Honey Pistachio Pork Chops with Saffron Potatoes Au Gratin
Enjoy with: Cinelli Colombini Brunello di Montalcino 2006
Many times when I pair food with wine I concentrate on the how the wine smells and how it tastes in order to match or complement it with the food. Obviously that is a very important part of food and wine pairings, they have to taste great together. But what is often overlooked is where the wine is from. Think about it; the soil, the weather, the water of the wine’s appellation all has an effect on it’s taste. It’s a no-brainer that ingredients from that same region would work well with the wine. Yes that’s right I shipped in ingredients from Tuscany just for this recipe! Not. But I did study the cuisine of that area in order to match the flavors they create.
Enjoy your culinary trip to Tuscany
2 whole russet potatoes, peeled and cleaned
2 tablespoons butter plus 1 tablespoon to grease baking dish
2 cloves garlic, grated
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup lowfat milk
Just a pinch of saffron
Salt/pepper, to taste
1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, grated
4 bone-in pork chops
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons chopped pistachios (salted)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes into ½ slices, set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt butter. Add garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until the garlic has melted into the butter.
3. Add flour and whisk until combined. Cook for 1-2 minutes. Whisk in milk, then heavy cream. Add saffron and season with salt and pepper. Allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes until thick.
4. Layer 1/3 potatoes in the buttered baking dish. Cover with 1/3 of the saffron cream. Continue to layer with remaining potatoes and cream.
5. Cover dish with foil and bake for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Remove foil and continue to cook 20 minutes. Top potatoes with grated cheese and cook until melted and oh-so-oozy delicious, about 5 minutes.
6. While potatoes are cooking, season pork chops with salt and pepper. Set aside and allow to come to room temperature. In a large non-stick skillet heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add p0rk chops and cook 2-3 minutes per side for medium rare (if your pork chops are particularly thick, you may need more like 5-6 minutes per side).
7. Once chops are seared on both sides, add honey. Remove from heat and turn the chops in the pan to cover with honey. Top with pistachios.
What does your typical holiday party have as an appetizer before dinner? Crackers… cheese …. olives … been there, done that. Although there is a reason for these choices – they are low maintenance and not filling. If you give yourself 10 extra minutes for the appetizer course and you can have something unexpected and delicious. You can serve light, airy, fluffy corn fritters with a sweet and spicy dipping sauce to entice the taste buds and get your palette ready for the big holiday dinner. And to satisfy a craving for rich and creamy – Homemade Ricotta with Polenta Crostini.
Now let’s talk wine. What wine entices the palette like these appetizers will? Think light, think refreshing and of course low maintenance. Chardonnay! Who doesn’t enjoy a great Chardonnay? Enter Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2009. A well structured, sophisticated favorite with stone fruit flavors, hints of green apple and may we say – a creme brulee after taste? A great way to start the night…
Corn Fritters with Red Chili Honey
1 3/4 cup flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon each salt and black pepper
4 eggs, beaten
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons chives, minced
1 cup corn kernels
1 quart vegetable oil, for frying
1 cup honey
2 teaspoons red chili flakes
In a large bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, salt and pepper. In a separate bowl, mix eggs, milk and chives. Gradually whisk flour into egg mixture until moistened. Fold in corn. Mixture will look watery.
Pour oil into heavy skillet, heat to 375° F over medium heat. Drop batter by the tablespoonful, a few at a time, into hot oil. Fry 3 to 4 minutes or until golden brown, flipping half way through. (Be careful! The corn kernels may pop will frying so watch out for hot oil popping out of the pot.) Place fritters on a baking sheet over paper towels to catch excess oil. Sprinkle with salt while they’re hot.
In a small bowl, mix red chili flakes and honey. Serve alongside the fritters for dipping.
Many times when we think “food and wine,” we think special occasion or fancy dinner party. But the truth is, pairing food and wine is just as important with a simple week night meal. And tonight is Taco night! Barbecue chicken tacos to be exact and this recipe could not be any easier – trust me.
True, a good Mexican beer would be a perfect accessory for tacos, but if you’re not a big beer drinker, Starmont Merryvale Rose Of Cabernet is perfect! The Starmont Rose is such a causal, easy-to-drink wine; cool and refreshing, fruity with vibrant acidity. Like many Roses, this wine is very fruit forward with hints of rhubarb, strawberry, raspberry and even cotton candy. To mimic those flavors and really bring them to life, why not top your creamy, spicy chicken with a cooling fresh, fruit salad. Taco night will never be the same again.
