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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.

POZOLE

Serves 8-10

 

Pozole with Cass Viognier

 

Ingredients

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

Garnish:

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.

Service:

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

 


Malolactic Fermentation

What is Malolactic Fermentation?

wine barrels - malolactic fermentation

Visitors to the Shadow Run Vineyards and Winery Tasting Room often ask about the dozen or so wine barrels stored along the walls.  Yes, they do contain wine.  These are the wines that have not completed the secondary fermentation.  As everyone knows grape juice goes through a primary fermentation when sugars turn to alcohol.  Not everyone knows that there is another fermentation that occurs after the primary fermentation, called malolactic, in which the sharp malic acid in grapes is converted to softer lactic acid.  As a result the wine tastes less crisp and more creamy.  All red wines go through malolactic fermentation, but white wines are a different story.  The winemaker decides whether she wants a “softer” or a “crisper” style white wine and if “crisper” is the choice, then the wine is not allowed to go through malolactic fermentation.  However, Susan, the winemaker at Shadow Run Vineyards, wants softer for most of the whites.  The reason the barrels are in the tasting room is that the malolactic fermentation prefers temperatures above 60 degrees (F) and their barrel storage room is too cold.

Visit the Shadow Run Vineyard You Tube Channel and join Aaron Hunt, Susan and Les Evans for a behind the scenes look at life in Paso Robles Wine Country.


So is it Primitivo or Zinfandel?

So is it Primitivo or Zinfandel?  And who really cares anyway?

At August Ridge we make Primitivo as part of our focus on the traditional Italian varietals.  Primitivo is a confusing wine for many people – until you taste it!  Let go of the confusion and just enjoy what is both a familiar and a different experience.  Then the questions will start coming- they always do…

The story apparently begins nearly five hundred years ago in Split, Dalmatia (now Croatia) with a traditional variety known locally as Tribidrag.  Through different mechanisms of chance and intent, that variety, or a version of it, came to rest in Puglia (the heel of the boot of Italy) in the 1700’s and in California sometime in the 1840’s.

For the romantic there are all sorts of wonderful stories of French Monks bringing Primitivo to Italy from France for the founding of a Benedictine monastery at Gioia del Colle in the Murge during the 18th century or of a Hungarian aristocrat ‘Colonel’ Haraszthy bringing Zinfandel vines back from Europe as part of his efforts to promote the California wine industry and his fledgling Buena Vista winery in Sonoma.  Unfortunately we find that modern research again has taken the delight from folk tales by bringing clarity when it is not needed!  It appears that the Priest in Puglia (which is an area of busy ports for the Mediterranean trade and only a short trip from Dalmatia) selected a well-known variety that was primitivo or early ripening.  And Primitivo is indeed a clone that tends to ripen two to four weeks earlier than Californian Zinfandel.  Not too many years later in 1829 and across the Atlantic a Long Island nurseryman, George Gibbs, received a shipment of cuttings from the Austrian Imperial Nursery that included the Black Zinfardel  from Hungary (then part of the Austrian empire) which he promoted as a table grape and of which we have record of being made into wine by the mid 1840’s.

Then disaster strikes.  Croatia which had a deep and respected wine culture was hit by the dreaded phyloxera which essentially wiped out almost all trace of their previous vinicultural glory.  And thusly Primitivo and Zinfandel became known as different varieties of grape with only rumors of a below-stairs connection whispered by gossips and malcontents.

This all came to an end in 1993 through research led by Professor Carole Meredith of UC Davis (and to be fair, there were others involved…) when she used DNA fingerprinting to connect Primitivo and Zinfandel as different clones of the same variety.  She then went on to trace Primitivo and Zinfandel to a very few vines found only in Kaštel Novi and known as Crljenak Kaštelanski that appear to be the variety still in its original home.  And that is a very short summary of over twenty years’ worth of work.

