Coffee and cabernet

On paper, coffee rub and an intense cabernet-dominant red doesn’t look like a match made in heaven. In practice, it works brilliantly. (Photo: Via Chowhound website)

Good friend and serious foodie, Sue Story (past president of the NZ Food Writers Guild), gave me a recipe for a coffee rub that dramatically enhanced a lamb rack and the cabernet sauvignon we enjoyed with it.

Both the wine and spicy lamb maintain their flavour integrity but achieve a new and special synergy.

Sue explained that once mixed, the coffee rub can be stored in an airtight container and will last for several months. It can be used to flavour beef, lamb or pork before grilling and/or may be used to season the meat after it has been cooked. I’ve only tried it on lamb, which was coated liberally with the rub before cooking, but am so enthusiastic about the result that I will certainly use it on other meats in the very near future.

I tasted several wines with the lamb, including a 2015 Guigal Côte du Rhône; 2016 Dog Point Vineyard Pinot Noir from Marlborough and the 2013 Villa Maria Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot from Hawke’s Bay. All three reds responded well to the partnership, but the cabernet-dominant Villa Maria Reserve wine was really special. It was the oldest and most intense of the three wines, which may have been the secret. On paper, coffee rub and an intense cabernet-dominant red doesn’t look like a match made in heaven. In practice, it works brilliantly. Both the wine and spicy lamb maintain their flavour integrity but achieve a new and special synergy.

Here’s the coffee rub recipe.

Combine the following:

  • 8 tsp of flaky sea salt
  • 4 tsp of finely ground coffee
  • 4 tsp coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 2 tsp cracked pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 1 (good) pinch of ground turmeric

Enjoy!

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