Chicken and Dumplings … Country Fare with Homemade Country Wine (Apple)

Pairing: Chicken and Dumplings Paired with a 2015 Baldwin Apple Wine (Homemade)  

Food: My wife and I have been raising chickens for eggs and meat for over 40 years. The chickens raised for meat are fast-growing hybrids that take about 10 weeks to reach 4-5 pounds dressed weight. The layers are heritage breeds like New Hampshire Reds, Rhode Island Red, and Barred Plymouth Rocks that grow much more slowly and reach maturity in about 4 months. They give us wonderful eggs (5-6 eggs per week) for about 3 years. When they get old and stop producing, it’s time for them to embark on their final destination. At this advanced age they are referred to as fowl, a very positive designation … a bit too tough to eat when roasted, grilled, fried, etc. However, the fowl has an unmatched deep, rich chicken flavor that is ideal for soups, stews or any long slow cooking like chicken fricassee, often called Chicken and Dumplings. If you have no source of an old hen (check with your butcher who may be able to get you one) you can substitute a regular roasting chicken. But … if you can get your hands on some fowl … well, you won’t believe the flavor.

Recipe for Chicken and Dumplings

Cut up a 4-5 pound chicken, including the back, and sauté in butter until well browned. Add water to cover, sliced onion, carrot, celery, 4 pepper corns, and simmer for 45 minutes. If the chicken is old, cook for 45 minutes more. Either way, add 2 tsp of salt at this point.  Cool the chicken and strain the broth. Remove the meat from the bones.  Thicken 2 cups of the broth with flour made into a roux with butter. Put the chicken into a stove-top pan (cast iron if you have it) with enough of the thickened broth to come up 3/4 of the way on the meat. Stir in the vegetables from previous cooking and bring to a simmer.  Make dumplings from flour, milk, celery seed, and baking powder.  Dollop the dumplings on the meat and heat uncovered for 10 minutes. Cover and continue to cook for 10 minutes more. Serve.

Wine: It’s mid-November. The apple harvest season is just about over here in New Hampshire. Among the last apples to ripen are the Baldwins. A few hangers-on cling tenaciously to the now bare branches. An ancient Baldwin stands like an aging sentry still guarding our house. It has seen over a hundred winters. Its gnarled trunk with gaping holes big enough that one can pass one’s entire arm through it is testament to its tenacious resolve to survive. It fruits now about every three years. Small apples but with the unmistakeable sweet sharp snap of a Baldwin.

For 25 years, we’ve been making wine from the fallen gems of this grand old tree, always worried that this may be its last hurrah. Year after year, the extraordinary wine made from its fruit is consistently the finest apple wine we’ve ever tasted. The 2018 vintage is quietly fermenting in the carboy tucked deep into a cool corner of the dining room. And we hope for a 2021 harvest to bring us yet another exquisite, incomparable, and memorable wine from this venerable old friend.

Tasting Notes: A red-gold color (almost a blush in some years). An aroma of clean, fresh, country air and ripe red apple (no surprise there). The flavor is like biting into a Baldwin apple (another surprise!); spicy with notes of mulled cider; a pronounced taste of cream sherry (definitely a surprise!); dry, not sweet … demi-sec. The wine is a perfect complement to the deep, rich flavor of the fowl. Chicken and apples are made for each other!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Chicken and Dumplings: Gewurztraminer (Alsace), Chardonnay (California), Riesling (New York)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Apple Wine: Ham, Roast Pork, Cheese (soft and aged … actually pairs well with a whole bunch of cheeses)

View New England Apple Orchards

A Source: Local Apple Orchards

Miso Salmon … Paired with an Umbrian Chardonnay

Pairing: Miso Salmon Paired with a Falesco 2016 Tellus Chardonnay IGT (Umbria)

Food: We love to exchange recipes with our two grown sons. Unlike their Ma and Pa who live out in the woods of New Hampshire, they reside in large urban settings with access to a tremendous variety of cuisines and ingredients. And they love to cook! Asian dishes are high on their list of culinary adventures. This delicious and very simple Miso Salmon is a recent contribution from the younger son.