1 rotisserie chicken, skin removed; white and dark meat shredded
2 cups barbecue sauce (use your favorite brand)
1 cup fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup fresh raspberries, diced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely minced
1 tablespoon fresh mint
Choice of hard or soft taco shells
- Add barbecue sauce and shredded chicken to a saucepan over low heat. Cover and allow everything to heat through, about 5 minutes.
- In a mixing bowl , add strawberries, raspberries, jalapeno and mint. Sprinkle with lime juice. Mix until well combined. Set aside and let the flavors marry for about 5 minutes.
- Build your tacos! Chicken first and then the salsa on top. How easy was that?
This is the very first recipe I ever created. When I first started cooking I was so intimidated by creating recipes. As I got more comfortable in the kitchen I started taking pieces from several different recipes and turning that into something brand new. This recipe combines traditional Italian bolognese sauce with Shephard’s Pie. But of course with my own spin on it! I am using bison instead of ground beef and a baked potato instead of mashed potatoes to lighten it up.
When you think heavy, bolognese sauce; you think heavy, dark red wine, right? Yes and no. The Charles and Charles Red Blend consists of 51% Cabernet and 49% Syrah which gives softer, more forgiving tannins then a 100% Cabernet would. That is perfect for a healthier meal. There aren’t going to be strong tannins in the back of your throat screaming out for a fatty piece of red meat. The wine and the bolognese sauce will just melt into each other. And don’t forget to use the wine in the recipe! All you need is a cup to add a depth to the sauce that only wine can add. And it’s only a cup – there’ll be plenty left to drink!
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 lb ground bison (buffalo)
½ medium onion
2 celery stalks
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
½ cup red wine
3-4 cups water
Salt and pepper to taste
4 baking potatoes (Idaho)
2 tablespoons fresh chives, minced
1/2 cup freshly grated Manchego cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Heat a large pot over medium high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add bison, cook for 5 minutes until browned. Remove and drain on a paper towel.
Add onion, carrot and celery to a food processor and process until finely ground. Add to pot and season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes until all moisture has evaporated and veges begin to brown.
Add garlic, red pepper flakes, paprika, tomato paste and thyme. Cook for 2-3 minutes. Add wine and cook for 1 minute until mostly evaporated. Add ½ cup water and reduce to a simmer.
Continue to simmer for 2 hours, adding ½ cup of water at a time. As water evaporates, add more. Season with salt and pepper as necessary.
Drizzle potatoes with olive oil, salt, pepper and wrap in aluminum foil. Bake for 1 hour until completely cooked through.
To serve: Slice potatoes down the middle and mash up insides. Top with Bolognese sauce, cheese and chives.
Charles and Charles Red 2009: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku01741.html
This is my first dessert post, which seems crazy because I am one of those people that eat dinner just to get to dessert. When I say I have a sweet tooth, that is a serious understatement. But then again I needed to wait for the perfect wine to pair with dessert. And I don’t mean a “dessert” wine, I mean a dark, heavy Cab blend that is usually paired with grilled meats and hearty stews. You won’t believe how perfectly a wine like that pairs with a thick, creamy dark chocolate dessert.
May I present… Double Dark Chocolate/Almond Tart with Hahn Bin 36 Cabernet 2008.
I choose the Bin 36 Cabernet blend as my dessert-perfect wine for several reasons. First, the nose – a lot of berry and cola – how often do you see chocolate and berries paired together? They just work well. And cola – I find that so unique in a heavy red blend and the perfect note to pair with a sugary bite. Second, taste – cocoa and spices – that just says it all. Pair this wine with a spiced chocolate dessert to mimic the tastes in the wine. Third, a small amount of acidity – too much acid will break right through the chocolate as you take a bite and will ruin the experience. That won’t happen here.
Enjoy this wine with dinner but please save some for dessert!
1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
¼ cup light brown sugar
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
6 tablespoons dark chocolate cocoa powder (try Hershey’s Extra Dark)
¾ cup all purpose flour
5 strips thick, center cut bacon
8 oz bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream
1 ½ cups whole milk
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon almond pastry
4 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons corn starch
For Crust: Whisk butter and sugar in a stand mixer until light and creamy. Add cinnamon, salt and cocoa powder. Slowly add flour, 2 tablespoons at a time until loose, sticky batter forms.
Wrap batter in plastic, form into a disk and let cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour until firm. Place cooled batter between two sheets of
parchment paper and roll out until ¼ inch thick. Carefully transfer crust to a pie pan with a removable bottom. Press crust firmly into pan. Using a form, poke all around bottom of crust to prevent rising when baking. Place into refrigerator for 15 more minutes.
Bake for 10-12 minutes. Let cool on baking rack.
