Pozole – Warming You Up This Winter

Pozole, the traditional corn soup, or stew, from Mexico, is a great way to ward off the chill of winter.

Alma Ayon, proprietress and chef at Sundance Bed and Breakfast in Paso Robles, enjoys a break from gourmet cuisine once in a while. During the cold fall and winter months, she looks to a traditional family favorite, pozole, to take the chill off a day in the vineyard. Who can deny the comforting feeling of putting together a soup or stew and letting all the spicy aromas fill the house?

So put the pork up to cook, and use the time to binge watch your favorite TV series, read a book, or……  And don’t forget the wine. Alma suggests pairing this dish with CASS viognier.


Serves 8-10


Pozole with Cass Viognier



Pork and Broth:

3 lbs. boneless pork butt, cut in 2½ inch chunks

14 cups water

½ onion

1 bay leaf

3 25 oz. Cans Mexican Style Hominy (rinsed)

Kosher Salt or Knorr Chicken Bouillon

Red Sauce:

5 Ancho chiles, stems and seeds removed

5 Guajillo chiles, stems and seeds removed

½ onion

5 garlic gloves

4 cups water


Finely shredded cabbage

Thinly sliced radish

Dry oregano (Mexican)

Limes (quartered)

Cilantro sprigs


Place the pork, ½ onion, bay leaf, salt, in a large pot and cover with 14 cups of water. The pork should be completely covered by about 4 inches of water. When the water comes to a boil, skim the surface and cook covered over medium heat for 2 ½ hours. Skim a few times during cooking process.

In a separate medium pot, cook chiles, onion and garlic for approximately 20 minutes. In a blender (Vitamix) purée the chiles with the water, onion and garlic. Strain and add to the pork. Add the hominy and cook everything together in low heat for an additional 20 minutes. Pork should be falling apart tender.

Adjust salt — most abuelitas, grandmothers, prefer to season soups with Knorr Chicken Bouillon, instead of salt, for a more flavorful broth.

Note: Pozole is a soup. Add chicken broth to the pot is the liquid level is low and adjust salt as needed.


Serve in deep bowls and garnish with shredded cabbage, radish, cilantro and a pinch of crumbled oregano. And don’t forget to squeeze some lime juice!  Serves 8-10

Pozole - Back Roads Wineries


Clafoutis for Christmas Breakfast

by Susan Evans – Shadow Run Vineyard


Clafoutis – a Christmas morning tradition at Shadow Run Vineyards

We all have a favorite holiday meal.  Perhaps it is an annual luncheon with friends, a brunch with neighbors, a special dinner with candles, crystal and Grandmother’s china or a scrumptious breakfast on Christmas morning.  And while many families prepare traditional dishes that are repeated every holiday season, we enjoy experimenting with at least one new recipe each year.  And because we are winemakers, we are always curious about, “what wine will pair with this dish?”

A favorite dish for Christmas breakfast is Clafoutis, a classic French dessert typically baked with fresh cherries.  Clafoutis is easy to prepare, not too sweet, and is just custardy-eggy enough to make a luscious breakfast dish. Our French neighbor has taught us that any fruit in season (except apples which won’t cook through) can be used to top Clafoutis.  In summer we use fresh peaches and at Christmas we substitute fresh pears for the cherries.  We drizzle the baked Clafoutis with a touch of our late harvest viognier, Jess, and serve with a dollop of cold whipped cream.  Because Jess has the classic viognier flavors of peach, apricot and pear, it pairs beautifully with this traditional French dish. Enjoy Clafoutis warm from the oven with a glass of chilled Jess.

Clafoutis with pears



1 cup whole milk

3 eggs

½ cup sugar

1 tsp vanilla

2 tbsp melted butter

½ cup flour

1 – 2 pears, peeled, cored and thinly sliced

2 tbsp sliced almonds (optional)

2 tbsp Jess for drizzling

Preheat oven to 475 degrees.  Whisk together the milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla and melted butter.  Mix the flour into the batter last, and whisk until smooth.  Pour batter into a 9 inch pie pan.  Arrange pear slices on top of the batter.  Sprinkle with sliced almonds, if using.
Bake 25 minutes
Drizzle 2 tbsp of Jess over the finished Clafoutis

Serve with whipped cream and a chilled glass of Jess.  Heaven!

International Cabernet Sauvignon Day

Celebrate International Cabernet Sauvignon Day, August 27th, 2015, with the Back Roads Wineries of Paso Robles.

