What’s Cooking with Montesquieu Wine: Sensational Summer Recipes with Pairings
June 15, 2011, by: Lisa Duff Khajavi
Whether you have an almost endless summer climate or the full swing of four seasons, summer is here! With Father’s Day approaching and the 4th of July shortly after, it seems the perfect time to share some of our favorite recipes and wines that we particularly enjoy this time of year.
We love hearing from our community of wine lovers, which of course includes our Montesquieu Wine Brokers who are well-versed in all things food and wine. A natural occupational passion is the discovery of meals that work particularly well with our diverse selection of Montesquieu wines. Join us as we kick off summer in search of the perfect pairing…..
First up is a delightful summer meal from avid contributor Christina Hoffmann. She learned from Persian friends how to make this in college, and it is still one of her favorite meals for summertime. Christina commented, “The light lime in the recipes really works well for our Mariflor Sauvignon Blanc.” She added, “Really any similar white with citrus notes would be a nice match.”
Persian Chicken Kabobs with Saffron Rice and Salad Shirazi
Recipes by Christina Hoffmann, serves 4
Rice with Tah-Dig
Tah-Dig is the Persian word for the crunchy layer of rice that forms on the bottom of the pan
2 quarts water
2 tablespoons salt
1 and ½ cups Basmati or other long-grain rice
3 tablespoons butter plus a few extra to top mound of rice
pinch of saffron threads
Wash rice until water runs clear. Soak rice in a bowl of lukewarm water for 20 minutes to a few hours. This makes the rice fluffier.
In a large saucepan bring water with salt to a boil. Add rice and boil 10 minutes. In a colander drain rice and rinse under warm water.
In a 2 to 3 quart non-stick saucepan melt the butter. Spoon rice over butter and form into a mound, avoiding the sides. With the handle of your spoon, make holes through the rice mound down to the pan. Drop in some tabs of butter. Cover pan with a kitchen towel (this will absorb excess moisture for light and fluffy rice) and a heavy lid. Fold edges of towel up over lid and cook rice over moderately low heat until tender and a crust forms on the bottom, 30 to 35 minutes.
Loosen rice with a spoon or spatula onto a platter and dip the bottom of the pan in a large bowl or the sink full of cold water for 30 seconds to loosen the tah-dig. Remove the crust and place on top of the platter of rice. It takes a bit of practice to get the crust in one solid piece. Don’t worry if it breaks, the fabulous flavor remains intact!
Grind saffron with a mortar and pestle, cover with a tablespoon of water, then drizzle and swirl over the finished rice.
Chicken Thigh Kabobs
8 boneless skinless chicken thighs (halved if medium, quartered if large)
1 cup nonfat plain yogurt
juice of 1 lime, freshly squeezed
2 teaspoons kosher salt
2 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
one large onion, cut into chunks
pinch of saffron threads, ground in mortar and pestle
Place the thigh pieces in gallon Ziploc bag. Put yogurt, lime juice, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, onion chunks and saffron into bag. Zip closed and shake and squeeze bag until all ingredients are combined. Refrigerate and allow to marinate for at least two hours. Can be made the night before.
Skewer the meat and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper. Grill until cooked through.
2 medium tomatoes, or 1 large tomato, diced with seeds removed
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeds removed and diced
½ medium red onion, finely diced
10 mint leaves, finely chopped
juice of one lime, freshly squeezed
tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
teaspoon kosher salt
teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine all ingredients into a bowl and refrigerate for an hour or so for flavors to marry.
Pair with the 2009 Mariflor Uco Valley Sauvignon Blanc. The energetic fruit and fine, vibrant acidity shines to highlight flavors in the dishes and the wine.
Hazelnut Chicken in a Prosciutto Cream Sauce
Recipe by Christina Hoffman
3-5 ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded 1/3 inch thick
all-purpose flour for dredging
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 cup chopped hazelnuts
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup dry white wine
6 large mushrooms, quartered
3 ounces prosciutto, shredded
15 fresh spinach leaves
1 cup heavy whipping cream
Mix together egg and milk until thoroughly combined. Dredge chicken breasts in flour and shake off excess. Dip chicken into egg mixture, then press into chopped hazelnuts.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chicken and cook until golden brown on both sides, and no longer pink in the center, about 5 minutes per side. Once done, place chicken on a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm.
Increase heat to high, and pour in wine to deglaze. Stir in mushrooms, prosciutto and spinach; cook until the mushrooms have softened, about 5 minutes. Pour in cream, bring to a simmer, then reduce heat to medium and simmer for 5 minutes more. Ladle over chicken and serve.
Pair with the 2008 Aubade Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay. The exotic fruit and the wisp of toasted vanilla are just right with this, with perfect acidity to handle the cream-based sauce. Also the 2008 Amura Leyda Valley Chardonnay is another terrific match.
