December’s pairing is all about festivity
It’s a dynamic time of year, and regardless of our unique experiences during this holiday season, we all need to eat so we might as well cook and enjoy something really delicious. This pairing focuses on getting the most out of your ingredients while creating layers of flavor that will pair beautifully with mezcal both neat and in cocktails. I have done it both ways, and enjoying a solo bowl of this rice with flaky sea salt and a copita of mezcal on the kitchen counter has been just as delicious as enjoying a large platter of rice with roasted meats and vegetables as the centerpiece while toasting rounds mezcal cocktails with friends and family.
The rich and aromatic nature of lamb fat rice is inherently festive and a special treat. It’s also a great way to boost flavor while reducing waste during a busy kitchen season. Most importantly, it translates love onto the plate. Cooking for and feeding those we love is one of the ultimate expressions of care, even when it’s just for ourselves. By infusing rice with the earthy and heady flavor of lamb, it creates a base of aromatics to pair with mezcal alongside a wide variety of other protein and vegetable dishes.
La Luna Black Label Cupreata Ensemble blends cultivated and wild agaves, predominantly harnessing the unique characteristics of the cupreata variety, complemented by a subtle inclusion of manso sahuayo. It is balanced in flavor with both sweet and earthy tones, infused with just a hint of smokiness, and overall very clean. Priced accessibly, this mezcal is versatile, equally suited for savoring neat or as a base for cocktails. Using this in a spirit forward cocktail is one way to put your own spin on this festive pairing- something like a smoked rosemary white negroni, or thyme and cranberry highball.
The most labor intensive part of this recipe is rendering your fat- which may very well be done as part of another recipe. If you are cooking any meat and have leftover fat, this is a good recipe to use it up. While I love the rich flavors of lamb, any animal fat would work well. I will often cook a lamb or beef steak and then use the pan with the rendered fat to then make this rice- saving on dishes as well. I find that using a long grain white rice works well, but other types of rice are fine, just be sure to follow the cooking instructions for whatever type of rice you use. Adding in other aromatics like a chopped onion, garlic, ginger, chilies, or spices are all very much on the table.
Lamb Fat Rice Recipe
- 1-2 tablespoons rendered lamb fat
- 1 cup rice
- 2 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
Over medium heat, add washed rice to the pan with the rendered fat and cook, stirring regularly to evenly toast the rice grains in the fat. Once golden and toasted add the water and salt, stir, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover and reduce heat and cook for 10-15 minutes, as per the instructions of your rice variety, until the water is absorbed and rice is tender. Fluff with a fork and enjoy.