Miso, a traditional Japanese seasoning, is a thick paste made from fermented soybeans and the mold koji. Combine 2T of miso, 2T mirin, 1T sake (or sherry), 1T soy sauce, and 1tsp sesame oil. Brush the mixture on an 8 ounce salmon filet. Bake and keep brushing on more of the mixture while the salmon is cooking until done. The result should be a pretty and flavorful glaze. Asparagus and wild rice pilaf make nice accompaniments.

Wine: Unlike its neighbor to the west, Tuscany, which is famous for its world-class red wines, Umbria is a wine region best known for its white wines, most notably Trebbiano Tuscano (known as Procanico in Umbria) and Grechetto. There is, however, growing interest in planting vineyards of other white wines. Chardonnay is increasing in both production and stature, as a blend with Grechetto or as a single varietal. The Falesco winery, located in Montecchio just south of Orvieto, produces some very tasty Chardonnay.

Tasting Notes: A medium gold color. On the nose one can detect layers of honey, tropical fruits and clementines. You can taste quite a nice basket of flavors … peach, clementine, mango, and ripe cantaloupe. There is a light acidity and just a hint of honey that creates a very pleasant, very gentle sweetness to the wine that enhances the fruit profile. That hint of honey also complements well both the sweetness of the miso and the rich flavor of the salmon.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Miso Salmon: Sake, Pinot Noir, Sparkling Wines (e.g. Champagne, Cava, Franciacorta)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Chardonnay: Crab Cakes, Pan-Seared Scallops, Grilled Shrimp, Monkfish

View the Beautiful Umbria Wine Region: Umbria

A Source:  www. klwines.com

Cold Beef Plate … Satisfying and Delicious with a Gamay

Pairing: Cold Beef Sandwich with Light Rye Bread Paired with a 2012 Henry Marionnet “Les Cépage Oubliés” Gamay de Bouze Touraine

Food: A favorite meal from cold leftover roast beef … carve off slices of the meat, spread some rye bread with Dijon mustard and stack the layers of meat on top. Add a little dusting of salt and pepper. A dill pickle and pickled beets on the side. I ask you … What could be better?

Wine: One normally associates Gamay with wines from the Beaujolais wine region south of Burgundy … Gamay being the sole grape used in the production of Beaujolais. However, the wine we are tasting here, Les Cépage Oubliés, is from the Touraine area of the Loire Valley wine region. The vigneron, Henry Marionnet, holds acreage of Gamay in this region. A small part of these vineyards was discovered to be Gamay de Bouze, an old variety (mutation) thought to have originated in Burgundy near the city of Beaune. An interesting note: Somewhat unique to Gamay is that it is a red-fleshed grape producing a bright red wine. Most red wines get their color from the skins not the flesh which is almost always white.

Tasting Notes: The photo above fails to capture the unusual dark ruby red color of this wine. A bouquet of sweet red cherries, pomegranate, and new leather is wonderful. On the palate one gets cherry leather, red licorice sticks (really … do you remember those from our childhood?), and soft tannins that contribute an earthy flavor.

The pairing approaches perfection (he says humbly). All the foods on the plate harmonize beautifully with each other. And the wine plays off the beef, rye bread and Dijon mustard so nicely to bring them to a new level of flavor. Simplicity yields unexpected delight.

Other Wines That Pair Well with a Cold Beef Plate: Pinot Noir (Oregon), Barolo (Italy), Zinfandel (California), Malbec (Argentina)

Other Food That Pairs Well with a Gamay: Charcuterie, Grilled Sausage, Grilled Cheese Sandwich, Macaroni and Cheese

View the Lovely Cher Valley Wine Region: Cher Valley

A Source:  www. klwines.com

Pot Roast … the Ultimate Comfort Food … Served with an Elegant Cab Sauvignon

Pairing:  Pot Roast Paired with a 2014 Louis Martini Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley – Sonoma County)

Food: My wife and I each grew up in the 1950’s with Pot Roast as a fairly regular feature to the dinnertime meal. My mother’s go-to cookbook for such a meal was the Joy of Cooking, while my wife’s mother relied on Fannie Farmer’s Boston Cooking School Cookbook as her cooking bible.