All very well and good, I hear you say.  What’s it to me?  What does the wine taste like?  That is a very good question and quickly and simply answered.  Primitivo – known at August Ridge as Zinfandel’s sexy Italian cousin – tends towards the peppery and spicy with the fruit and floral playing a lesser role.  In Primitivo the fruit flavors tend towards the darker with blackberry predominant.  This compares with the strawberry/raspberry of Zinfandel that leads the nose and palate into a less dominant pepper and spice structure.  Primitivo is Zinfandel upside down!  Oh, and they both make good dessert wines.

Food pairing is the same: simply grilled meats, simple pizza pies, nuts and cured meats.  But watch the sweet BBQ sauces!  Pairing sweet and fruity is tricky so don’t do it for guests unless you have tried it at home first.

August Ridge Primitivo 2013

And now you have it and now, perhaps, you care.  Enjoy your August Ridge Primitivo and smile knowingly as your guests respond with delight at the unusual spicy complexity and tuck into another rack of those twelve hour smoked ribs on offer.

If you really want to talk about this more come by the winery and see me at any time…

John Backer

Winemaker

August Ridge Vineyards

 

Note: BRW member winery, Still Waters Vineyards, also produces a Primitivo. Try both and compare the differences and similarities.


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

Clafoutis

Ingredients:   

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

 

Ingredients

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
Directions

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.

 

Empanadas

Ingredients

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)
Directions

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.

ARROSTICINI

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

Arrosticini

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!


Hansen Vineyards – Bourbon Glazed Pork Chops with Cabernet Sauvignon

by Marina Dawson, Hansen Vineyards
 

Hansen Vineyards, producers of fine Cabernet Sauvignon from Paso Robles, shares a recipe and wine pairing.

If you have visited Hansen Vineyards, then you have become familiar with Bruce Hansen and his award winning wines. He is most known for his sarcastic personality and some of the most delicious Cabernet Sauvignon in the state. You would never know that Bruce is a patient man until you start talking to him about how he makes his wine. By using only top quality French barrels, he is able to just let his wine age to perfection, sometimes up to four years, without touching it until he is ready to bottle. This creates a wonderfully complex, yet simple body to the wine with the smoothest finish. One of my favorite questions I love to hear asked in the tasting room is, “What food do you pair with your wines?”. Since Cabernet Sauvignon is typically such a big wine, it is more often paired with hearty red meat based dishes including steak, roasts and ribs. Although, depending on the flavors and textures of the wine, you may often see it paired with pork, chicken, or lamb dishes. Being that I love to cook and try new recipes, I wanted to pair the Hansen Vineyards 2010 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon with one of my family’s favorite dishes around the holidays because it is hearty and tasty – something a bit different from a traditional steak. The 2010 Reserve is a beautifully complex and simple wine, that has quite a lot of flavors that mesh together and become smooth as velvet. There are dark cherry and spicy earthy notes to it with hardly any harsh acidity, which is why I chose to pair it with Bourbon Glazed Double-cut Pork Chops with roasted herb potatoes. There are so many flavors in this dish that go perfectly with the wine and it is great any time of year. Pepper, sweet, savory… I hope you all enjoy it as much as we do!

Hansen Vineyards - Double Glazed Pork Chops with Cabernet Sauvignon

Bourbon Glazed Double Cut Pork Chops with Roasted Herb Potatoes

Ingredients For the Pork:

Kosher salt
1/4 cup coarsely ground black pepper
2 tablespoons packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons smoked paprika
4 double-cut pork loin chops (about 1 pound each)
Olive oil, for the grill
Ingredients For the Sauce:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
8 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup apple cider vinegar
3/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1 1/4 cups ketchup
1 1/4 cups apple juice
1 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup bourbon
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Kosher salt and freshly ground
black pepper to taste (I like to add a little more pepper personally)

Prepare the pork: Mix 2 tablespoons salt, the black pepper, brown sugar and paprika in a bowl, then rub all over the chops. Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate 2 to 4 hours, up to 2 days.