Cabernet Sauvignon is the Paso Robles AVA’s most widely planted wine grape variety, making up almost half of the grapes grown across the 32,000 acres under vine. While cabernet has been king in Paso Robles for decades, it is in the past 10 years that the diversity of cabernet styles from the area have emerged as cutting edge wines from this robust wine producing region.

Many of our Back Roads Winery members produce outstanding cabernet sauvignon and cabernet franc and we invite you to visit often and explore the Paso-bilities.


Meanwhile to help you celebrate your Cabernet Day, Mitchella Vineyard and Winery has  shared 3 cabernet-friendly recipes for you to try. They won the Paso Robles Rotary Winemaker’s Cook-Off “Judges Choice” with the Petite Sirloin Burgers.Whether you try one of these delicious recipes or just throw a thick rib-eye on the barbecue, enjoy the day and the wine with good friends and family. Cheers to #CabernetDay!

Mitchella at the Paso Robles Rotary Winemakers Cookoff

The Mitchella crew at the Paso Robles Rotary Winemakers’ Cook-off


Beef and Beer Stew


Cabernet Sauvignon with Beef and Beer Stew - Mitchella Winery



2-3 Pounds of Beef Stew meat or other cut into 1” cubes
1/4 Cup Flour
4 Cups Beef Broth
1 Bottle Dark Beer
2-3 Large Sweet Onions—Thinly Sliced
1 Tablespoon Fresh Thyme
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Pepper
2 Teaspoons Paprika
4 Tablespoons Olive Oil or Walnut
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
2 Bay Leaves

In a food storage bag, combine the flour, paprika, and salt. Add the beef cubes and toss to coat. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large heavy pot over medium-high heat. Add the beef and cook, stirring, for about 4 to 5 minutes, until browned. Do not over crowd, cook in batches, remove and set aside. Heat the remaining oil in the pot with the scrapes, add the onions and cook until translucent, about 10-15 minutes, add 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and cook another 2 minutes. Add the beef broth and scrape any remaining bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the beef and collected juices, add the thyme, bay leaves, pepper, and beer. Cover and simmer on low for 2 hours. Remove the bay leaves. Serve over noodles or rice.




1 Cup Shredded Chopped Chicken
1/2 Cup Golden Raisins
1 Tablespoon Mexican seasoning (1/2 Cumin and 1/2 Garlic Powder)
1/2 Cup shredded Mexican cheese
4 Tablespoons Cowboy Ike’s Cabernet Jelly (or to taste)
1 Egg
1 Tablespoon of finely chopped canned Chipotle peppers
1 (15-ounce) box refrigerated pie crusts (recommended: Pillsbury)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl combine chicken, golden raisins, seasoning, cheese, jelly and chopped chipotle peppers.

Unroll pie dough, using a 3-inch round cutter, dusted with flour and cut out as many rounds as possible, 10-12 for each sheet, should have between 20-24 rounds. Beat the egg lightly in a small bowl, set aside. To assemble empanadas, fill the center of each round with approximately 1/2 tablespoon of the mixture. Brush half of the perimeter of each dough round with the egg wash. Fold over 1 side of the round to make a half circle. Crimp the edges of each empanada with tines of a fork. Place empanadas on prepared baking sheets. Brush each top lightly with egg wash and sprinkle each with a little of the remaining cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown.


Petite Top Sirloin Burgers with Rustic Cheddar, Caramelized Onions and Heirloom Tomatoes

2 ½ pounds Fresh Ground Top Sirloin (90/10)

8 oz Assorted Wild Mushrooms or Baby Bellas

1/3 Cup High Quality Red Wine like Mitchella

12 cloves Garlic

10 Slices Rustic Aged Sharp Cheddar

4‐6 Small Heirloom Tomatoes

2 Medium Sweet Onions

1 Cup Fresh Aioli or Mayonnaise

1 Tbsp Salt

2 Tbsp Ground Cumin

4 Tbsp Olive Oil

2 Tbsp Balsamic Vinegar

2 Tbsp Dark Brown Sugar

1 Pound Butter

2 Baguettes San Luis Sourdough

1 Cup Arugula


Makes approximately 40 mini burgers

Coarsely chop six cloves of garlic and sauté in 2 tbsp of olive oil, coarsely chop the mushrooms and add to the garlic, continue sautéing for 10 minutes, add 1/3 cup red wine, simmer until liquid is reduced.

Remove, and cool mushrooms in large mixing bowl.