Two iconic Cookbook “Bibles” Fannie Farmer and Joy of Cooking

To this classic dish of braised bottom round beef, potatoes, carrots, and onions we’ve added mushrooms (fresh shiitake and dried porcini) and a splash of red wine to the braising liquid. Mom might be a little shocked!

Beef Pot Roast Braised with Carrots, Potatoes, Onions, and Mushrooms

Wine: Perhaps the most important wine made in the Alexander Valley, located in Sonoma County, is Cabernet Sauvignon. The grape thrives in the lands surrounding the Russian River that flows through the Alexander Valley in the warmer climates north of the city of Healdsburg. The Russian River Valley lands south of the city are cooler and foggier, perfect conditions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Taken together, these two valleys account for some of the finest wine production in the United States.

Tasting Notes: Color is a deep violet-red … or dark garnet. The nose is rich in the aromas of cocoa, black cherry, black currant, hazelnut, and allspice. The palate furthers the black cherry and currant, and adds pepper, leather and cedar. Wonderfully complex. The black currant persists on the long finish. The Cabernet really brings out and enhances the earthy mushrooms in the sauce and the wonderful beefiness of the meat. A superb pairing!

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pot Roast: Merlot (Chile), Zinfandel (California), Barolo (Italy), Cotes du Rhone (France)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Cabernet Sauvignon: Roast or Grilled Lamb, Roast Duck, Venison, Game Birds

View the Alexander Valley Wine Region:  Alexander Valley AVA

A Source: www.wine.com

Hake Chowder … Enjoyed with a Roman Wine

Pairing: Hake Chowder Paired with a 2015 Vesevo Beneventano Falanghina

Food:  Traditional New England-style Fish Chowder is typically made with haddock or cod. However, as these fish stocks are coming under increasing threat, some people are turning to an alternative fish that is every bit as good tasting … hake. Many would say it is even more flavorful … and less expensive. More good news … hake is being fished using more sustainable techniques. Hake is more commonly marketed on the European side of “the pond,” with Spain being the largest consumer there.

Back to the “chowdah”. Our hake chowder is made with the same broad strokes as in the making of any good New England fish chowder, substituting hake for the haddock or cod. Fry up a bit of bacon, add some chopped onion and cook until translucent. Meanwhile boil up some diced potatoes in water. Drain. Cut up hake filets into 1 inch cubes. Add the uncooked hake to a pan with fish stock, potatoes, bacon, onion, milk, parsley, salt, pepper, and turmeric (for that golden color). Heat gently until the fish chunks are just cooked through. Be careful when stirring and serving to retain good size pieces of fish. Check for seasoning. Done. Delicious!

Hint:  Make it a day ahead of time to deepen the flavors (the “cold cure”).

Hake Chowder

Wine:  Falanghina has its origins in ancient Greece. It is said that Falanghina wines were highly prized by the Roman writer and philosopher Pliny the Elder who was so inspired by the wine as to write the famous words  in vino veritas (there is truth in wine). For much of its long history, Falanghina wines have been produced mainly in the Campania wine region of southern Italy near the city of Naples. The vines thrive there in the volcanic soils that surround Mt. Vesuvius.

Vesevo Falanghina

Tasting Notes:  Pale Gold in color. Smells of green apple and apple blossom.  Apple flavors (both fruit and floral) on the palate, with a gentle, subtle hint of citrus. Flavors really emerge as the wine warms up. The delicate citrus notes very nicely complement the light saltiness of the chowder.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Hake Chowder: Chardonnay (California), White Burgundy (France), Pinot Gris (Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Falanghina:  Pear and Walnut Salad, Lightly Breaded White Fish, Caprese Salad (Mozzarella, Tomato, & Basil), Salad with Shrimp, Asparagus, Mango, and Clementine

Views of the Campania Wine Region:  Campania

A Source:  www.wine.com

Egg Fu Yung (with Shrimp) … A Delicious Pairing with a California Viognier

Pairing: Egg Fu Yung (with Shrimp) Paired with a 2017 “Wild Thing” Viognier (Damiano Vineyard, Placer County)