Duck Breast with Balsamic, Cherry & Sage Sauce
Recipe by Christina Hoffman, serves 2
2 cups fresh black cherries, pitted and halved
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon cold butter
¼ cup chicken stock
2 teaspoons olive oil
¼ cup dry red wine
freshly ground black pepper
Prepare the sauce. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Ad the shallots and garlic to the pan, stirring often until shallots are translucent. Add red wine and raise heat to medium-high. Add the sage and cherries and cook until reduced. Add chicken stock, bring to a boil, reduce heat back to medium and simmer 8-100 minutes. Stir in honey and butter, then season with salt and pepper to taste.
Prepare the duck. Place breasts skin side up on a cutting board. With sharp knife, score the skin (¼ inch deep cuts) diagonally in both directions making a cross pattern. Season with kosher salt and ground pepper, pressing into skin.
In a non-reactive pan, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil over medium heat. When oil is hot, add duck breast skin side down and sear for 5-6 minutes. Check skin side—when skin is golden brown and crisp and some fat has rendered into the pan, flip the duck breast. Sear on other side for two minutes. Put whole pan under broiler for 4 to 5 minutes (not too close, or the fat will smoke) or until duck is medium-rare.
Allow the duck to rest on cutting board before slicing diagonally and serving. If you cut too soon, all the delicious juices will run out!
Pair with 2008 Chateau Petrus-Gaïa L’Élue. The luxurious velvety texture of the L’Élue, and its chocolate-wrapped cherry notes with herbs is the perfect complement to this dish.
Also fabulous is the 2009 Berceuse Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, with prominent jammy cherry and raspberry with notes of sage and spearmint—delicious!
Barbecued Asian Pork Tenderloin
Recipe submitted by Christina Hoffmann from Rick Bakas
1 pork tenderloin
1/3 cup soy sauce(light)
2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
¼ cup sesame oil
1/3 cup brown sugar
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon fresh ground pepper
1 teaspoon rice wine vinegar
juice of one lemon
Whisk together all ingredients except pork. Marinate the pork in a shallow dish for several hours. For best results, butterfly the pork and coat all sides.
Grill over medium heat to let the brown sugar caramelize without burning until done.
Pair with 2008 Chateau Petrus-Gaïa L’Élue or 2009 Berceuse Willamette Valley Pinot Noir.
Medici Mushroom Bolognese
Recipe by Alexandra Holt
Adapted to be a lighter version for the summer from an old traditional Medici Cookbook
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 pound grilled assorted wild mushrooms such as shitake, oyster and portobello, cut into ½ inch dice
¾ cup chopped yellow onions
¼ cup chopped carrots
¼ cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
½ cup Madeira
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
1(28-ounce) can whole tomatoes
1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup water
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon minced rosemary
1 pound pasta rags, cooked al dente (use dried lasagna sheets, broken into “rag” pieces)
Pecorino Romano, shaved with a vegetable peeler
In a medium pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms, onions, carrots, celery and garlic and cook, stirring for 5 minutes. Add the Madeira and cook until reduced, another 3 minutes.
Add the tomato paste, salt and pepper and cook, stirring for 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes, sauce and water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer until thickened and fragrant, stirring occasionally about 30 minutes. Add the herbs to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and adjust the seasoning to taste. Add the pasta and toss to coat. Place in a large serving bowl, or divide among individual pasta bowls. Shave Pecorino over the pasta.
This is a smashing pairing with the Tuscan 2007 Lumi di Pigna Montecucco Rosso. The bright fruit layered with cigar-box, leather and earth notes complement the rustic herb-laced flavors in the dish beautifully.
Watermelon Prosecco Granita
Recipe submitted by Lisa Khajavi
Adapted from Cooking With The Single Guy, serves 4 to 6
1 medium watermelon to yield minimum of 3 cups of watermelon puree
1 cup Prosecco
½ cup superfine sugar
mint for garnish
Peel and chop the watermelon into cubes. Seedless watermelon is the easiest, but if seeded, remove seeds before cubing.
Pulse in a blender or use a hand blender, or other device to make a puree. Strain your puree through a sieve or strainer to remove any chunks or stray seeds. Whisk sugar into 3 cups of watermelon puree and set aside for a few minutes to allow sugar to finish dissolving.
Whisk Prosecco into the watermelon puree and then pour into a 9”x13” glass baking dish or similar-sized shallow dish. Place into freezer for four to five hours. Remove and rake the ice with a fork to create your granita. Place in your favorite glass and serve, garnished with mint.
To dress it up, serve in a martini glass. To dress it down for a casual barbecue, serve in snow cone paper cups. This is delicious as a palate cleanser or as a very light dessert, especially in very warm weather. A refreshing treat, especially for al fresco dining.
You may adjust level of sugar to taste, and if a zippy sweet-tart flavor is desired add a little fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice to taste.
Pair with our 2009 Castello di Roncade Brut Prosecco and use the same for the recipe as well.
We would love to know some of your favorite summer pairings!
Happy Summer from all of us at Montesquieu Winery, may you enjoy it to the fullest!