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The Home Plate - Life and Lamb

Featured recipe: Aussie lamb hash with poached eggs

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 lamb hash

Who says a stuffy dinner is the way to go for a romantic meal? Our vote’s with Chef Alex Espinoza of Napa Valley’s Peju Winery and his Aussie Lamb Hash with Poached Eggs for a romantic/dreamy brekkie. He had us at Lamb, but it’s also got exotic black garlic and gorgeous poached eggs for even more appeal. Especially with leftover slow-cooked lamb, be it shanks, shoulder or leg, this dish is as easy to make as it is sure to impress. Want to make it even easier? You can even roast the potatoes ahead, and just finish it all in a flash when the time is right. What’ll you do with all that time you saved? No worries mate, you and your better half’ll think of something.

Meet the chef: Alex Espinoza

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Peju Province Winery Chef Alex Espinoza’s “Chef’s Life” isn’t like many other chefs. As the chef for a top Napa Valley winery, he’s not tied to a restaurant and the daily routines that creates. It’s more like every day is a different private event, from wine pairing classes to full winery buyouts and retreats for Bay Area corporations like Facebook and Google. If you’re eating at Peju, Alex is cooking for you! As you might expect from a chef at a gorgeous winery in Napa Valley, Valentine’s Day is always a busy time of year for him, with special events and private dinners in high demand. We thought we’d get some tips for romance straight from the expert – it was a good excuse to catch up with one of our favorite blokes!

Chef Alex EspinozaWhat’s the best part about being a winery chef?
“I’ve been doing this for about 4 years now, and it’s a totally different lifestyle than your traditional chef’s life. It’s different every day, and there’s so much freedom and flexibility, it’s amazing. It’s also helped me learn a lot about wine!”

You just survived Valentine’s Day; what does that look like for a chef?
“It looks like work! (laughs) Chefs are always working on this and many other holidays. But it’s great to be trusted with creating that special romantic moment for people, where they can feel like kings and queens for the day.”

Do lamb and romantic meals go together?
“Hell yeah! Especially with Aussie lamb, the mild, sweet flavor can win over even folks who don't think they like lamb. Lamb is not an everyday meat – at least here in the US – so it has that unique, special occasion feel to it. I love to do a mushroom risotto with asparagus, mushrooms, fresh peas and parmesan, and top it with a beautiful Aussie Lamb tenderloin with red wine reduction and rosemary. Super sexy, and great with wine – petit verdot or a syrah would be perfect.”

What’s a dish you might make at home for a special someone?
“I think brunch is totally overlooked as a special-occasion meal; everybody does dinner, but brunch can be a great surprise to make someone feel special. What about an Aussie lamb hash with fingerling potatoes and fresh herbs, and poached eggs on top! Add a little sparkling wine like our sparkling rosé, or maybe a bellini or mimosa, and you’re in business. You can use leftover braised or roasted lamb, so it’s easier than it looks." 

Sounds delish! Let’s have a bit of that sparkling and think on that a bit…

February menu roundup

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Here are a few Aussie lamb dishes we spotted on our newsfeed that were too tempting to keep to ourselves. Get your Aussie fix if you’re near one of these spots!


Catch 35

Catch 35 – Chicago, IL   (pictured)

Australian Lamb Chops with Maitre d'Hotel butter, fingerling potatoes, creamed spinach and roasted garlic

Edge – Miami, FL

Aussie Lamb Shoulder, slow cooked with dried lime and spices, eggplant purée, ancient grains and kale

Seasons 52 – Nationwide
Mediterranean Braised Lamb Shank with autumn vegetables and Yukon mash

Texas de Brazil – Nationwide

This Brazilian-inspired restaurant specializes in slow-roasted and perfectly seasoned cuts of lamb including  leg of lamb  and  lamb chops . This technique comes to the United States straight from Southern Brazil, where Gauchos (cowboys) prepare meals over a campfire. At Texas de Brazil, the skilled gauchos journey through the restaurant with the grilled meats on sword-like skewers taken directly off the grill, stopping at each table to carve slices for diners.

BONUS: Did we mention that we have a great sweepstakes running for lamb month at Texas de Brazil? Get the info on Texas de Brazil’s Facebook.

Salt7 – Delray Beach, FL

Aussie Lamb with Salt7 spices and lemon oregano vinaigrette 

Second Empire Restaurant – Raleigh, NC 

Grilled Australian Lamb Rack with sweet potato & collard green gratin, roasted asparagus, black-eyed pea & corn salad, kolrabi puree, ginger mushroom jus 

Ragin Cajun Cooking – Chef Will Staten – Las Vegas, NV

Seared Grassfed Steak with blackening rub served over a healthy tomato, cucumber and red onion salad tossed in Italian seasonings, with minced garlic, peppered feta, EVOO & white balsamic vinegar

Chef’s Roll Feature: Chef Kwame Onwuachi – Washington D.C.

Aussie Lamb Bisteeya