Killer Sausage Sliders
Chili … seen it. Wings … been there, done that. Hoagies or subs … boring! Serve something unique and may I just say delicious for the big game this weekend! Chorizo Sliders with whole grain mustard and Pork/Apple Sliders with caramelized onions. You will be such a big hit.
Oh and if you’re wondering what to serve to drink, here are our suggestions (all 83% off for case of 24): Ace Pear Cider, Leffe Blonde Beer, Anderson Valley Poleeko Gold Pale Ale and Cigar City Jai Alai IPA.
1 lb chorizo, removed from casing
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
¼ cup whole grain mustard
12-18 dill pickle chips
6 dinner rolls, cut in half
Preheat cast iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add oil. Form ground chorizo into 6 small burgers. Add to the preheated skillet and cook 4-5 minutes per side.
While sliders are cooking, lightly toast dinner rolls. Split mustard between all 6 rolls, adding a little bit to both halves. When sliders are cooked, add one burger to each bottom half of roll, top with 2 or 3 pickles (your choice) and top half of roll. Press down lightly to bring it all together.
Pork and Apple Sliders
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium sweet onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar
1 lb pork sausage, removed from casing
½ gala apple, cut into ½ inch chunks
6 slider or dinner rolls
Add butter to a non-stick skillet over medium low heat. Add onion. Cook for 5-7 minutes until softened and translucent. Stir in honey and vinegar. Reduce heat to low and cook until completely browned, 20-25 minutes, stirring occasionally.
While onions cook, add sausage to a large bowl. Gently mix in apple chunks until well combined. Form into 6 small burgers. Add sliders to same cast iron skillet, still over medium-high heat. Cook 4-5 minutes per side.
While sliders are cooking, again lightly toast rolls. When sliders are cooked, add one per dinner roll, top with onions.
You are not going to believe this but homemade ricotta is easyyyy! In the world we live the word “homemade” is daunting to many. This homemade means lightly boiling some milk and then letting it sit for a couple hours while you make everything else. Not daunting, right? And the best part; when you use that magically word “homemade” your guests will be so impressed! (It’ll be our little secret.)
Now onto something else that frightens the masses.. what wine do I serve?! dun, dun, dun. Don’t fret my pets, the wine you are going to serve at your party for appetizers is a wine that everyone loves – good ol’ Chardonnay. Patz and Hall Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2009 packs a punch for being a $30 bottle of wine. With a refreshing structure and natural richness, it’s inviting with just the right amount of heavy body to compliment your impressive rich homemade ricotta and light, airy corn fritters. Welcome friends and family!
6 cups whole milk
2 cups heavy cream
3 tablespoons distilled white vinegar
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon good quality extra virgin olive oil
Salt and black pepper to taste
- In a medium saucepan, add milk, heavy cream, vinegar and salt. Place over a medium heat and slowly bring to a simmer. Simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, until you see curds beginning to form.
- Place a mesh strainer over a large bowl. Line the strainer with several layers of damp cheesecloth. Gently pour the milk mixture through the strainer and let drain for 15 minutes. Gather the cheesecloth together and gently squeeze any excess liquid from the ricotta.
- Transfer the ricotta to a serving dish and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt and freshly cracked black pepper.
4 cups water
2 teaspoons salt
1 cup polenta
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup grated Parmesan
Fresh ground black pepper
1 tablespoon fresh thyme, minced
- In a medium saucepan, bring the water to a boil over high heat. Add salt, reduce heat to the medium.
- Add the polenta gradually, whisking constantly. Continue to whisk for 5 minutes as the mixture bubbles. Remove from heat, switch to a wooden spoon and continue to stir until the mixture pulls away from the sides, about 5 minutes. Add nutmeg, 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, thyme and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
- Invert a rimmed baking sheet on a countertop and cover the surface with parchment paper. Spread the polenta out with a spatula into a smooth, even layer. Cover the polenta with another sheet of parchment paper. Place another baking sheet, right side up, on top of the parchment. With 2 hands, press down evenly on the top baking sheet until the polenta is 1/4 inch thick. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or up to overnight.
- Remove the top baking sheet and the top layer of parchment paper. Cut the polenta into triangles (about 2 inches long and 1 1/2 inches wide). Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese.
- Preheat a non-stick pan over medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add triangles to pan, a few at a time and allow to cook until golden brown and crispy, 3-4 minutes per side. Carefully remove triangles from pan and lay on cooling rack to cool.
This is a great eggplant lasagna recipe for two reasons: 1. It is heathy. Yes I know that sounds like an oxy-moron; a healthy lasagna, but it’s true! It’s about as healthy as you can get a lasagna without losing all what makes a lasagna great. And 2. it is portioned for 2 people. Have you ever seen a lasagna made for 2 people? I haven’t and that has always been annoying to me. If I made a full 8 portion lasagna it would take a week for my husband and I to finish it.