Food:  Egg Fu Yung (Egg Foo Young) is a popular, ridiculously easy, Asian omelette made with ingredients one often uses in a basic stir fry. This version combines chopped celery, mushrooms, bean sprouts, scallion, ground fresh ginger, and small, chopped shrimp. Gently beat some eggs (two per person) and set aside. Put a little peanut oil in a hot wok or pan. Quickly stir fry the vegetables, aromatics and shrimp. Then, gently pour in the lightly beaten eggs. Without stirring, cook until lightly browned and carefully turn over long enough so that both sides are golden brown. Serve with some wilted spinach and topped with a light sauce composed of oyster sauce, fish sauce, and soy sauce. Interestingly enough, some people enjoy putting brown gravy on it instead.

Shrimp Fu Yung

Wine:  We most often associate Viognier with the “South of France,” the area that encompasses the extensive Languedoc-Roussillon wine region. There, Viognier is frequently blended with Roussanne and Marsanne in the making of an excellent and versatile white wine. The standard for single varietal Viognier is undoubtably Condrieu from the northern Rhone region.

With that background, let’s travel 6,000 miles west to California. Placer County is located in the heart of the Sierra Foothills wine region, one of the largest wine regions area-wise in the entire United States at 2.6 million acres. The dry, rocky, mostly infertile soils there force the roots of the grape vines to dig deep to find water and nutrients. This, in turn, produces wines of great intensity. Viognier, once near extinction with only 35 acres worldwide, today thrives in these conditions as it does in the northern Rhone Valley in southern France and now elsewhere throughout the world.

Viognier Wild Thing

Tasting Notes: The color of 14 carat gold. A complex nose of mixed tropical fruits and white flowers (notably mock orange). On the palate, one can detect mango, pineapple, and white peach. An enchanting wine by itself, and a beautiful complement to the Egg Fu Yung.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Egg Fu Yung (with Shrimp): Pinot Grigio (Italy), Verdelho (Portugal), White Burgundy (France), Riesling (Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Viognier:  Curries, White Fish, Scallops, Crab, Lobster, Dishes with Cream or Butter Sauces

View the Sierra Foothills Wine Region:  Sierra Foothills

A Source:  www. klwines.com

Caribbean Jerk Pork … Splendid with a Spicy Zinfandel

Pairing:  Caribbean Jerk Pork Tenderloins Paired with a 2015 Dutcher Crossing Rockpile Zinfandel Pritchett Peaks Vineyards

Food: Jerk is a style of cooking with hot, spicy seasoning thought by many historians to have originated with the Maroons, communities of escaped African slaves living in the wilds of Jamaica in the early 1700’s.

A longtime favorite cookbook of ours is Molly O’Neill’s A Well-Seasoned Appetite. Here is her recipe for Caribbean Jerk Pork Tenderloins. What a knock-out version of this dish that she’s created for an authentic taste of Jamaican Jerk. It combines allspice, cinnamon, nutmeg, coriander, scallion, garlic, a Scotch Bonnet chili (handle with rubber gloves!), and some dark rum into a thick paste. Rub the paste all over the pork, refrigerate overnight and cook it under a broiler for 12-15 minutes. Let rest for 5 more. Wow! What an unbelievable flavor! Despite the heat of a Scotch Bonnet chili, it is delicious when combined with the other seasonings. We served the pork with barley pilaf and sliced tomatoes from the garden. Perfect!

Pork Tenderloin Rubbed with Spices, Scotch Bonnet Chili and Dark Rum

Wine: Zinfandel was the first wine we ever really fell in love with, and many years later, it still holds a special place in our hearts. Dutcher Crossing, located in the Dry Creek Valley region of Sonoma was the first California winery we ever visited, and year after year we make sure to get a shipment of wine from them to enjoy and reminisce. Although they have a very nice portfolio of excellent wines, Zinfandel is their star. Rockpile is a renowned wine subregion producing some the finest Zins in all of California. And, it’s a positively gorgeous area to visit.

Please Note: Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families in Napa and Sonoma counties who have so recently lost their homes and livelihoods to the ferocious Glass Fire. Even now, firefighters continue to battle the inferno as we post this note.

