Pecorino Times Three: Two Cheeses and a Wine with a Lamb Burger #WinePW
Updated: Aug 12
This month Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles invited the Wine Pairing Weekend writers to share unexpected white wine pairings.
What a fun topic that encourages out of the box thinking and embraces creative pairings. I love it! Here's the line-up of articles from the Wine Pairing Weekend writers...
A Day in the Life on the Farm shares PBJ and Gewurtz? Say What?!!
Always Ravenous posts Lamb Curry paired with Viognier.
Avinnare serves up Pinot Grigio from Valadige and Shrimp with Green Sauce.
Cooking Chat pairs Grilled Filet Mignon with Mushrooms and White Wine.
Crushed Grape Chronicles queries Sauvignon Blanc with Lamb and Cocoa?
Culinary Cam offers Pecorino Times Three: Two Cheeses and a Wine with a Lamb Burger (you're here).
The Quirky Cork matches Assyrtiko, Keftedes, and Salt.
Wine Predator...Gwendolyn Alley declares Yes, Sparkling Whites from Mendocino’s Scharffenberger and Marche’s La Staffa Pair with Pizza!
The Wine - 2021 Polpo Blue Pecorino
This entire pairing materialized because I received a bottle of Pecorino wine. If you follow my blog at all, you know how much I adore cheese. And pecorino is one of my favorites. I love that salty, barnyardy, sheep's milk cheese grated over pasta. But I had no idea that Pecorino was a wine varietal. Did you? I love learning new things.
Grown throughout the Marche, Abruzzo, Tuscany, Umbria, and Lazio regions. ampelographers think that the grape is most likely native to Marche. One story I read claims the sugar-heavy grape was dubbed Pecorino because of its appeal to the woolly animals. I didn't have time to track down the veracity of that claim, but it's a cute story.
The grapes for this bottle - 2021 Polpo Blu Pecorino - are from an Abruzzo grower that was founded in 1964 as a seven-grower co-op. It now has 600 partners, 450 wine growers, and 150 olive growers. The winery has been certified organic for more than a quarter of a century. Additionally, the grapes are also certified biodynamic and certified vegan.
A 100% Pecorino wine, this poured straw yellow with an intense nose. I got hints of straw with crisp green apple and piquant lime. On the palate it was intense and surprisingly full-bodied for a white wine. In that sense, it makes sense to pair it with red meat. But as it's not a usual pairing, I figured it fell squarely within the "unexpected" realm for this event.
Fresco, the Cheese Inside the Burger
Pecorino, from the Italian word for sheep pecora, is any cheese made from ewe’s milk. Divided by length of aging, there's a young or fresco that is usually about a month old; there's aged or stagionata that is at least four months old; and semi-aged or semi-stagionata that is somewhere in between. Pecorino Romano is a hard, salty cheese sheep's milk cheese that is at least nine month's old and is usually grated like parmigiano when served.
I decided to use a Pecorino Fresco inside the burger. Aged for only a month, it is a sweet, grassy cheese.
Romano, the Cheese Melted on Top of the Burger
Though this doesn't melt as evenly or smoothly as, say, American cheese or even mozzarella, Pecorino Romano is a deliciously sharp and salty cheese. It's perfect for topping a lamb burger.
Stuffed Lamb Burgers
1 pound ground lamb
2 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
5 grinds black pepper
4 slices Pecorino Fresco
3 Tablespoons fresh chopped mint
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Also needed: buns, lettuce, tomatoes, and Pecorino Romano
Place all of the ingredients together in a mixing bowl and blend it together until well-combined. Let the mixture rest for, at least 10 to 15 minutes so the flavors can meld together. Divide the meat into quarters and form into patties.
Place a slice of Pecorino Fresco in the center of the patty, fold up the meat so that it completely encases the cheese. Flatten again into a patty. Set aside until ready to cook or grill.
Cook patties to desired doneness. When just about done, top the burgers with Pecorino Romano and cover until slightly melted. Assemble the burgers, as desired. Serve immediately.
Well, that's my unexpected pairing with white wine - a lamb burger stuffed and filled with pecorino cheeses served with a Pecorino wine. The #WinePW group will be back in September with the corollary topic of 'breaking the mold with red wine pairings.' Thinking cap on! Stay tuned.