Tag Archives: Recipe

Rabbit in Mustard Sauce

One of my favorite dishes from France – and I’ve found rabbit in the supermarket here outside Ann Arbor, so I’ll be making this every week or two! Farm-raised rabbit is lean but tender, with a unique flavor and a firm texture. Plus the bones make amazing stock!

20140426_113801Lapin a la Moutarde (Rabbit in Mustard Sauce)

  • 1 rabbit, cleaned and dressed – approx 1.5 to 2 pounds
  • 3 shallots, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 1/4 tsp dried thyme, or 1/2 tsp fresh thyme
  • 3 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white wine (anything *except* oaky Chardonnay)
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 2 Tbsp dijon mustard
  1. Preheat your oven to 350.
  2. Rub the rabbit pieces with salt, pepper, and thyme. Then brown them briefly In the olive oil in a large, heavy casserole, turning to cook all sides.
  3. Add the wine and shallots. Cover and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  4. Remove from the oven, take the rabbit pieces out and cover them. Strain the pot liquid to remove the shallots, and return the liquid to the casserole, placing it on the range top on medium heat.  Using a wooden spoon and a whisk, use the pot liquid to deglaze the sides of the casserole, then add the cream, butter, and mustard. Whisk vigorously to combine and let it thicken slightly.

Serve the rabbit with fried potatoes or roasted vegetables, and nap the meat and sides with the mustard sauce.  Serves 4 – make sure everyone has plenty of napkins, because you’re going to want to use your teeth to get down to the bones!


Evodia Garnacha

One of my favorite old-vine Grenache bottlings from Spain, with loads of pepper and a big, full, finish. This is a great alternative to old-vine Zinfandel or Australian Shiraz blends. I’m drinking this with a spicy pizza – and here’s the recipe!

  • Trader Joe’s fresh pizza dough
  • Trader Joe’s Eggplant-Garlic spread
  • 4-cheese Italian blend
  • Pepperoni
  • Portobello mushrooms, sliced
  • Artichoke hearts, diced
  • Kalamata olives, halved

Photo0367Let the dough warm up at room temperature for about an hour. On a floured board, spread it out with your hands until it’s about 14″ diameter. Transfer to a pizza baking pan (non-stick, with perforations to let the steam). Put on a thin layer of sauce, several handfuls of cheese, and the toppings. Bake in a pre-heated 450º oven for about 25 minutes.

Evodia Garnacha (2010) Calatayud, Spain – $13

Color: lighter than you expect; just like old-vine Zin, this isn’t opaque but rather a dusky reddish-purple.

Aroma: black pepper, white pepper, nutmeg, and dried fruit.

Wine-007Taste: easy-drinking up front, then transitioning to a tougher, spicier, tannic profile the farther back it goes on the tongue. Plenty of spice notes, including some dried red pepper, and good acidity throughout. A great wine for spicy pizza.

Recommended. This is a great example of old-vine Grenache and deserves a place in your cellar. It’s best when it’s 3 to 7 years old.

Recipe: Giardiniera (Italian pickled vegetables)

Whenever I’m at an Italian place that offers an antipasto buffet or salad bar, I look for the giardiniera. It’s that spicy pickled vegetable concoction that usually includes carrots, cauliflower, and green beans, and always has some kind of pepper. I recently finished off a big jar of jalapeños, and thought I’d try to make some giardiniera in the refrigerator. It worked great, and here’s the recipe!


Makes 2 quarts. Prep time 20 minutes. Total time 2 weeks.

  • Jalapeño juice (a half-gallon jar of sliced jalapeños should yield about 1 quart of liquid)
  • 12 oz frozen cut green beans
  • 1/2 head cauliflower, cut into small florets and washed
  • 2 carrots, washed, peeled, and sliced thin
  • 1 bell pepper, washed, cored, and diced
  • White balsamic vinegar to top off (white balsamic is mild and sweet-tart; Trader Joe’s has a good one)
  1. Place all vegetables in the jar of jalapeño juice – pack them in firmly. Top off with vinegar if necessary.
  2. Place in refrigerator.
  3. Shake vigorously once a day, for 2 weeks.
  4. Open and enjoy as a snack or antipasto.

This version is medium-spicy. You can punch it up by adding pepperoncini or cherry peppers. Or you can make it more mild by removing some of the jalapeno juice and adding extra vinegar and a quarter-cup of sugar.







Recipe #2 – basic, everyday, nothing-fancy chili.  You can cook this in as little as an hour, or let it simmer all afternoon.  I make mine medium-spicy; feel free, of course, to adjust as you see fit. I’ll post my recipe for white chili sometime later in the winter – it’s even faster. 