Tasting Notes: Color is a deep maroon with a pretty brown tint. Nothing subtle about the nose … aromas of black currant, blackberry, and cocoa powder. A wonderfully complex flavor profile … pepper, cocoa, clove, vanilla; black cherry and wild cherry in equal parts; another layer of wild black fruit … service berry and thimble berry. Soft tannins hold it all together. An exceptional wine … by itself or in great congruence with the jerk spices and heat.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Caribbean Jerk Pork: Gewürztraminer (Alsace, France), Sparkling Wine (e.g., Champagne, Cremant, Prosecco, Cava), Sauvignon Blanc (California or New Zealand)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Zinfandel: Barbecued Chicken or Pork, Pizza (especially with Pepperoni or Hot Sausage), Ham, Grilled Salmon

View the Breathtaking Rockpile Wine Region:  Rockpile

A Source: http://www.dutchercrossingwinery.com

A French Country Omelette … Outstanding Paired with a Pouilly-Fuisse

Pairing: Bacon, Potato and Goat Cheese Omelette Paired with a 2015 Chàteau-Fuissé Pouilly-Fuissé Tête de Cru

Food:  An omelette is the ultimate fast food … and it’s not just for breakfast. A dinner omelette is a perfect meal … optionally fancy or rustic, inexpensive (unless you are incorporating thin slices of black truffles!), and can be made in a matter of minutes. And you can make it with almost anything … well, one does need eggs. But, most any cheese, meat (terrestrial or aquatic), vegetable, mushroom, herb … the sky’s the limit. The one created here is made with some leftover fingerling potatoes, a little cooked bacon, and topped with a smear of soft goat cheese. A bit of salad on the side completes the meal. And, of course, a glass of wine.

Bacon & Goat Cheese Omelette

Wine: The Maconnais wine district is located in the southern part of the historic and highly regarded Burgundy wine region in eastern France. As one travels through Burgundy, one passes through row after row, mile after mile of vineyards stretching out before you in all directions. The scene is different in the Maconnais district. Here one sees vineyards interspersed with diverse croplands and animal pastures … much more like farmland and the more typical French countryside. Puilly-Fuisse is the premiere appellation in the Maconnais producing the very finest white wines in this district. Like all AOC designated white wines produced throughout the Burgundy region, Puilly-Fuissé is made from 100% Chardonnay.

Pouilly-Fuisse

Tasting Notes:  A beautiful gold color. A fragrant bouquet featuring melon, mango, and peach. On the palate a delicate sweetness is quietly present in this lovely dry Chardonnay. Caramel/ toffee along with ripe sweet peach, apricot and cantaloupe flavors. A delightful wine that really complements the omelette, particularly with the bacon and goat cheese elements.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Bacon, Potato and Goat Cheese Omelette: Sancerre (Loire Valley, France), White Bordeaux (France), Chardonnay (Umbria, Italy), Sauvignon Blanc (California)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pouilly-Fuisse:  White Fish in a Cream Sauce, Pan-Seared Salmon, Prosciutto, Quiche Lorraine

Maps and Views of the Pouilly-Fuisse Wine Region:  Pouilly-Fuisse Wine Region

A Source:  www.wine.com

Mom’s Friday Fish … Paired with a Vin de Provence

Pairing: Pan-Fried Breaded Cod Paired with a 2015 Chateau Tyrians Coteaux Varois en Provence 

Food: I grew up in a Catholic family in the 1950’s. This meant, among other rituals and expectations, you always ate fish on Fridays … always. Yes, I know that the rule was to abstain from eating meat. There is an excellent history of the evolution of the ‘fish on Friday’ rules here. Even when the church relaxed those requirements (prompting my father to bemoan “the church is going to H___ in a hand basket”) following Vatican II, our family continued to observe the “always fish on Friday” tradition. And I, for one, am forever thankful that this tradition carries on in our family to this day.

My mother, born on this day in 1909 (Happy Birthday, Mom), drew from a fine, but somewhat limited, set of options to serve her family for Friday dinner. Number one on the list (at least, my list) was lightly breaded white fish (cod, haddock, or sole) pan-fried in some butter in a cast iron skillet. This was almost always served with Harvard Beets and some type of potato or rice.

