Spring: Grilled Lamb Sirloin With Jalapeño-Mint Jelly, Grilled Asparagus, And Pecan Rice Pilaf

Pairs Perfectly with Rodney Strong Symmetry

Recipe by Chef Jeff Mall

Lamb Sirloin Steaks
4 lamb sirloin steaks, about 7 ounces each
1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons sweet Hungarian paprika
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary
1⁄3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Pecan Rice Pilaf
1 cup chopped pecans
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1⁄2 cup chopped yellow onion
1⁄2 cup chopped red bell pepper
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1 1⁄3 cups long-grain rice
2 cups chicken stock or broth
1 bay leaf
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 pound asparagus
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
1⁄4 cup fresh mint leaves, minced
1 cup (1 half-pint jar) jalapeño jelly (recipe follows)

Put the lamb steaks in a large baking dish.  In a small bowl, stir the lemon zest and juice, garlic, paprika, oregano, rosemary, olive oil, salt, and pepper together. Pour over the lamb, cover, and refrigerate for at least 6 hours or overnight.

For the pilaf: Pour the pecans into a dry saucepan and toast over medium heat, stirring often, until lightly browned and fragrant, 2 minutes. Add the butter, onion, pepper, and green onions. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.

Stir the rice into the pecan mixture. Stir in the chicken stock, bay leaf, and salt. Bring to a boil. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 20 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand for 5 minutes before uncovering. Remove the bay leaf and fluff the rice with a fork. Cover again and keep warm until ready to serve.

Prepare a medium-hot fire in a charcoal grill or preheat a gas grill to medium-high. Trim the tough bottom stalks from the asparagus and toss the stalks in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, and pepper. Grill the lamb for about 4 minutes on each side for medium-rare. Transfer to a platter, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest for 5 minutes. Place the asparagus on grill, perpendicular to the grill grids, and grill for 1 or 2 minutes on each side until lightly charred and tender. Transfer to a plate.

In a small serving bowl, stir the mint leaves into the jalapeño jelly. Divide the rice pilaf and asparagus evenly among 4 plates. Slice the lamb steaks and fan out each steak on the plates next to the asparagus and rice. Drizzle the jelly over the lamb and asparagus and pass the remaining jelly at the table. Makes 4 main-course servings

Wine Pairing: Sonoma County Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, or red Meritage

Jalapeño Jelly
2 jalapeño chiles, seeded and minced
1 red bell pepper, seeded, deribbed, and finely chopped
1⁄2 cup apple cider vinegar
2 1⁄2 cups sugar
Pinch of salt
1 1⁄2 ounces liquid pectin (half of a 3-ounce pouch)

In a medium nonreactive saucepan, combine the peppers, vinegar, sugar, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Stir in the liquid pectin and return to a full boil. Boil for 1 minute, stirring constantly and reducing the heat if needed to prevent the jelly from boiling over. Remove from the heat and let cool. Pour into 3 sterilized half-pint jars, cover, and refrigerate for at least 4 hours or up to 4 weeks. Makes about 3 cups


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