Meanwhile, make the sauce: Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, then add the garlic. Stir in the vinegar and brown sugar until dissolved. Add the ketchup, apple juice, syrup, bourbon, Worcestershire sauce, cayenne, 1 tablespoon salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender or in a regular blender. (The recipe makes a lot of sauce, so you can store it in the fridge for later use).

Preheat a grill to medium. Brush the grates with olive oil, then place the chops directly over the flame and grill until marked and cooked halfway through, about 15 minutes. Turn the chops and place on a cooler area of the grill (such as the edges); cover and cook until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part registers 140 degrees F to 145 degrees F, 15 to 20 minutes. Uncover and brush the chops on all sides with the prepared sauce, then cover and cook until glazed, about 5 more minutes. Transfer to a cutting board and brush with more sauce. Tent with foil and let rest 10 minutes. Serve with more sauce.

For the potatoes:
4-8 small red potatoes, washed and cut in half
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
1/4 teaspoon rosemary
1/4 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon oregano
1 stick of rosemary

Place the cut potatoes into a ziploc bag. Combine the herbs and add them to the potaoes, then shake the potatoes until they are covered in the herbs. Place the potatoes into the skillet with the butter, add the stick of rosemary, cover, and cook until the potatoes are slightly soft, about 20 minutes.


Holiday Dinner from Paso Robles Wine Country

Sundance B&B Chef Alma teams with Mike James of Hidden Oak Winery, Paso Robles, for two delicious recipes for your holiday dinner…or anytime.   

by Chef Alma Ayon of Sundance Bed and Breakfast, Paso Robles, California
 
Hidden Oak Winery Wine-Paso Robles, California
 
During the year and a half we were preparing Sundance Bed and Breakfast for its grand opening in Paso Robles, California, in July 2013, my husband Neil and I would try to visit two to four wineries each Sunday afternoon. Now that we live in Paso Robles, I thought, I’m going to try every varietal that’s grown here. I was not a big fan of Merlot, I must confess. When the movie Sideways came out, the line “I’m not drinking any f…ing Merlot” became a catch-phrase for me! But then we went to Hidden Oak Winery and their Estate Merlot was one of the wines on the tasting menu. I tried it. I loved it. And now here I am cooking with it!

Recently we got together again with Mike James, the Owner and Winemaker at Hidden Oak, to discuss which wine he wanted to feature in the Back Roads food blog. Petite Sirah was the one he chose. But his Merlot had changed my mind about Merlot and so it had a special place for me!  I suggested doing two recipes, one for each wine: Rack of Lamb with Pomegranate Merlot Sauce and Flourless Chocolate Cake with Petite Sirah Black Cherry-Berry Compote. I hope you enjoy making them as much as I enjoyed putting them together!

Alma and Neil of Sundance B&B and Mike James of Hidden Oak Winery-Paso Robles, California

The Hidden Oak way…

The philosophy of winemaking at Hidden Oak Winery is a bit different. Mike specifically aims for the wines to be “ready to drink” as soon as the cork is popped. To achieve that, the wine must barrel age until ready. This could take 3, 4 or even 5 years before it is deemed ready for bottling. This method allows the wine to be much smoother and drinkable.

Hidden Oak 2010 Merlot Notes:

The Hidden Oak 2010 Merlot is 100% Estate grown.  There’s a reason this wine is a perennial medal winner.  The wonderful aromas of vanilla, black cherry and raspberry on the nose become well-balanced flavors on the palate. The soft tannins and long finish of this elegant wine ensure a pleasurable experience.

