Food fundi Andy Fenner was commissioned by Zonnebloem to create a slow-cooked dish to ward off the winter cold.
His deliciously decadent lamb pie, given depth and richness by adding Gorgonzola and sparks of sweetness from a few dried dates, cosies up snugly to Zonnebloem's silky-soft Cabernet Sauvignon with luscious dark fruit flavours.
The wine is made from Stellenbosch grapes grown by families who have been supplying to Zonnebloem for generations. Their long association ensures beautifully firm but ripe fruit with intense berry characters.
Winemaker Bonnie van Niekerk conveys all that succulent juiciness in this Cabernet Sauvignon that's full of enticing cedar wood and chocolate notes and ends in a satisfying, lingering finish.
Braised lamb neck and Gorgonzola pie, with 2011 Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon
500g lamb-neck, sliced (bone-in)
1 large carrot, roughly chopped and equal parts onion and celery, also roughly chopped
4 whole sprigs of fresh thyme
1 whole sprig of rosemary
1 x 410 g tin of tomatoes
A cup of 2011 Zonnebloem Cabernet Sauvignon
1 sheet of store-bought puff pastry, thawed in the fridge
Pinch of flour
100 g Gorgonzola
5 to 6 pitted dates, roughly chopped
Preheat your oven to 180°C. Dust the meat in flour, shaking off any excess. Add oil to a deep, oven-proof pot and fry the meat until it has caramelised (a few minutes). Remove meat and set aside. In the same pot, fry off the carrot, onion and celery until soft. Add the herbs, the tinned tomatoes and the wine. Bring to the boil, reduce to a gentle simmer and return the meat to the pot. Add some water if you need more liquid. Cover the pot and place in the oven for at least two hours. (You can cook this for longer at a reduced temperature. Ideally you can even cook it through the night at an over temperature of around 80°C or lower, depending on your oven.) Remove the pot from the oven and cook on gentle heat on the stove, uncovered, so that the sauce reduces by about half. You want it to be thick and sticky. Using tongs, carefully lift and remove the meat from the sauce. By now your meat should easily fall away from the bone. Allow to cool and shred the meat from the bone before returning it to the sauce.
Before you take it off the stove, make sure your puff pastry is out of the fridge and at room temperature. Dust a work surface with flour and roll out enough pastry to cover the pot.
When you're happy with the consistency of your sauce, add the Gorgonzola, pitted and roughly chopped dates and roll your pastry over the pot to form a 'lid'. Trim off excess pastry but remember to allow for a bit of shrinkage! Prick a few holes in the pastry to allow steam to escape. Place in oven pre-heated to 180°C and cook for about 30 minutes, or until pastry is flaky and golden. Remove and serve as is, in the pot. This is a rustic dish perfect for a cold and wet day.