Lamb, olive and anchovy Ragu with a grenacha red

La Copa is a mellow, easy drinking red wine that I really enjoy with a sticky and meaty slow cooked lamb dish. This meal is full of flavour and loves the grenacha, a grape that really complements the heady smell of cooked lamb,or rich pasta dishes.
la copa
I love the flavours that come off the bone on a long cooked meat dish, mix that with wine and some umami rich produce and you have a mouth watering stew that is ideal with a simple pasta. The best meats for a long slow cook are the tougher cuts. They are generally cheaper but when cooked right release the best flavours.

For this dish I use neck of lamb and get the butcher to slice thick cuts through the bone. Frying the the cuts in a little olive oil sears the meat and flavours the oil, I then remove the meat from the pan and sweat off some onion, carrot, garlic and celery. When the onions are translucent I put the meat back, add a good glass of La Copa and cover the dish with lamb stock. Herbs that go well are rosemary and thyme, and then I chop some pitted black olives and add some roughly chopped anchovies. I usually have some fresh anchovies in oil stored in the fridge, but if not some of the tinned ones used sparingly or a dollop of a sauce tube called ‘Umami’ Paste, that I found from Waitrose does the trick. Finally I stir in a tin of tomatoes and let slow cook for at least a couple of hours. If you have a slow cooker this is a perfect dish for it and it will be ready for the final preparation when you return from work with the house full of delicious aromas. The trick is to go sparingly with the olives and anchovy, about 3 or 4 olives per person and one anchovy is enough, then the flavours really enhance each other, becoming greater than the sum of its parts.

When the meat is falling off the bone remove the cuts, let them cool and pull the meat away from the bone and any gristle that is left. Now is a good time to spoon off the fats from the dish, before placing the meat back into the pot and giving it a good stir. Let the meat fall into strands. I use a wooden spoon to break up any big bits of olive or carrot and let the sauce get good and thick.

Pour it all over some freshly cooked Pasta like Penne or Farfalle and serve with a sprinkle of parsley or a crumbled ricotta.

La Copa is a well priced Spanish red, that occupies a really good niche in the market. Made in a modern style near Zaragoza which has the perfect terrain for this grape- hot and dry summers. It is well crafted for easy drinking, being medium bodied, young and not too dry and with well balanced berry and cherry notes and a good long finish.

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