Food and wine pairings from Paso Robles wine country.
Just a short 3 and a half hour drive north of Los Angeles lies the tranquil Paso Robles wine region. But don’t let the laid back feel of the area deceive you. Not only has Paso Robles solidly established its place as one of the premier wine grape growing regions of California, but it has developed a food scene to go along with all that wonderful wine. Exciting restaurants fill the downtown area with more opening on a regular basis. Farm to table dinners are now a mainstay at many of the local wineries, pairing locally grown and produced food with the area’s rhones, zins and cabs. Brigit Binns, renowned cookbook author has opened a cooking school and Lisa Pretty, winemaker, writer, foodie and author, has written two cookbooks focusing on the pairing of simple delicious recipes with the wines from the region. “eat this with …Paso Robles Wine “- volumes 1 and 2, feature recipes from local wineries, chefs, caterers and Lisa herself with a selection of wine pairing options. This is “no brainer” wine and food pairing for any home cook, that will make you the the star of your dinner parties and weeknight family meals.
Since I usually have a fair amount of Paso Robles wines on hand, I’ve begun to work my way through LIsa’s recipes and wine pairings and I figured I’d share some of them with you here on my blog.
Nothing says weeknight comfort food like meatloaf and macaroni and cheese. Lisa’s recipe in Volume 2, p. 118 for Turkey Loaf was my choice for last night’s dinner, as I already had most of the ingredients on hand. (No marketing is always a good thing after a busy day at the computer). This recipe features plenty of veggies in the mix for extra flavor and moistness. As for sides – I made mac ‘n’ cheese with Boursin and asiago, and hericot vert, cooked crisp tender with just a sprinkling of salt, pepper and thyme. Lisa suggested 7 possible wine choices from rosé to cabernet franc, but as it is Merlot Month, I went with the J. Lohr Merlot – 2012.
The turkey loaf turned out to be easy to make and really good – I’d definitely make it again. The wine, which I’d never had before, was also a winner. A complex nose of cedar, black pepper, cinnamon and dried strawberries – hints of tobacco and blueberry on the palate – a medium bodied wine with a very satisfying well rounded finish. (As a side note, J. Lohr Vineyards and Wines is celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year!)
I’m including the recipe below, but I think you might want to get your own copy of these books so you have all these great food and wine pairings on hand for any occasion. They’d make great gifts for the foodies on your holiday shopping list too.
TURKEY LOAF by Lisa Pretty
- 1 T olive oil
- 1 cup finely chopped onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup grated carrots ( I used purple and orange- added great color)
- 1 cup finely chopped celery ( I didn’t have celery, so I substituted orange bell peppers)
- 1 cup vegetable stock ( I used chicken)
- 1 T tomato paste
- 1 tsp ddried thyme
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley (I substituted 1 T. dried basil)
- 1 T. Worcestershire sauce]
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 2 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (I used french bread crumbs)
- 1/3 cup tomato based chili sauce ( I used 1/3 cup of catsup mixed with about 2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce)
Pre-heat oven to 350F
Heat olive oil in a medium frying pan. Add onions and garlic, sauté for 3 minutes. Add carrots and celery then sauté for an additional 3 minutes. Add stock and bring to a boil. Stir in tomato paste, thyme, parsley, Worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
In a large bowl mix ground turkey,eggs and bread crumbs. Stir in the vegetable mixture and a little salt and pack into a non-stick loaf pan.
Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven and top with chili sauce. Return to oven and bake for an additional 30 minutes.
I’LL DRINK TO THAT!