LAMB CHOPS WITH POMEGRANATE MERLOT SAUCE

Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Merlot Sauce - Paso Robles

Ingredients:

1 rack of lamb with 8 rib chops

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

1/4 cup minced shallot (about 1 large)

1/2 cup pomegranate juice (such as Pom brand)

1/4 cup Hidden Oak Merlot

1/4 cup homemade or low-salt chicken broth

1-1/2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, finely chopped

1/2 Tbs. honey

2 Tbs. cold unsalted butter, cut into small cubes

Pomegranate seeds (optional)

Rosemary sprigs (optional)

Preparation:

Liberally season the rack of lamb with salt and pepper on both sides. Heat the olive oil in a 12-inch sauté pan over medium-high heat until very hot. Sear the rack of lamb until well browned on both sides, about 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a sheet and finish cooking in the oven until internal temperature reaches 125˚ for rare, and 135˚ for medium rare. Let rest for 5-10 minutes. In the meantime, pour off and discard all but about 1 or 2 Tbs. fat from the pan. Add the shallots to the pan and cook, stirring constantly, until browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the pomegranate juice, wine, chicken broth, vinegar, thyme, and honey and cook, stirring, until the liquid is reduced by half, 3 to 5 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium low and swirl in the butter until it melts. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper. Sliced the rack into 8 chops and serve with mashed potatoes, sautéed French carrots and haricots verts (petite green beans). Drizzle some of the sauce on the chops and garnish with pomegranate seeds, if desired.

Lamb Chops with Pomegranate Merlot Sauce - Paso Robles

Hidden Oak 2010 Petite Sirah Notes:

Here is another award-winner from Hidden Oak!  Check out the deep, rich color.  This full-bodied wine is bursting with aromas of dark cherry, blackberries and cassis.  The earthy spices envelop the flavors, adding layers of complexity.  Velvety tannins swirl about on the palate to a long, sensuous finish, giving way to wisps of cocoa and vanilla.

FLOURLESS CHOCOLATE CAKE WITH PETITE SIRAH BLACK CHERRY-BERRY COMPOTE 

Flourless Chocolate Cake with Petite Sirah Sauce - Paso Robles, California

Ingredients:

5 ounces dark chocolate, chopped

5 ounces butter, cubed

5 eggs, separated

3 ounces granulated sugar

For the compote:

1 bag (16 oz) frozen berries (cherry berry mix from Trader Joe’s is great), defrosted

2 Tbs. brown sugar

3 ounces of Hidden Oak Petite Sirah

Preparation:

Place a six-mold mini cake pan (with removable bottoms) on a half sheet. Spray the inside of the molds with baking spray. Set aside. Combine chocolate and butter in a bowl. Place over a saucepan with simmering water and gently melt them together. In a separate bowl, whisk the egg yolks and 1½ ounces of sugar together until well combined. Whisk in the chocolate mixture and set aside. In a mixer bowl fitted with a whisk attachment, whisk egg whites until foamy. Drizzle in the remaining 1½ ounces of sugar and which on medium speed until all of the sugar is incorporated and the whites form soft, glossy peaks. Gently fold whites into the chocolate mixture. Pour into the mini molds and bake at 350˚ for about 15-20 minutes. When ready the cakes should start to crack on top, but still wobble in the center. Remove from the oven and let cool completely on a rack.

Using a heavy bottom stainless steel pot on medium high heat, cook together defrosted berries, (including juices), petite sirah, and brown sugar until the mixture starts to bubble. Lower the flame to medium heat and continue to cook until a syrupy consistence is achieved, about 10-15 minutes, making sure the berries are still whole. Separate and cool 1/3 cup of the cooked berries and blend at high speed to puree. Strain the puree and add it to the cooked berry mixture. This will thicken and add more body to the sauce. Loosen the sides of the mini cakes with a pairing knife and push out from the bottom to remove each cake. Place cake in the center of a white place and spoon the compote around. Serve with vanilla ice cream. And please, do have a glass of the fabulous Hidden Oak Petite Sirah with this dessert. They are a perfect pair!

Hidden Oak Winery Petite Sirah with Flourless Chocolate Cake-Paso Robles, California