Ok wait I have a third reason why I love this lasagna – it pairs great with wine. I realize that many of the recipes I provide for food and wine pairings are a bit indulgent because let’s face it you don’t worry much about pairing your wine to dinner on your average weeknight. You save those recipes for special events. I get it and that’s cool with me. But if you’d like to treat yourself to a healthy, easy, relatively speedy weeknight meal – try this lasagna and try the Bogle Petit Sirah. There is just something so incredible about a Petit Sirah and hearty Italian food.
2 large, firm, Japanese eggplants, 1/2 inch slices
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3/4 lb hot Italian sausage, removed from castings
1/2 cup diced yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup red wine
1 lb plum tomatoes, I used a dark, heirloom variety because that’s what they had on sale
1/2 cup canned tomato sauce, My grandma only used Hunt’s so that’s what I stick too
1 cup lowfat cottage cheese
1 wedge Laughing Cow Cheese, Garlic & Herbs flavored, softened
1 small egg, beaten
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Salt/Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lay eggplant on a cooling rack, over a baking sheet. Brush with 1 tablepsoon olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-30 minutes until golden in the center, and crisp along the edges.
While eggplant is cooking, heat remaining olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook until brown. Add onion and garlic. Cook until soft, 3-5 minutes. Deglaze pan with wine and reduce for 2-3 minutes.
Add tomatoes and tomato sauce. Simmer until most of the moisture has evaporated, 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat.
In a non-stick bread pan (remember this is a two serving lasagna) layer about 1/2 cup of the tomato sauce on the bottom. Follow with two pieces of eggplant, then 1/2 of the cottage cheese mixture, then 1/3 of tomato sauce. Repeat. Top with two pieces of eggplant, remaining tomato sauce and all the mozzarella.
Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove foil and continue to cook for 10 minutes to brown and crisp the cheese.
Bogle Petit Sirah 2009: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku02157.html
Don’t let the name intimidate you, this is an absolutely delicious stew. In celebration of corn, a sacred plant among the Aztecs, pozole was consumed at special occasions. Made with pork, corn (hominy), tomatillos and a long list of garnishes - this is the green version of pozole (there is also a red version).
We all love to pair our Sauvignon Blancs with salads, appetizers and light chicken or pastas dishes – but I’m here to tell you Sauvignon Blanc can be heavenly with a soup or stew. The trick is to steer away from tomato based soups or heavy cream soups. Add a punch of flavor with some spice, but don’t go overboard or you’ll overpower your wine. And have fun with toppings! That is one thing I love about this soup, the garnishes add so much flavor, texture and fun.
1 lb pork tenderloin, chopped into 1 inch cubes
2 garlic cloves, minced
(2) 7 oz cans tomatillo salsa
1 poblano pepper
1 teaspoon Mexican oregano
2 cups chicken stock
1 can hominy, drained and rinsed
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
¼ medium onion, diced
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
1 cup radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup cabbage, chopped
½ cup tortilla chips, crushed
Heat broiler to 500 degrees. Place poblano on a broiler pan. Char under the broiler until black on all sides. Remove from oven, place in large bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Allow to steam for 5 minutes. Peel charred skin off the pepper and chop into large chunks.
Add olive oil to Dutch oven over high heat. When oil just begins to smoke, add pork cubes and sear until brown on all sides. Remove and drain on paper towel.
Turn down heat to medium, add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Add peppers, salsa, oregano, chicken stock and hominy. Stir and season with salt and pepper.
Return pork to pot. Cover and simmer for 2-3 hours. To serve, ladle into large bowls and top with whatever you’d like!
Cliff Lede Sauvignon Blanc: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku00982.html
We recently launched several new wine clubs designed with our clients in mind. They are not your typical monthly wine clubs featuring mass producing wineries and costing $30/month. With those wine clubs….how can we say this nicely…well, you get what you pay for. Our wine clubs feature rare and boutique wines from established producers and rising superstars (most not available in stores) so you are always on the cutting edge of what’s new in wine.
Do you like wines from around the world? We have a club for that. Are you a self-proclaimed wine “connoisseur”? We have a club for that. Do you have a favorite grape? Sauvignon Blanc? Pinot Noir? Cabernet? We have a club for all of those. Ok, I’m done impersonating the verizon wireless commerical – I promise.
Another benefit of the wine clubs are custom designed wine clubs from yours truly. If you’ve read “Cooked” before and wanted to try one of my food and wine pairings, but didn’t have the wine – well now you don’t have an excuse! Join one of our clubs! This will be one of the only times that I am sharing the recipes with everyone on the blog. That’s right, they’re a secret, meant only for those in the wine clubs.
Chicken Paprikash Crostini. Pair with Beaux Freres ‘Les Cousins’ Pinot Noir 2009
Chicken Paprikash is a traditional Hungarian dish — chicken breasts cooked with onions, red peppers and lots of paprika; usually served with buttered noodles. Pinot Noir is so easy going and therefore easy to pair with wines. It is elevated with chicken and great with spice – making paprikash a perfect match. It is also great for appetizers and that is why we are turning paprikash into a small bite!
