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John Finley: Roasted lamb and mint Chimichurri a win

John Finley: Roasted lamb and mint Chimichurri a win

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Rosemary and garlic marinated grilled lamb loin chops.

Greece meets Argentina with this fantastic Mint Chimichurri Sauce! Usually associated with Argentine beef, Chimichurri usually includes some shallots and sherry vinegar. This recipe lightens things up a little bit to pair better with the lamb.

Roasted Lamb with Mint Chimichurri

4lb boneless leg of lamb, trimmed of excess fat, at room temperature

3/4c olive oil, divided

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

3/4c fresh mint leaves

3/4c fresh parsley leaves

1/4c fresh oregano leaves

2 cloves garlic

1 serrano pepper, stem removed

3Tbl lime juice

Preheat the oven to 450F.

Rub the lamb with 1/4c of the olive oil and season both sides with salt and pepper. Arrange the lamb fat-side up on a roasting pan and roast 15 minutes. Lower the temperature to 350F and roast until golden brown and a meat thermometer inserted in the center of the lamb reads 130 degrees F, another 25 to 30 minutes.

While the lamb roasts, make the mint chimichurri. Combine the mint, parsley, oregano, garlic, serrano and 1tsp salt in a food processor and blend. With the machine running, drizzle in the lime juice and remaining 1/2c olive oil and process just until fully combined. Taste and season with salt and pepper.

Remove the lamb from the oven and allow it to rest for 10 minutes. This will allow the juices to redistribute and the lamb will continue to cook. The temperature should read 140 degrees F.

Slice the lamb against the grain and add to a platter. Top with some of the chimichurri and serve the remaining sauce alongside the meat at the table.

You could go with either a Pinot Noir or a Malbec. Both of these wines are better suited for leaner meats. Pair this dish with Rancho Sisquoc’s 2016 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. Awarded 90 Points in Wine Spectator, and 90 Points in Wine Enthusiast, Gold and 92 Points at the Sunset International Wine Competition, this bold and rich Pinot displays a hint of dried herb and pepper, and was aged 20 months in 100% French oak.

If you want to try the “pair with the sauce” principle, go with a Malbec. Unlike Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec doesn’t have a super long finish. Because of this, and the fact that its tannin levels are medium, rather than high, Malbec does not need the fat from rich meats to coat the tongue and soften the tannins, but can go great with leaner red meats.

Firestone’s 2016 Firestone Vineyard Malbec, Santa Ynez Valley. Composed of 94% Malbec, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot, this Malbec has alluring aromas of tobacco, spiced plum, and toasted brioche, rounded out with a hint of roasted white pepper. Medium-bodied and food-friendly, it has an elegant tannin structure supported by rich red fruit, premium oak, and balanced acidity. Composition. Enjoy!

John David Finley is a free-lance writer and author of the cookbook, Sacred Meals from our Family Table, which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at


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