Breaded Cod with Baby Beets and Beet Greens, and Potato Salad

Wine: The wine region, Provence, encompasses the far southeastern area of France, with the appelation, Coteaux Varois en Provence, covering the most southeastern corner of the territory. Most wine drinkers rightfully equate Provence with rose which accounts for upwards of 80% of total wine production in this region. Red grape varieties such as Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut are the principal constiuencies of rose. The discerning wine consumer will do well to explore some of the outstanding white wines of this often overlooked wine region. Chateau Trians makes a white blend composed of 80% Rolle and 20% Semillon. Just over the nearby border with Italy, lies the tiny coastal Italian wine region of Liguria noted for its white wines made primarily of the Vermentino grape. This is mentioned here because the Rolle grape grown in Provence is often confused with the Vermentino grape in neighboring Liguria. Many growers of Rolle grapes in Provence are calling their grapes Vermentino perhaps to attract more wine consumers who are far more likely to recognize the name Vermentino. Recent DNA testing, however, has shown that they are two distinct varieties rather than two names for the same variety. It takes a real wine geek to really care about this distinction, particularly since the taste is very much the same in both wines.

Chateau Tyrians Coteaux Varois en Provence (Blanc)

Tasting Notes: A warm, golden yellow color. Complex aromas of honeysuckle, Easter Lily, and vanilla sugar. Layers of flavor including Charentais melon, peach, quince, slightly under-ripe melon, and a touch of burnt sugar. The finish carries the peach and melon. Very interesting and nice with the fish.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Pan-Fried Cod: Chardonnay (California), White Burgundy (France), Chenin Blanc (South Africa), Pinot Blanc (Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Vin de Provence: Grilled Sea Bass, Pasta with Pesto, Fried Calamari, Fritto Misto

View the Stunning Provence Region: Provence

A Source:  www. klwines.com

A Taste of SW France … Duck Confit and Cote de Bergerac

Pairing:  Duck Confit Paired with a 2009 Chateau Thénac Côte de Bergerac

Food:  Duck Confit is one of the renowned regional specialties of Gascony in South West France, considered by many to be the quintessential French dish. Confit is a centuries-old process of salt-curing, cooking and preserving the meat (usually duck, goose, or pork) in its own fat. Curing the meat for a week or two, or preferably a few months results in an extraordinary flavor. Gascony, by the way, is the home of d’Artagnan, the legendary character in Alexander Dumas’ historic adventure novel, The Three Musketeers.

Duck Confit

Wine:   Bergerac is a small sub-region and appellation of the extensive South West France wine region. Bergerac has a long  history of winemaking dating back to Roman times. Later, around the 11th Century, monks were the first to produce some well-regarded wines. The Bergerac wine region is located just east of the far more famous Bordeaux region, arguably the most prestigious wine region in the world. Bergerac’s vineyards are planted on both sides of the Dordogne River. The river flows west emptying into the Atlantic near the city of Bordeaux. The wine made in Bergerac has a similar profile to the wines of Bordeaux … the reds comprised mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot … the whites made up of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Chateau Thénac was built on the ruins of a 12th Century Benedictine monastery. They have added Cabernet Franc and Malbec to their red Côtes de Bergerac, while their whites include Muscadelle in their blend.

Bergerac

Tasting Notes:  Decanted two hours ahead of dining. A deep purple color, almost black. Aromas of fresh blueberry and mace. The palate has layers of blueberry, plum, nutmeg, mace, fig, and buttered whole wheat toast. Extraordinary! Big, rich, mellow, fresh, balanced tannins. Fabulous with the salty richness of the confit. Complemented well the sweet touch of the red cabbage and the peppery roast potatoes. An amazing pairing of wine and the regional food.

Other Food That Pairs Well with This Wine:  Roast Lamb, Cassoulet, Grilled Steak or Sausage, Mushrooms (Porcini, Shiitake)

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food:  Cahors (France), Saint-Émillon (Bordeaux, France), Merlot (Italy), Pinot Noir (California)

Views of the Bergerac Wine Region: Bergerac Vineyards

A Source:  K & L Wines