Filling: In a small saucepan, warm heavy cream over medium heat until simmering. Remove from heat and add to a large mixing bowl with chocolate chips. Whisk until chocolate is completely melted. Mix in cayenne and reserved bacon.
Pour into cooled crust. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours until chocolate is firm.
Almond Cream: In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine milk, sugar, almond paste and salt. Bring to a simmer and whisk until well combined.
Whisk egg yolks and cornstarch in a large mixing bowl until it starts to thicken. Slowly pour about ¼ of milk mixture into the egg yolks, whisking constantly to temper. Slowly pour egg mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk and return to low heat. Keep whisking until mixture becomes a pudding-like consistency.
Cover with plastic and place into refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours, or overnight. When ready to serve, whip cream in a stand mixer with whisk attachment for 5 minutes.
The two staples in the wine world: Cabernet and Chardonnay. Feature both options at a party and your friends will be satisfied with either. All Chardonnays taste the same – that’s what we all think isn’t it? Well the 2009 Fleur du Cap Bergkelder Selection Chardonnay is an exception to that rule. The heavy oak flavor and thick buttery finish you picture when you think Chardonnay doesn’t exist here. With a well-balanced weight and fullness, zesty citrus flavors and just a touch of vanilla oak aftertaste, this Chardonnay stands out among the rest. If you are a “traditional” Chardonnay lover; give this one a chance and if you think you don’t like Chardonnay – this one may change your mind! (Especially if paired with the right meal to really enhance the aromas and flavors).
Sticking with the theme of “exceptions to the rule” a mornay sauce (a bechamel sauce with cheese added) is one of those: no cheese with seafood. It can be done! A mild parmesan cheese melted into a thick, herbed cream sauce draping over a crisp puffed pastry layered atop soft, buttery salmon. YUM!
4 fillets fresh Atlantic Salmon, skin removed
2 sheets frozen puff pastry, thawed
1 large egg,beaten
Herbed Mornay Sauce
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 cup milk
¼ teaspoon nutmeg, freshly grated
Pinch cayenne pepper
½ cup parmesan cheese, grated
¼ cup total fresh dill, basil, tarragon
1 pint heirloom cherry tomatoes, cut in half
½ shallot, sliced
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt/pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Cut each sheet of puff pastry in half vertically. Place one fillet of salmon in the middle of each ½ sheet
- Lightly season salmon with salt and pepper. Fold edges of pastry up and around salmon, using egg wash to seal. Completely cover salmon so no parts of the fish are exposed.
- Place all pieces on baking sheet and brush entire outside with egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 10-12 minutes.
- For the salad, mix all ingredients together in a large bowl and let sit until salmon is finished cooking.
- Heat butter in small saucepan over medium heat. Add flour and whisk for 1 minute. Add wine to deglaze and let cook for 1 minute. Add milk, cayenne, nutmeg and salt, continuing to whisk. Let cook until thick, 3-5 minutes.
- Remove from heat. Add parmesan cheese and mix until melted. Add herbs and check seasoning.
Sauvignon Blanc is known for being a light, refreshing white wine; perfect for summer day. And on that summer day the last thing you want to do is spend an hour or more in the kitchen, sweating over a hot stove. You want something quick, something satisfying (without being too filling) and something just as refreshing as that glass of wine. You want Chilled Cucumber Soup with Shrimp and Goat Cheese.
Corvidae Wine Co’s Wise Guy Sauvignon Blanc “…yields striking mineral qualities and flavors of wet stone, peach pit and pear. Aromatics of fresh hay and a lean crisp finish…” It begs to be paired with local fresh vegetables and a light, white seafood; simply seasoned, left to shine in the glory nature gave it. The wine’s crisp finish is softened by the creamy base of the soup and the mineral taste this Sauvignon Blanc is so well known for is heighted by fresh dill and basil from the backyard.
Only 15 minutes to prepare, 2 hours in the fridge and this soup is ready!
4 English cucumbers, skins mostly removed, diced
1 large garlic clove, grated
½ small red onion, diced
4 green onions (whites and greens), diced
1 cup greek yogurt
1 teaspoon ground coriander
Salt/Pepper to taste
1 tablespoon fresh dill, chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
Zest from 1 lemon
½ lb shrimp of choice (deveined, tails left on)
¼ cup goat cheese
Optional: Challah or Focaccia
- Add cucumber, garlic, onions, yogurt and coriander to a blended and blend until smooth. Taste and season with salt and pepper.
- Stir in dill, basil and lemon zest. Cover and refrigerate for 1-2 hours, until completely cool.
