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Evans & Tate Classic Cabernet Merlot with Lamb

– Shu Ying Sengmany


Does anyone remember the scene from ‘Devil wears Prada’ where Miranda Priestly sardonically said, “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking.” That might be your first thought when you see lamb paired with Cabernet Merlot. But here at Evans & Tate we love to put an interesting spin on a tried favourite. So don’t you worry, we have just the recipe for you when you want to pull out all the stops. Guaranteed to impress even the harshest of critics. 

As WA chef Don Hancey explains, “The evolution of food and wine pairing has reached such heights that almost no combination is out of bounds. In this case we match our classic French Blend against an Italian inspired medley with an Asian thumbprint. Sound confusing? It’s not really. The inherent “gamey” flavour of the lamb works with the Cabernet grape as it has done for centuries. What sets this dish apart is the use of vegetable and spice that capture the essence of pepper, mint and liquorice all of which are defining flavours in the cabernet and merlot fruits of the region.  In this pairing it is the like for like flavours that make the whole experience work.”



  • 2 racks of lamb, each with 8 bines
  • Sea salt
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch of thyme
  • 1/2 garlic bulb, horizontally cut with the skin on


  • 2 ½ tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 red onion, in 1cm slices
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp. chopped oregano
  • 2 tsp. salted baby capers, rinsed well
  • 2 anchovy fillets, roughly chopped
  • 1 red capsicum, 1cm slices
  • 1 yellow capsicum, 1cm slices
  • 200g tinned cherry tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup de-seeded olives
  • 1 ½ tbsp. red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. brown sugar


  • 75g unsalted Butter
  • 500g peas
  • 10g fresh mint leaves, coarsely chopped
  • coarse salt and ground pepper


Preheat the oven to 90C. Trim fat from lamb and season with salt.

For the lamb, heat oil in frying pan on a medium-high heat. Gently fry the racks until golden brown all over. Remove from pan and place on a bed of thyme along with the unpeeled garlic cloves, and star anise, in a baking tray.

Put in oven for one hour, or until a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 55°C. Remove from oven and allow to rest somewhere warm for 10 minutes. Check garlic and, if needed, return to the oven and continue to cook until very soft.

For the peperonata:
Heat 2½ tbsp. oil in a large, heavy-based pan over a low flame. Add onion, garlic and oregano, and sauté for 10 minutes, stirring often, until onion is soft. Add capers and anchovy fillets and stir over heat for 2 minutes. Add capsicums and cherry tomatoes and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes, until capsicum strips are soft and tender. Add olives, vinegar and sugar and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes, until slightly thickened.

Cut each rack into portions and serve with a large spoonful of the peperonata and slow-cooked garlic.

For mint pea mash:
In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high. Add peas and cook, stirring constantly, until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a food processor and pulse until coarsely pureed. Stir in mint and season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.

For an alternative garnish, try a summer melon, zucchini, mint and feta salad.

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