hour before roasting begins.

10 medium Swiss chard leaves (from 2 bunches), thick ribs removed
1 tablespoon butter
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 pounds assorted wild mushrooms (such as portobello, crimini, and stemmed shiitake), finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup fresh breadcrumbs made from day-old French bread
2 tablespoons whipping cream
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 6- to 7-pound boneless leg of lamb, butterflied to 2-inch thickness, excess fat and sinew trimmed
4 ounces ground veal or lamb
1 large egg
3 garlic cloves, sliced


Cook Swiss chard in large pot of boiling salted water until just tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. Squeeze chard dry and finely chop enough to measure 1 1/2 cups. Transfer to large bowl.

Melt butter with 2 tablespoons oil in large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add wild mushrooms, onion and 1 minced garlic clove and sauté until mushrooms are tender, about 6 minutes. Cool. Transfer to bowl with chard. Add breadcrumbs, cream, 1 tablespoon rosemary, 1 tablespoon thyme, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper and mix to blend. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead; cover and refrigerate).

Preheat oven to 350°F. Open butterflied lamb like a book and place cut side up on work surface. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Mix veal and egg into mushroom stuffing. Spread evenly over lamb; press to adhere. Starting at narrow end, roll up lamb tightly, enclosing filling. Fasten ends with poultry skewers. Rub outside of lamb with remaining 2 tablespoons oil, then with remaining 1/2 tablespoon rosemary, and 1/2 tablespoon thyme. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Tie lamb with kitchen string at 2-inch intervals to hold shape. Using small sharp knife, cut several 1-inch-deep slits in top of lamb, spacing apart; insert 1 garlic slice into each slit. Place lamb on rack in roasting pan.

Roast lamb to desired doneness or until instant-read thermometer inserted into thickest part of lamb registers 125°F to 135°F for medium-rare. Remove from oven. Cover with foil and let stand 20 minutes. Remove skewers and string. Cut lamb into 1/2-inch-thick slices and serve.

Serve with Barone Ricasoli Castello di Brolio Gran Selezione Chianti Classico DOCG 2013
Decant the wine for at least an hour prior to serving.

Here are some roasting temperature guidelines: remember that every oven is different and cooking times will vary. It is best to use a meat thermometer. Once the lamb reaches 125°F, it tends to cook quicker. We usually wait for it to reach 130°F before taking it out of the oven. The centre parts will be medium rare and the ends will have a little pink in the meat.

Roasting Temperature: 350°F

• Rare: 125°F (about 15 minutes per pound)
• Medium-Rare: 130°F to 135°F (about 20 minutes per pound)
• Medium: 135°F to 140°F (about 25 minutes per pound)
• Well-Done: 155°F to 165°F (about 30 minutes per pound)