ElBulli alumnus and founder of the Tapas Revolution group Omar Allibhoy has teamed up with Baron de Ley wines to delicious effect. He shares two recipes and the perfect wines to go with them.

We love it when two of our favourite things come together. Omar Allibhoy is a Spanish celebrity chef who cut his teeth at elBulli and at Gordon Ramsay’s Maze under Jason Atherton – a stint that lead Ramsay to dub him ‘the Antonio Banderas of cooking.’ Since those heady days he went on to launch Tapas Revolution, through whose menu (and an accompanying book) he delivered the tenets of simple Spanish cookery to a hungry British audience. After all, there’s nothing we love so much as a table groaning with excellent tapas – that is, apart from a table groaning with excellent tapas that is accompanied by equally excellent wine.

Happily, Allibhoy has partnered up with Baron de Ley wines, whose exceptional riojas are produced from a monastery in the famous wine region. Founded in 1985, its 600 hectares are spread across subregions, which aids in the production of the very best and most characterful of wines. They say, ‘Housed in a centuries-old monastery, where the monks made wine more than 500 years ago, Barón de Ley was founded in 1985 as a ground-breaking project in DOCa Rioja: a vineyard-focused winery inspired by the Médoc châteaux.’

Here, Omar Allibhoy shares two truly delicious recipes that make a perfect pairing with Barón de Ley wines.



Caldereta De Cordero | Lamb Stew



Omar Allibhoy says:
We are lovers of lamb in Spain and this is a dish that has been cooked in our lands for centuries – it’s as traditional as it gets. Rich in flavour and comforting, it is even more delicious when enjoyed with a Baron de Ley Rioja.



INGREDIENTS
2 kg shoulder of lamb bone in, cut into 10 pieces
100ml of extra virgin olive oil
1 red pepper, into large strips
1 green pepper, into large strips
2 onions, diced
2 heads of garlic, cloves whole and peeled
2 tomatoes, grated
1 slice of white bread
1 dried ñora pepper
1 tbsp sweet smoked paprika
2 bay leaves
2 clove spice
1 tsp dried oregano
10 sprigs of fresh thyme
10 black peppercorns
1 large glass of white wine
1 litre water
Salt to season

METHOD

1 Place your wide pot over medium heat and pour the olive oil. Add the garlic cloves and the ñora pepper, fry until both are golden on both side and set aside.

2 Increase the heat to its highest and fry the seasoned pieces of lamb on all sides until brown. Set aside.

3 Add the peppers, onion, bay leaves and fry for about 10 minutes until they start to turn brown. Add the paprika, the cloves and stir for 30 seconds before adding the tomatoes. Let them reduce down until they have formed a dark dry paste and add the lamb back into the pot.

4 Pour the glass of white wine and flambé. Reduce down until completely evaporated and add the water, the oregano and let it simmer for 2.5 hours over low heat and with a parchment paper cartouche or lid over the top.

5 Blend the ñora pepper with the fried bread and a ladle of the oil that sits on top of the stew and form a paste and add it back into the stew to thicken. Add the sprigs of thyme and finish simmering for the last 30 minutes. Tweak the seasoning and it’s ready to enjoy with some roasted potatoes or plenty of bread to mop up the sauce. Salud!



Baron de Ley Club Privado Rioja (abv 14%), Waitrose at £7.99


Youthful and fruity; a cherry red wine with hints of blue crowd pleaser from Finca Los Almendros, an estate in the Rioja Oriental subregion. Made from superior quality Tempranillo grapes with a special component of the aristocratic Graciano, the complex wine is aged for 12 months before release at its peak for drinking. On the palate, the wine displays typical Rioja flavours which combine sweetness and spice from oak ageing with dark berry and earthy flavours and the aroma of blue berries.
PAIR WITH: Ideal with lamb which pair nicely with its hints of coconut and vanilla suffused with a blackberry and cherry core.

Burnt Basque Cheesecake | Mi Tarta De Queso Vasca



Omar Allibhoy says:
Recently, my wife’s friend Sari, brought home for her birthday the best Basque baked cheesecake I have ever tried. It was so good it inspired me. I thought I needed to make one as good or better and I discovered on social media that there is a real competition about making the best cheesecake in Spain. All the top chefs and home cooks are baking and posting about them at the moment, which I invite you to take a look at – some are really excellent. This recipe is very simple, but the result is stunning – just keep an eye on the length of time in the oven and take it out when you think it’s under cooked, otherwise your instinct will tell you to leave in the oven a bit longer. I would add that if you exchange a quarter of the total weight of the Manchego cheese for blue cheese or a smoked cheese it makes it very distinctive and special.



INGREDIENTS FOR THE BASE
135g digestive biscuit
70g butter

INGREDIENTS CHEESECAKE
600g Philadelphia cheese
200g caster sugar
400ml whipping cream
100g Manchego cheese
5 eggs (300g)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tbsp plain flour

METHOD
1 For the base: Melt the butter in a small saucepan over a low heat until slightly toasted and pour over the crumbled digestive biscuits. Mix with a spoon until combined.

2 Place the 26cm springform mould over a baking tray and lined with wet and scrunched baking paper. Fill the base with the biscuit mix, applying some pressure with a spoon (specially in the corners) and making sure if flat throughout. Place in the fridge for at least 20 minutes while preparing the cheesecake mixture.

3 For the cheesecake: Finely grate the Manchego cheese and place all the ingredients in a jug blender. Blitz for about 2 minutes or until smooth. You can mix it with a whisk as well or use a hand blender.

4 Pour the cheesecake mixture into the mould carefully and bake in a preheated oven at 190 degrees for about 40 minutes. The centre of the cake should feel runny and undercooked. Carefully remove from the oven and let it rest at room temperature for 3 hours and it’s best enjoyed at room temperature without keeping it in the fridge so you can appreciate the creamy heart of the cake and flavours.



Barón De Ley Varietales Graciano 2018 (abv 14%), available in Co-op at £12


Barón De Ley Varietales Graciano is a single varietal wine. Graciano is a native and minority grape in Rioja which has character and structure while maintaining an incredible freshness and finesse, clean aromas and dense and velvety palate. The complexity of the grape means it can pair with some pretty interesting and less obvious dishes, like this basque burnt cheesecake, which intense texture blends into this full-bodied wine, while the vanilla flavour from the cheesecake’s burnt, caramelised top allows the wine's fruit to pop.
PAIR WITH: Basque Burnt Cheesecake

By Nancy Alsop
June 2022

Nancy Alsop

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