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Old 03-15-2006, 05:05 PM   #1
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Pairing Side Dishes for Lamb?

Hi guys!
I'm new to the Forum and I think I will enjoy it here!

I am a little confused about pairing foods with side dishes, salads, etc...

I'm cooking some lamb chops for guests. I am going to make them with fresh rosemary, olive oil, lemon and a lil' wine in the grill pan. Appetizers are greek themed - hummus, pits, roasted veggies, spanakopita, etc...

As a side dish, I would love to make this mushroom risotto I do quite well. Is it weird to pair lamb with that? I know it would go best with potatoes, but I am so tempted by the risotto!

Am I overthinking this? I'm often confused about the best side dishes to serve with meat - should they be from the same cuisine or can I mix it up? (I mean,. I know there are no "rules" but I don't want to confuse the taste buds...)

Any input appreciated!

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Old 03-15-2006, 05:34 PM   #2
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mushroom risotto will go fab with lamb...my concern is time...you won't spend any with your guests if you are making these two simultaneously.

The Italians would serve the risotto first, then the lamb as the secondo. The lamb might be accompanied by lightly sauteed greens or roasted asparagus.

I have served meals this way, giving a breather between courses as I go prepare the next, and my guests love it, it also means I am doing less all at once and can also spend some time with my guests.

I think your appetizer menu looks great also.

end with something light...sorbet and a crisp wafer of some type.

have a great meal
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:48 PM   #3
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This is a simpler recipe than your wonderful risotto, but I believe it would also be delicious with the lamb chops, and might save you time so that you can enjoy your guests.

Greek Rice Pilaf
30 minutes 10 mins prep
4 servings

1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 garlic clove, minced
1 tablespoon dried mint
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 cups cooked rice
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen
2 tablespoons fresh dill, chopped
1 cup feta cheese, crumbled

1. In a heavy skillet, sauté the onions in oil on medium heat until they begin to soften.
2. Add the garlic, mint and pepper and sauté for 2 more minutes.
3. Stir in the spinach, lemon juice, rice and green peas.
4. Add the dill.
5. Cover and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
6. When the spinach is limp and the rice is hot, top with the feta and serve immediately.
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Old 03-15-2006, 05:58 PM   #4
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Welcome to DiscussCooking, ag.

Robo is right about the timing. The mushroom risotto sounds good but IS time consuming.

I'd go with the pilaf. You can make that and keep it warm without harm.
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:25 AM   #5
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There are no set rules. But generally, cuisines and flavors from the same areas can be used and the end result will come out complimentary most of the time. You could use flavors from any of the coastal or near coastal regions in the countries that border the Mediterranean (Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Egypt, etc.) and get a combination that would work out fairly well.
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Old 03-16-2006, 12:34 AM   #6
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My favorite for a meal like that would be a pilaf - using Mahatma® Saffron Yellow Rice Mix - made this way:

For 1 package of rice:

1 pkg Saffron Yellow long grain rice
2-4 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO)
1-2 Tablespoons lamb drippings (if available)
1 Small yellow onion - diced
2-3 cloves garlic - minced
Slivered (julienned) almonds, or pine nuts (optional)

Heat the EVOO and lamb fat in a sauce pot over medium heat. Add the onion and sweat until just starting to brown (about 7 minutes or so). Add the garlic - 2 minutes, then add the almonds/pine nuts (if using - sauté for about 2-4 minutes) and then the rice. Sauté the rice 3-4 minutes until it begins to color - stir frequently so it just colors and doesn't burn.

Add the amount of water called for on the package - increase heat to high and bring to a boil (I have also thrown in a few yellow raisins or diced dried apricots or figs at this point) - slap on the lid, reduce heat to low and let "simmer" for about 20 minutes (until water is absorbed and rice is done). Remove from heat and fluff with fork before serving.
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Old 03-16-2006, 02:04 AM   #7
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A side dish of brown lentils would go fantastic with the lamb, an age old combination...and quite Greek too. You could flavour them with some lemon juice, garlic and some fresh herbs (I suggest any two of the following rosemary/basil/parsley/mint) and ev-oo.

Just cook the lentils in plenty of water till tender, drain them, then stir in the above mentioned ingredients to taste.
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Old 03-16-2006, 11:34 PM   #8
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aww! you guys are so helpful!! i will consider making the risotto as a first course, or replacing it with a pilaf - those recipes sound fantastic!

our guests are in for the weekend, so we have lots of time with them - we are all the type to congregate in the kitchen with wine and chat away, so i don't mind stirring risotto.

great input - looking forward to chatting away with everyone in the future.

(ps - roasted asparagus was just added to the list - thanks for that suggestion!)
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:55 PM   #9
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A favorite for us with lamb is couscous. Most often (because of easy availablilty) I buy Near East brand. It is so easy, you just pour boiling water over it and let it set, fluff it up and go. I prefer to buy the plain couscous, and reconstitute it with chicken stock instead of water, drizzle with olive oil, as a minimum. But often I add pine nuts or almonds, chopped dried fruit, capers, olives, feta cheese when I toss the couscous at the end. In the summer fresh chives, mint parsley, etc, from the garden. Oh, a squeeze of lemon. Oh ... well, the combinations are endless. The end result is great hot, room temperature, or cold, it can be made way in advance. If you have a yen for something a little more exotic and easy and fun, this is the way to go.
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Old 03-17-2006, 10:59 PM   #10
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Oh, and for a summer dish especially, there is also taboule. Again, I prefer Near East brand because that is what I can get. This is a cold dish, and you want lots of fresh parsley, as a minimum. Then you can add tomatoes, cucumbers, feta, etc. This is served cold. I like to have a dab of yogurt to dollop on top of it, and some kalmata or similar olives with it.
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