Thinly slice onions and sauté in 2 tbsp of olive oil until a light golden brown, about 15 minutes. Carefully, add 2 tbsp of balsamic vinegar stir until reduced, quickly add, still stirring 2 tbsp of brown sugar, simmer until caramelized, about 7 minutes. Remove to small bowl and cover.

Add 1 tbsp cumin to one cup of aioli or mayonnaise, mix well, refrigerate. Quarter the slices of cheddar cheese. Slice the tomatoes into 2‐3” rounds. Slice the sourdough baguettes in to ¼ inch slices.

Add 1 tbsp cumin to cooled mushrooms, 1 tbsp salt, and fresh ground sirloin. Mix and form into small patties, just less than 1/8 cup per patty. Add butter and 6 cloves of garlic to heat proof pan on BBQ, add sliced sourdough, grill on BBQ until golden brown. Grill hamburgers for 2 minutes, turn add cheese, remove when cheese has melted.

Assembly: Sliced sourdough, 1 tsp cumin aioli, burger with cheese, heirloom tomato, caramelized onion, arugula, then top with sliced sourdough. Enjoy!







Barbecue Italian Style in the Back Roads of Paso Robles

by Mary Morwood Hart of AmByth Estate – August 2015

arrosticini with salad

A brief history of the dish…..

Phillip and I have traveled throughout Italy practically every year for the past 17 years (it helps that Phillip has a sister who lives in Tuscany). But a couple of years ago we spent 10 days in the Abruzzo region visiting a fellow winemaker/friend. We tasted a dish that is unique only to Abruzzo and we were blown away. It is so simple, yet so tasty.  All it is is skewered mutton.

Arrosticini is the food of the mountain shepherds – it is easy and tasty. Typically it is mutton that is cubed in ¼” x ¼”. The cubes are then laced with bits of fat to soften the mutton. The skewers are marinated for a couple of hours and cooked over open fire or a special grill just for the arrosticini. At AmByth, we cook them in our “beehive oven” (a Portuguese clay oven) on a salt block. They can also be bar-b-qued.

We serve the Arrosticini as a second course with a side salad of arugula and radicchio, tossed with tomatoes, roasted bell peppers, thinly sliced cucumber, pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds with a shallot/lemon juice/Dijon mustard/evoo vinaigrette dressing.  The first course could be fresh pasta with a barely sautéed zucchini sauce.


Recipe—Serves 4

1 pound rough piece of lamb—prime cuts not necessary, the more fat, the better. We use shoulder, stew meat, etc. At AmByth we raise our own lamb, so we have an abundance of meat to select from

Cube the lamb pieces into ¼” to ½” pieces. Thread them onto 8 skewers with plenty of pieces with fat evenly distributed


Marinate the skewers for a couple hours in the juice of 1 lemon, 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 tbs chopped rosemary and 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic

Grill until cooked and sprinkle with salt and pepper

Wine Pairing: 2011 AmByth Sangiovese

AmByth Estate is Paso Robles’ first and only winery to produce Demeter certified Biodynamic wines. We utilize the Biodynamic method of farming to enhance our observations of nature, and use these intimate insights as tools that allow our 20 acres of vineyards to express their true character through the grapes it produces.

Estate Vineyards: Mark’s Vineyard, StoneCross Hill, Terrace, PlayGround.

  • Estate Varietals Grown: Whites: Marsanne, Roussanne, Viognier, Grenache Blanc. Reds: Syrah, Mourvedre, Grenache, Counoise, Carignan, Sangiovese, Tempranillo
  • Estate Olive Trees: Arbequina, Arbosana, Lechen de Sevilla, Cornicabra, Picual, Hojiblanca, Empeltre, Manzanilla

Gelfand Vineyards Food and Wine Pairing

Gelfand Vineyards shares their wine country recipe and wine pairing.

Gelfand Vineyards is a small, family owned and operated boutique winery in Paso Robles, California, specializing in BIG REDS.  Although we have been around since 2001, we are virtually unknown outside of the area, except to our 900 wine club members who have found us during special open dates.  (We are only open to the public 3 weekends out of the year during festivals). We produce about 1500 cases a year, all coming from our estate grown Cabernet, Syrah, Zinfandel and Petite Sirah grapes.  We don’t have a distributor, so you wont find us at your local wine shop, or in any fine dining establishment.  But if you have the chance, please visit us during the Vintage Paso Zinfandel Weekend in March, Wine Festival in May or Harvest Wine Weekend in October, or just call for an appointment. We’d love to see you!

