Shiraz Meets Lamb: A Chef & Wine Guru’s two cents

by Tia

I don’t know about you, but the minute the thermostat drops I start pulling out my jumpers, craving spicy food, and turning to my red wine collection.

This pan-roasted harissa lamb with herbed couscous is one of my family’s favourite winter dishes in our home – light and fresh thanks to the addition of herbs to the couscous, but still warm and deeply satisfying. Pair it with an elegant Syrah and you have the perfect easy weeknight meal, or dinner party hit.

To pair: Culture Crozes.
The spiciness of the lamb is beautifully offset by the elegant Culture Crozes; our house Syrah produced by Donovan Rall exclusively for Culture. Culture’s own label wine restores honour and prestige to the term “house wine” and sees us working with some of the country’s most talented producers, like Donovan, to create incredible, great-value wines.


By Matt Manning, Chef Patron at Grub & Vine and owner of Culture Wine Bar –



  • 8 fresh red chillies
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 7 red peppers
  • 160g tomato paste
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ½ teaspoon ground coriander
  • ½ tablespoon olive oil


  1. Cut the red peppers into quarters and lay them on a baking tray, skin-side up. Lightly brush them with olive oil.
  2. Place them under a hot grill until the skin has been slightly blackened (not burnt).
  3. Remove from heat and place them in a bowl. Cover them with cling film and leave them for an hour.
  4. Peel off the skin, place in a food processor with the rest of the ingredients, and blend until you have a smooth paste.



  • 4 cups reduced chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups plain couscous
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped chives
  • zest of ½ a lemon
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon chopped thyme


  1. Bring the first 4 ingredients to a boil in a medium saucepan.
  2. Stir in the couscous.
  3. Cover and remove from the heat and let it stand for 10 minutes.
  4. Uncover and stir in parsley, chives, rosemary and lemon zest.
  5. Season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.


  • lamb Chops
  • pomegranate arils (optional)


  1. Pan-roast your lamb chops over a medium/high heat, +- 5-7 mins per side. Chops should be nicely browned on the outside, while juicy and pink on the inside.
  2. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Add a bed of herbed couscous to your plate, placing the lamb chops on top. I like balancing 2 on each other to create height and dimension on the plate.
  4. Finish with a generous dollop of harissa, garnish with pomegranate arils and serve!


Robust flavour profile: Syrah has bold, intense flavours, often featuring notes of dark fruit, black pepper, smoke, and even savoury hints like bacon. These flavours complement the rich, gamey characteristics of lamb.

Medium to full body: lamb is a hearty meat with a high fat content, and Syrah’s full body stands up to the richness of lamb dishes without being overwhelmed.

High tannin content: tannins in Syrah help cut through the fat and cleanse the palate, allowing you to enjoy each bite of lamb without feeling weighed down by its richness.

Balanced acidity: the moderate acidity in Syrah provides a refreshing contrast to the fattiness of lamb, helping to balance the overall dining experience.

Spice compatibility: lamb is often prepared with herbs and spices like rosemary, thyme, and cumin. Syrah’s inherent peppery and smoky notes complement these flavours, creating a harmonious pairing.

Versatility with cooking styles: Syrah’s adaptability allows it to pair with various lamb dishes, from grilled lamb chops to slow-cooked lamb shanks, roasted leg of lamb, or even lamb stews.

You may also like

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!