Thanksgiving with Montesquieu Wines
November 17, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
With Thanksgiving just a week away, we would like to share some traditions and recipes from past Thanksgivings with some of our favorite Montesquieu Wines, plus a few tips for including wines in some of your cooking. Wines as well as spirits make a wonderful layering component for flavor when added to various dishes! And of course, as W.C. Fields said best, “ I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food.” So open a bottle of one of your favorites, and enjoy these recommendations and this delectable holiday!
She especially loved this pairing of our 2005 Hospices de Beaune Auxey-Duresses 1er Cru Cuvee Boillot with her herb-roasted pork tenderloin, sweet potatoes with candied pecans and pancetta green beans. This is a classic holiday pairing, as Pinot Noir is a long-standing favorite for having the acidity and vibrancy -especially Old World Pinot- that makes such a wide variety of dishes shine, including those with pork, turkey, cornish game hen, duck, quail and the like. New World Pinot is also a fine choice, with our 2008 Pavan Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir, 2009 Latham Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and 2009 Mariflor Uco Valley Pinot Noir more than up to the cornucopia of Thanksgiving dishes.
“First I greet all of my quests with a Prosecco cocktail. Fill a champagne glass 1/3 full with 100% pomegranate juice, top with the Roncade Prosecco and add an orange twist. Delightful!
Our Thanksgiving is a blend of my family’s German heritage and the American turkey. The turkey is always stuffed with a savory sausage stuffing and slow roasted, with constant butter brushing and braising. We make our own Spaetzle, a German noodle that is made with flour, milk , eggs and a dash of salt. Pressed through a Spaetzle press, making long yummy noodles. There is always a cucumber salad made with thinly sliced cucumbers dressed in vinegar and sour cream. Also we have cold carrot salad with sliced carrots, oil and vinegar with diced onions and a touch of honey. Red cabbage that has been slow cooked with apples and onions and mashed sweet potatoes done with butter, brown sugar, and honey round out the meal. The gravy is rich and decadent and a family secret! Always home-made cranberry sauce—so easy and delicious! Needless to say there is barely enough room for my Mom’s homemade pumpkin pie.
We normally have quite a selection of wine on the table—all Montesquieu of course! This year we will have the 2009 Roncade Prosecco, 2006 Chablis 1er Cru Vaillons, 2009 Latham Russian River Pinot Noir , 2008 Mariflor Pinot Noir and our 2009 Montesquieu Bordeaux Superior. “
“Our family’s favorite Thanksgiving side, modified from the Silver Palate Cookbook, is Sweet Potato and Banana Puree.”
8 cups peeled, diced sweet potatoes
3 ripe bananas
6 tbsp unsalted butter (3/4 stick)
2 tbsp rum
1 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
salt to taste
1 cup toasted sliced almonds
Place the sweet potatoes in a medium size saucepan and add water to cover. Cook covered until very tender; drain.
Cut the bananas into 1 inch pieces and puree in a food processor fitted with a steel blade. Add the hot sweet potatoes, 4 tablespoons of the butter, the rum, and brown sugar. Process until smooth. Add the nutmeg and salt to taste; process just to blend. Keep warm.
Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter in a small skillet. Add the almonds and sauté until lightly browned. Sprinkle with a little salt. Top each serving of the sweet potato puree with a generously amount of the toasted almonds. 8 portions.
Serve with an older white burgundy, one that has started to take on nutty undertones, such as our 2006 Jean Gagnerot Chassagne-Montrachet or 2003 Jean Gagnerot Meursault 1er Cru Les Porusot.
“We’ve done a “Turducken” for the past few Thanksgivings and it’s just magical with the Mariflor Pinot! I’ve told a lot of clients about it and they always get a big kick out of it and say, “What’s a Turducken?” A Turducken is a Cajun creation from Louisiana: a turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken, all layered with cornbread stuffing!” The purveyor Missy recommends is the Cajun Grocer in Louisiana.