- Season shrimp simply with salt and pepper and sauté in a non-stick pan over medium heat until pink all around. (We have a lot of other flavors in this soup, keep the shrimp simple with seasoning!)
- To serve: top soup with a couple pieces of shrimp, crumbled goat cheese and serve alongside some fresh challah or focaccia to round out the meal.
Wise Guy Sauvignon Blanc: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku00067.html
With the debut of our new (and might I add fabulous) section, Cooked, I thought it would be appropriate to post a few wine and food pairing basics. While we don’t all have time to spend crafting our meals to a particular wine (which is why Cooked is only posted once a week), a few simple tips can take any meal to wine pairing stardom.
1. The key is balance.
Balance is probably the best word to describe any good wine OR wine and food pairing. Imagine your dish, will your tomato base sauce overwhelm your Sauvignon Blanc…probably. So don’t pair a light white with it. Food and wine should match each other in terms of body and acidity. Reach for a medium to heavy bodied red instead, say a Chianti?
2. Never, ever pair oil with tannin.
A great example of this is serving a food bodied Napa Valley Cabernet with Salmon, it just doesn’t work. Again the two elements are out of balance.
3. Sweet and spicy.
I know this goes against my whole balance concept, but hey it works. The sweetness in wines (i.e. Riesling, Gewürztraminer) balances spice in most dishes and pairs perfectly with Asian flavors.
4. Think flavors, not protein.
Most pairing descriptions go something like this…”Best served with poultry and pork.” It’s a good start, but very wide open. I like to tell people to think more in terms of flavor. Pork may be great with Pinot Noir but if you sear it with a black pepper crust, the food flavors will pummel the delicious and fragile flavors of the wine. Instead of focusing on the type of protein you are serving with the wine, focus on any sauces and herbs that will be the star of the dish.
5. If all else fails, serve Pinot Noir.
It’s the most food friendly wine out there, most likely it will serve as a great compliment to your meal.
You can find our food and wine pairing section, Cooked, here every Wednesday. Cooked is written by Jackie Poole, Decanted’s Marketing & E-Commerce Manager (and my sister). She has been into food and crafting custom recipes for as long as I can remember, although I did not inherit any of that talent!
Who says Chianti is just for the winter months? True, Chianti is best served with a hearty dish and true, no one craves a robust beef stew when it’s 95 degrees out, but that doesn’t mean we can’t adapt the meal to fit our surroundings. Case and point: Short Rib Flatbread. The deeply flavored, slow cooked short rib Chianti so desires lightened up with a summer time gremolata and conveniently displayed on a flatbread.
The strong tannins and dry finish that give a great Chianti its name are very apparent in the Banfi Chianti Superiore 2008. It’s those tannins that pair so well with a fatty meat, such as a short rib. One needs that bit of fat to cut through the dry aftertaste left on the back of your tongue. The round structure and full body pairs perfectly with the crisp flatbread and pop of cheese and herbs. Enjoy with friends on the back deck or balcony! You’ll change your mind about Chianti in the summertime – I guarantee it!
1 ½ lbs short ribs
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
2 dried bay leaves
1 sprig fresh rosemary
1 medium onion, chopped into large chunks
2 carrots, peeled, chopped into large chunks
4 garlic cloves, skins removed, smashed
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup Banfi Chianti
2 cups low-sodium beef broth
1 refrigerated pizza crust
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ lb cremini mushrooms, sliced
2 triangles ‘French Onion’ laughing cow cheese (might sound unconventional, but trust me)
1 tablespoon parmesan cheese, grated
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon clementine zest
Salt/pepper to taste
- Add olive oil to cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Generously salt and pepper short ribs and sear in pan.
- Add ribs and the remaining ‘rib’ ingredients to a slow cooker. Make sure ribs are nestled down into the liquid. Cook on low for 8 hours, or high for 3-4 hours.
- When ribs are cooked and falling off the bone, remove from slow cooker and let rest. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Stretch and fit pizza crust into a baking sheet. Brush with drippings from the slow cooker and season with oregano. Bake until lightly golden brown, about 5 minutes.
- Using the same cast iron skillet, brown mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and set aside.
- Remove pre-cooked pizza crust from oven and spread with laughing cow cheese. Layer mushrooms, onions (from slow cooker) and shredded short ribs on flatbread until completely covered, keeping ½ inch border on all sides. Top with parmesan cheese.
- Bake another 10 minutes, until cheese has melted.
- While your flatbread is baking, finely chop all gremolata ingredients together and set aside.
- Top flatbread with gremolata and serve.
Banfi Chianti Superiore 2008: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku00368.html