Makes 4 appetizer servings
4 chicken breasts, sliced thin, on an angle
½ baguette, sliced thin, on an angle
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
1 teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper to taste
1 clove garlic, grated
Juice from ½ lemon
1 red pepper, sliced thin
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Brush baguette slices with 1 tablespoon olive oil (split among slices). Place on preheated grill pan, about 3 minutes per side, just until you see some color.
Season chicken slices with salt and pepper. Add to a preheated pan over medium-high heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook 1-2 minutes per side, set aside. Add red pepper slices to pan and cook 1-2 minutes until softened.
Aioli: Combine mayonnaise, smoked paprika, paprika, salt, garlic and lemon in a small bowl.
Generously spread aioli over baguette slices. Top with chicken and red peppers.
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
Here is a “cooking with wine” rule I hate – the only white wine you can cook with is a dry Chardonnay. Wrong! Cook with whatever wine you like to drink and build your recipe around it. My favorite white wine has always been Sauvignon Blanc and a favorite meal of mine is Paella – so let’s put them together. What’s stopping us? This paella has a “Jackie” twist to it with lots of smoked paprika and pineapple.
I love that the Murphy Goode ‘The Fume’ Sauvignon Blanc was predominately fermented in stainless steel to keep it crisp but then thrown into some French and American barrels to add the depth oak always brings. A perfect balance!
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, grated
1 cup jasmine rice
1 tablespoon tumeric
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
1 ½ quarts chicken stock
3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 lb hot chorizo sausage
1 medium onion, diced
½ cup Murphy Goode Sauvignon Blanc
1 lb mussels; cleaned
1 lb shrimp; peeled, deveined and tails removed
1 cup diced fresh pineapple
1 tablespoon fresh chives, diced
Rice: Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to small pot. Add garlic, cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add rice, turmeric, 1 tablespoon each smoked paprika and salt. Toast in pot for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add 2 cups stock, cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes, until rice is cooked.
Rice Cakes: Once rice has cooled, add egg and form 4 patties, 1 inch thick. Pour panko into a shallow bowl. Press each rice cake into panko to create a crust. Add 1 teaspoon olive oil to a non-stick pan over medium heat. Cook rice cakes until panko crust becomes golden brown and rice cakes heat through.
Stock: Add remaining olive oil to a large pot. Add chorizo, cook until brown. Add onion and remaining garlic, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Cook until onion softens, 3-4 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan. Add remaining chicken stock and bring to a simmer.
Add mussels and shrimp, cover and continue to simmer until cooked through, about 5 minutes. Just before serving add pineapple. To plate pour stock over rice cake and top with chives.
Murphy Goode ‘The Fume’ Sauvignon Blanc: http://www.decantedwines.com/sku01871.html
I must admit, I have been a little obsessed with baking my own pizzas lately. The refrigerated section of the grocery store makes it so easy for you! The pre-made crusts are delicious and inexpensive. Since my short rib flatbread recipe was such a big hit, the Baron des Chartrons Bordeaux 2009 caught my attention as my next great pizza-pairing wine.
What makes the Baron des Chartrons great for pizza is the blend of Cabernet and Merlot. The balance of tannins lets you be creative with pizza toppings. You don’t have to stick with an acidic red sauce, or limit yourself to a white pizza – you can do both! And that is exactly what I did with roasted tomatoes and fresh ricotta. I am also a big fan of red wines that pair with chicken. I try to keep my weeknight menus relatively healthy, straying from red meats, but I am also a girl who likes to have a glass of wine with dinner. This wine let’s be have the best of both worlds! (And PS, this pizza is great cold the next day J)
1 lb chicken sausage (your choice of flavors, I used a Roasted Garlic
½ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs
2 large tomatoes, sliced into ½ inch pieces
1 package store bought pizza dough, thin crust
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons each garlic powder, dried oregano
Salt and pepper
¼ cup fresh grated parmesan cheese
1 lb fresh ricotta cheese
1 tablespoon finely diced fresh chives
Mix chicken sausage and breadcrumbs in a large bowl until well combined. Start forming into small meatballs. Add more breadcrumbs if needed, but you only want enough to keep the meatballs together and not dry them out. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place tomato slices on a cooling rack, on top of a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes until soft in the center and crisp around the edges.
Stretch pizza dough to fit into a baking sheet, leaving a small crust on each edge. Brush with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with seasonings,
salt and pepper. Bake for 7 minutes until lightly brown.
While crust is baking, brown meatballs in a non-stick skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil.
Top pre-baked crust with meatballs, tomatoes and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Bake for 5 minutes until meatballs and crust are finished cooking.
Remove crust from oven. Using a small ice cream scoop, add dollops of ricotta to pizza. Place back in oven and turn off heat. Let sit for 5 minutes in the oven to warm through the ricotta, without cooking it.
Remove from oven, top with chives and serve!
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.