“We have a tradition in our house of food…always make too much so there is a lot left over for days! Champagne is a huge favorite, so we are sure to serve our amazing Montesquieu Grand Cru Gabriel Simon Champagne. Other excellent pairings for this menu include our Roncade Prosecco, Montesquieu Derenoncourt Meritage, Jean Gagnerot Puligny-Montrachet & Gevrey Chambertin, Olivia Fontana’s Barolo Riserva, and some Port.” Here is Peggy’s classic menu:
Rosemary, Sage, Thyme & Orange Stuffed Turkey
2 Cheese Hashbrown Casserole (decadent & awesome)
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Steamed Asparagus w/ garlic, lemon & butter sauce on top
Clove Sweet Potato Casserole
Cheese Plate: Gouda, Cheddar, Brie, Swiss & Pecorino Romano w/ Italian Sausage, Crackers, Olives & Fruit–great w/ the Fontana Barolo Riserva!
Gouda Stuffed Roll w/ Raspberry Sauce
Gouda Roll (So easy and time-friendly!)
1 pkg of Pillsbury Crescent Roll
1 round roll of Gouda cheese
raspberry jelly or jam
Dijon spicy mustard
fresh or dried rosemary
Roll out the crescent roll & keep 2 triangles together so you have a rectangle shape. Roll that out to make a bit bigger. Do the same with a 2nd one and then put on top of the first one so you have an X formation. Put the Gouda on top and cover with the Dijon mustard. Spread raspberry jelly on top and sprinkle with rosemary. Fold up sides up onto top like you’re wrapping a package and be sure to seal up the sides. Stick in freezer for about 10 minutes to harden dough up a bit then brush with butter, stick in oven on 350 degrees for 30 min or until golden brown. Serve with any kind of crackers.
“I am hooked on a recipe for roasted spice-cured turkey I discovered in Food & Wine in 1994. Soaking in a brine overnight before roasting locks the moisture in for a perfect turkey every time. Browned butter infused with sage is rubbed under the skin, and the skin of the turkey is rubbed with a toasted spice mixture as well–the meat is so tender and flavorful. My husband’s Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes with caramelized garlic is a must, and I love to make Cranberry Agrodulce with fresh and dried cranberries, port and spices, and Sweet Potato and Ricotta Cheesecake with pecans. I like to add a cup of one of the dry white wines we are serving to the gravy- it gives a great layer and zing which brightens the richness. Starting off with our Montesquieu Grand Cru Gabriel Simon Champagne will set the best possible foot forward and enliven everyone’s tastebuds. The smoky Provencal herbs, lush fruit and balanced tannins in the 2008 E. Prisette Syrah-Carignan will be great with everything and echo the sage and thyme in my mother-in-law’s apple and sausage stuffing. Our Hungarian and Romanian reds are always a hit, like our 2010 Castelu Dealu Mare late harvest Cabernet Sauvignon.”
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 large yellow onion, finely diced
5 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped
4 cups fresh cranberries (about 1 pound)
½ cup dried cranberries
½ cup dark brown sugar (packed)
1 ½ cups cranberry juice
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup Port (I have used Amarone, Pinot Noir and others, also delicious)
1 ½ teaspoons coarse or kosher salt
1 ½ teaspoons coarsely cracked black pepper
½ teaspoon ground allspice
1 small cinnamon stick
1 nickel-size slice of fresh ginger
2 whole cloves
Heat the oil in a large nonreactive saucepan. Add the onion and cook over moderate heat, stirring occasionally until translucent, about 7 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Stir in the fresh and dried cranberries, the brown sugar, cranberry juice, balsamic vinegar, port, salt, pepper and allspice.
Tie the cinnamon stick, ginger and cloves in a small piece of cheesecloth. Add it to the saucepan and bring the mixture to a boil over moderately high heat. Lower the heat and simmer until thickened, about 35 minutes. Discard the spice bundle and let cool. (The agrodulce can be made ahead and refrigerated, covered, for up to one week. Make sure to return to room temperature before serving.)
Leftovers are great, as Aaron Zar points out, “ I look forward to having a turkey sandwich with cranberry, gravy, and stuffing next to my bottle of chilled Bailarina!”
Thanksgiving is the ultimate time for sharing favorite dishes and wines with friends and family. For more ideas and helpful hints for choosing wonderful wines to pair with your holiday meals, read more here. In a nutshell, feature a wide variety of wines—including sparkling, red, white and dessert wine or port—and lean toward balanced wines rather than those with heavy oak and super-aggressive tannins which can overpower many dishes. More importantly, drink what you enjoy and the variety of wines will cover a wide range of preferences for your guests as well.
Cheers from all of us at Montesquieu Winery, and enjoy your Thanksgiving!