Comfort Food – Comfort Wine!

Every once in a while, I get writer’s block.  For the past 3 years, I have consistently wrote a wine blog on Saturday mornings, and I never want to skip a Saturday, because I really appreciate the people who tell me that they enjoy sitting with a cup of coffee and reading the blog.  So a big thank you to my friend Lisa Peach Butt, who gave me the idea behind this week’s blog.  I put it out on the Wine – In My Opinion Facebook page (shameless plug here – and she told me one of the things she’d like to know is which wine to serve with which food.

And since most of Canada and much of the United States is in the middle of a polar vortex, and we are having one of the worst winters in a few years…. I thought back on the food I’ve been cooking and eating these past couple of weeks.  I’m not only going to write on  Comfort food, and which wine goes best with your favorite comfort foods, but I’m going to share some of my favorite comfort food recipes.

This is what I had last night, with some honey roasted potatoes.   It’s a Spicy Honey Chicken.  Simple and easy to make.   Combine honey, paprika, garlic, cayenne pepper, vinegar, (I used balsamic), chili powder and some salt and pepper.   I added some Frank’s Hot Sauce, because I like spicy food, but it wasn’t in the recipe.   Mix it all together, and pour it over your favorite chicken.  Last night I used thighs.  Bake it in the oven till the chicken is done, or you can do what I did, and take advantage of +1 degree weather, and BBQ’d it.  I used an aluminum foil pan from the dollar store, and did it on the grill.


And this is the wine I had with it.   A brand new Pinot Noir I tried from the Marlborough region of New Zealand.  And it didn’t disappoint.  Winemaker Brent Marris created a beauty with the perfect amount of acidity and a light touch of oak that came in under $20.  Any Pinot Noir will do because the soft vibrant flavors of the wine don’t compete with the taste of the dish, and even a nice Zinfandel.   Pictured is one of my favorites, 7 Deadly Zins, which I always have in my wine rack.   For my white wine loving friends, because of the spiciness of the chicken, a crisp Sauvignon Blanc or a Pinot Grigio.  You can go with Chardonnay for a chicken dish, but the spiciness of this particular dish, I think, pairs well with something a little more crisp.    Here are a couple of my favorites, which come in around the $20 mark here in Canada.  The Sauvignon Blanc is from New Zealand, and the Pinot Grigio is from Italy.  Both wines are light and crisp won’t overpower the chicken, but compliment it.


Also this past week, I made Bowtie Chicken Alfredo Pasta.  You know, the weight scale wouldn’t groan as much as it does, if there wasn’t decadent delicious foods like this pasta dish.

I know…. right?  Mercy, it was good.  I got this from a website called ‘The Pioneer Woman’.  Ree Drummond is my hero.  She can cook like no man’s tomorrow.  She has a show on the Food Network and a wonderful website.  What I like most about the website, The Pioneer Woman, is that she breaks down the recipes step by step, and shows pictures along the way.  Here is the link to the recipe for Bowtie Chicken Alfredo.  The only thing I added, because with the heavy cream and real butter I was worried  it may not have had enough calories, (groan!)  I added real bacon bits.  I cooked a couple of strips of maple infused bacon, and made bacon bits.


This dish has ‘have a glass of wine with me‘ written all over it.   A Chardonnay would go hand in hand beautifully.  The rich creaminess of a nice Chardonnay would compliment the rich creaminess of the pasta dish.  Here are a couple of my favorites.  One comes in under $20, the other… ah, not so much.
Red wine also goes beautifully with the Bowtie Chicken Alfredo.  So many red wines.  because of the richness of the dish, a nice smoky Merlot or a nice Cote du Rhone from France, or a GSM, which is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre.   Here are a couple of my favorites.  The Velvet Devil Merlot is from Washington State and is under $20, and the Cote du Rhone is from France.  (bet you guessed that one) and it comes in under $15 – and a great value.  The GSM is from the U.S.A and is about $21 here.
Another big dish this week I think many people enjoyed, was Shepherd’s Pie.  Nothing says comfort food like Shepherd’s Pie.  Ok, maybe for some homemade Mac and Cheese.  But for me, its pasta and/or Shepherd’s Pie.   Or how about a nice beef stew… yeah!
Any dish with all this meat, gravy, potatoes and veggies, a big bold Cabernet Sauvignon.  There are so many good Cabernet Sauvignon wines that come out of California for under $20. we don’t have the time or the room to talk about them all.  So let’s pick a couple.  You can’t go wrong with Robert Mondavi, he has spent years perfecting Cabernet Sauvignon.  The other one is a Beringer, but really, anything Cabernet Sauvignon would go with Shepherd’s Pie or beef stew.
For all my white wine loving readers, a well-oaked Chardonnay would be perfect.  As well, I have heard of a Viognier.  A Viognier is one of my favorites with turkey.  And I’ve heard for the reason, it can cut through fatty red meat.    And this is my favorite, from Stags Leap.  They make a beautiful Viognier, complex, well-balanced and vibrant.  Me, I still like a red with my beef.
Well that’s it for this week.  I have to go walk off some of this comfort food I’ve been eating.  Enjoy the recipes and enjoy the wine.
Till next week, Cheers



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