Gelfand Vineyards Petite Sirah

For this months recipe,  pairing our rich and full bodied Petite Sirah with a pork tenderloin was a no brainer. The two just seem to belong together.  The flavoring of the pork along with the bouquet of the wine compliment one another beautifully. Accompanied with a small salad, and the balance of the bottle of Petite left over from the recipe ( unless consumed while making the dish) it makes a perfect weeknight dish for just two or a great meal to serve to family and friends with your best china.

Enjoy and “Drink the Dream”

Jan & Len Gelfand


Pork Tenderloin with Gelfand Vineyards Petite Sirah

(although some my refer to this dish as Gelfand Vineyards Petite Sirah  with Pork Tenderloin)

1   pork tenderloin

1   tablespoon olive oil

¾   teaspoon Kosher salt – divided

½   teaspoon black pepper – divided

1 ½ cups   blackberries

¼   cup finely chopped shallots

1   tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

½ – 1 cup   Gelfand Vineyards Petite Sirah  ( it is permissible to double this amount and use half of it to enjoy while making the recipe)

¾ cup   chicken stock

1.       Heat a large nonstick skillet over med-high heat.   Add oil to pan.   Swirl to coat.  Sprinkle pork with ½ teaspoon of both the salt and pepper.  Add pork to pan and cook for 8 minutes, turning on all sides till browned.  Transfer to a lightly oiled baking sheet.

2.       Bake 30 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat registers 160 degrees.   Transfer meat to a cutting board: let rest.

3.       Add blackberries, shallots and thyme to skillet and sauté 2 minutes or until slightly softened.  Add wine, and cook one minute or until syrupy.   Add chicken stock and any juices from the pork.

4.       Cook 5 minutes or until thickened and reduced to about ½ – ¾ cup.  Stir in remaining salt and pepper

5.       Cut pork into ¼ – ½ inch slices and serve with the sauce and an additional glass – or two – of Gelfand’s Petite Sirah.




Comfort Food from Paso Robles Wine Country

by Sara Pritchard – Pomar Junction Vineyard and Winery

Just in time for Valentine’s Day…or any day really – delicious comfort food with a twist!

Nothing says lovin’ like a slow cooked meal of  comfort food paired with a wonderful bottle of wine. This recipe for a beef roast with purple mashed potatoes, asparagus, and herbed roux gravy is sure to impress your sweetheart. Dazzle your dinner companion(s) with your culinary creativity (not everyday you see purple mashed potatoes) and your superb wine knowledge and pairing skills by serving the meal with a bottle of Pomar Junction’s “The Crossing” GSM blend.

About the wine:

Pomar Junction "The Crossing" GSM blend Paso Robles

Our inaugural classic Rhone blend displays a floral nose with hints of blackberries, caramel, and herbs de Provence. A savory mouth feel is supported by flavors of red currants and charred cedar, with a distinctive lingering finish of supple tannins. The Brohaugh Ranch, where a portion of the grapes were sourced, has exceptional Southwest facing blocks that bring out the best of these varieties. Drink now or hold on for a few years to let it develop and age.

CASES: 242

COOPERAGE: 33% New French Oak

AGING: 22 Months

Beef Roast, Purple Mashed Potatoes, Asparagus, and an Herbed Roux Gravy paired with The Crossing (GSM)

Slow cook a lightly salted beef roast with fresh sprigs of rosemary on top . Keep the drippings for the gravy.

The gravy should be made with an herbal roux of rosemary, sage, and a small amount of lavender. Place the herbs in 1 Tbsp of melted butter and cook over  low heat for about 10 minutes to infuse flavor and then strain. Add 1 Tbsp of all purpose flour to butter (should be equal amounts of butter and flour) and cook at low heat until the flour browns (as for a brown roux). Add the roast drippings and additional beef stock (to make one cup) and whisk until the desired consistency of gravy is achieved.

The purple mashed potatoes should be skinned only of coarse  spots,  boiled for 20 minutes or until soft, and mashed with heavy cream or butter.

Blanch the asparagus and then saute’ whole in butter until lightly charred. Salt to taste.

Roast Beef, Mashed Potatoes and Asparagus

Serve the roast in chunk portions, not slices, pushed apart slightly with a little gravy poured over. Serve the potatoes with a lavish amount of the herbed gravy, and the asparagus as prepared with a small amount of drizzled olive oil. Garnish the dish with rosemary.

Happy Valentine’s Day!