Thursday, December 23, 2010

50 posts! Let's celebrate with some wine.

This is my 51st post.  Probably should have thrown the party on the occasion of my 50th, but sadly I didn't even notice until I logged in to write tonight's little missive.  My theme for the night is casual cooking with wine.  Please celebrate with me then, and cook with wine and have a little glass for me.  I have a little Sauvignon Blanc open which has been both delicious pan sauce and delightful glass with dinner.  Tonight I opened a Cabernet Sauvignon to make "sophisticated Joe's" and my husband will happily finish the bottle.  It's a win-win.

First let's discuss white wine pan sauce.  Buy some nice boneless, skinless chicken breasts and place one between two sheets of waxed paper.  Get out your pounder (mine is a pounder/tenderizer from Target that ran about $12).  Pound your chicken into a paillard (the current trendy way to say chicken breast pounded thin) about 1/4-inch thick.  Start at the center and work your way out.  Dust or dredge your chicken in flour seasoned with salt and pepper.  Heat olive oil in a heavy pan (enameled cast iron or stainless steel are better than non-stick for this).  Cook your floured chicken until golden brown on both sides (about 10 minutes total).  If you'd like garlic in your dish, add it now so it does not brown and cook it quickly for 30-60 seconds.  Turn your heat up to medium high and deglaze the pan with dry white wine.  All that means is you pour in your wine (1/2 to 1 cup) and scrape up the browned bits from the pan.  While the wine is boiling your sauce will thicken.  Feel free to use a little chicken broth to thin or extend the sauce.  Add some herbs of your choice, dried (Herbs de Provence is popular at my house) or fresh to season.

For a little variation, prepare the chicken and brown on both sides (no garlic) and deglaze your pan with dry white wine, a little broth and a freshly squeezed lemon.  Add a tablespoon or so of drained capers.  Voila!  A quick chicken piccata.

Now let's talk something a little heartier.  This is a recipe adapted from Epicurious, "Sophisto Joes".  Ground beef is hearty and savory in this dish.  If your family wants or needs a lightened version, use ground turkey or chicken as I have.  Just be sure to season your browned white meat well before you add the cooking liquids.  Ground turkey and especially ground chicken really need some help to be full of flavor.

Sloppy Joes with a little red wine

1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red pepper, finely diced
olive oil
1 medium carrot, finely chopped
1 celery rib, finely chopped
salt and pepper
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey, chicken or beef
1 T chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 15-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1/2 C dry red wine
2 T Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 T packed brown sugar

In a large pan, warm a tablespoon or so of olive oil.  Saute onion, red pepper and garlic until softened.  Add carrot, celery and 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir now and then for 5-8 minutes until vegetables are softened.  Add ground meat and stir to break up lumps and brown meat, 8-10 minutes.  Add chili powder, cumin, 1/2 teaspoon salt and 3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper and stir to season for 2-3 minutes.  Add tomatoes, wine, Worcestershire sauce and brown sugar and bring mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until sauce has thickened, 6-8 minutes.

oooh, look I used yellow pepper and mushrooms too  feel free to improvise!

ground chicken being seasoned

simmering

dinner!
Serve with rolls or buns of your choice.  Butter them and toast them on a grill or skillet pan, so good that way.


Note:  started this post exactly one week ago, too much Christmas and too little time to finish :)

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