So yes, this is a real thing. At least now it is! Why not give a sexy title that invokes joy in everyone to something that has nearly NOTHING to do with a drink that you get at your favorite coffee shop? This is no gimmick…not at all. Coffee and chocolate (cocoa) are brothers from different mothers, and they work so well together. And if you didn’t know, they work brilliantly on their own with many proteins, especially with lamb!
So we created this Caffè Mocha Lamb Lollipop recipe for a fun appetizer with rich flavors perfect to enjoy during the chilly fall and winter months. Or really any time you want something unique on the menu that will intrigue your guests!
Why Caffè Mocha?
So here we are trying to marry a threesome of lamb, chocolate, and coffee.
This combo may sound odd at first glance, but we can remember on several occasions having either cocoa powder or coffee (in one form or another) be a focal part of a savory dish that was really impressive in overall flavor. For example, chocolate chicken, a coffee-rubbed brisket, and a coffee-marinated ribeye, to name three. We even did some experimentation with coffee and beef with really good results. But that was so many years ago and there is more to it than we knew then!
The most important lesson learned testing this dish is to be subtle.
Making these flavors work
Coffee and chocolate are both in the deep bitter zone of tastes. You have salty, sweet, acidic, and bitter (and umami if you subscribe). And combining two very bitter components to flavor a protein might sound like hanging a picture with a sledgehammer. That’s exactly why we chose to do this. Chocolate and coffee are A-list pairings, like basil and tomato, or peas and carrots, Jenny.
But how does it work? Balance, plain and simple. Harmonizing the bitterness with sugar, salt, and other flavors that complement the lamb make this a beautiful starter (or main dish if you like)! Even though we have not had (nor heard of) it, the sexy concept of coffee, chocolate, and lamb has certainly been done by someone…but so has everything!
We just turned a petit lamb lollipop appetizer into mouthwatering flavor-missile that will make those you serve this to remember this dish! With the addition of chopped sage, a bordelaise sauce, and crumbled blue cheese, this Caffè Mocha Lamb Lollipop dish becomes something to be desired and the flavors will blow you away!
What about the sauce?
The sauce here is a flavorful component of these luscious lamb lollipops. Technically, it isn’t a bordelaise, because most people don’t have high quality demi glaze laying around, so we didn't use it here. We decided to make this sauce with beef stock instead to make it more approachable for people.
The red wine component is the important part of the sauce. Ideally it should be a good, full-bodied red wine matching what you’re drinking. In this case, the wine in the sauce should complement the flavors of the dish and stand out on its own when paired with the lamb and bleu cheese.
You may be wondering where to start when it comes to a wine pairing for this flavor bomb of a dish. You really need something to not just stand up to the flavors of coffee and cocoa in this dish, but you need a wine to really give it a run for its money and complement every component of this dish.
We created this particular dish for the Rebellious Wine. This unique red wine blend capitalizes on the art of wine blending. Like the lamb lollipops, Rebellious Wine blends wine in a way that has not been done before with an incredible deep and complex wine that will impress any red wine lover. Some noteworthy aromas in this wine are dark cherry, dark chocolate, brown sugar, cardamom, black pepper, and licorice. On the palate, you will get bright and vibrant flavors of blueberries, with the warmth of allspice, finishing smooth and luxurious. Follow the link to find out more about Rebellious Wine.
This is definitely a wine to be enjoyed with food, and we absolute love it with our Caffè Mocha Lamb Lollipops!
We hope you enjoy this unique recipe for Caffè Mocha Lamb Lollipops! If you give it a try, leave us a comment below, or tag us on Instagram @cooking_with_wine!
Looking for more fun recipes like this? Check out the following:
- Habanero Honey Soy Rack of Lamb cooked Sous Vide
- Peppercorn Crusted Steak with Brandy Cream Sauce
- Blueberry Thyme Red Wine Reduction
- Pork and Shiitake Mushroom Ragù
- Veal and Beef Shepherd’s Pie
Caffè Mocha Lamb Lollipops
For the lamb
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon espresso powder
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 teaspoon fresh sage – finely chopped
- 1 rack of lamb – preferably New Zealand or Australian – about 1.5-1.75 lbs.
For the sauce
- 2 tablespoon butter, divided
- 1 shallot, finely diced
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 bay leaf
- 6 black peppercorns
- 1 parsley sprig
- 1 thyme sprig
- 1 cup beef stock
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Crumbled Blue Cheese
For the Lamb
- Cut the lamb rack into chops, removing excess fat and silver skin and, if desired, French the bones by scraping.
- Preheat the oven to 400°F
- Thoroughly dry the lamb chops and lightly salt them on both sides. Let rest in the refrigerator until ready to cook.
- Combine the espresso powder, cocoa powder, olive oil, sugar, and sage in a bowl. Mix thoroughly to make a thick paste. Remove the lamb from the refrigerator and set up a roasting rack over a sheet pan for the chops. Brush each lamb chop on all sides with the espresso/cocoa paste. Place each one on the roasting rack. Set aside until the sauce is done (see below). Once the sauce is done, roast the lamb for 7 minutes. Remove and let rest for a minute, then serve with a little sauce drizzled over the top and garnish with crumbled blue cheese.
For the sauce
- In a medium saucepan, melt 1 tablespoon of the butter over medium heat. Add the shallots and sauté, without browning, until softened and translucent. Add the red wine, bay leaf, peppercorns, parsley, and thyme. Cook until the wine is reduced by half (about 8 minutes) and add the beef stock. Reduce by half (about 10 minutes) and strain the mixture, discarding the solids. Return the liquid to the saucepan and continue to cook to reduce on medium low heat.
- When the sauce has reduced and thickened, remove from heat, and stir in the remaining butter. Taste and add salt and pepper for seasoning.
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