I’ll probably crack open a Zinfandel or Rhone blend to have with this, but that’s hours from now.


Serves 6. Prep time: 30 minutes. Total time: 1 hour, but can be held for up to 3.

  • 2 lb ground or cubed chuck beef (can also use cubed venison, but be careful not to overcook)
  • 3 large onions, coarsely diced
  • 2 cans each light red and dark red kidney beans
  • 1 can each tomato sauce, diced tomatoes, and whole tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup jalapeños
  • 2 Tbsp chili powder
  • 3 cups water
  1. Put the beans, tomatoes, jalapeños, chili powder, and water in a large pot and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
  2. In the meanwhile, saute the meat and onions together in small batches until the meat is browned and the onions have softened. If using venison, use canola oil and only cook until the outside of the cubes are lightly browned. Add each batch of meat and onions to the other ingredients as you finish it.
  3. Cover the pot loosely and cook for at least 30 minutes. Stir and check every 30 minutes to make sure that the temperature isn’t too high, and that there’s enough liquid – I like my chili on the soupy side.

Top with grated sharp cheddar, and serve with cornbread or crackers. 

Pork Pot Roast

I’ve been told by some of my readers that I’m leaving them hanging – I talk about food pairing, but I rarely give the recipes!  Well, I’m going to start addressing that as part of my New Year’s resolutions. Without further ado, here’s my recipe for slow-cooker pork pot roast – served tonight with Black Mountain Pinot Noir.

Slow-Cooker Pork Pot Roast

Makes 4-6 servings. Prep time: 20 minutes. Total time: 6-7 hours

  • 2 lb untrimmed pork butt (that’s net weight – you can use bone-in or boneless)
  • 2 large onions, coarsely diced
  • 3 potatoes, peeled and coarsely diced (use Yukon gold or another small, waxy variety; russet potatoes are too dry and mealy, and will fall apart as you cook them)
  • 1 can diced tomato – the acidity is crucial for tenderizing the meat and breaking down the gelatinous connective tissue
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/2 tsp thyme or herbes de provençe
  1. Place all ingredients in a Crock-Pot or other slow-cooker.  Add 1 cup of water.
  2. Turn on low heat and cook for 2 hours.
  3. Stir gently to get the vegetables under the broth, if necessary.
  4. Continue to cook for 3 more hours. If using bone-in meat, separate the meat and discard the bone.
  5. Cook for 1 more hour and serve with bread and salad.


Recipe: Mahi-Mahi Risotto

This is what I had for dinner the other night with the Chardonnay Horizontal Tasting. I read something along these lines in the last few months, and adapted it to my own tried-and-trusted recipe for risotto.

1 cup Arborio short-grain rice
1/2 pound frozen mahi-mahi
3 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/4 cup olive oil
1 small onion, diced
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
Total cooking time: 45 minutes
Serves 2
Let the fish thaw for 1-1.5 hours at room temp until it is not quite thawed. Having it partially frozen will help keep it intact during cooking.
Start the risotto.  Heat the stock in the microwave or on the stovetop until it’s about 150 degrees.  Put 1 diced onion and 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot and saute on medium heat for 2 minutes, then add the rice and stir vigorously for 1 minute. Then add one fourth of the stock.
Continue to stir; when the liquid is absorbed, add another fourth of the stock and continue to stir.
When the liquid is absorbed, add the fish in 1″ chunks – err on the side of larger chunks. Then add another fourth of the stock, push the fish chunks under the liquid, and wait for 2 minutes – then continue to stir, gently so as not to break up the fish.
When the liquid is absorbed, add the final fourth of the stock and the shredded parmesan cheese. You won’t need as much cheese to finish it off as a normal risotto. Reduce the heat just a bit and stir continuously but gently until it’s at a nice texture. Don’t make it too stiff, as it will continue to cook as you serve it.
Serve with fresh black pepper.  I think a little gremoulade (a mixture of finely diced parsley and grated lemon zest) would be nice on top.
Serve with a light Chardonnay, a white Rhone blend, or Viognier.
The photo below doesn’t do it justice, but it’s a hearty and healthy one-pot meal that’s loaded with protein.




Drinking Tonight: 2 Tempranillos with Pork Stir-Fry

I have 2 inexpensive Tempranillos from Trader Joe’s, to go with my home-made stir-fry and brown rice.  I’ll give you the recipe first, then we can talk wine.

Pork Stir-Fry

You’ll want to saute this in batches over medium heat in canola oil, using a large, deep saute pan – and then combine at the end.

  • Batch 1: 5 carrots, washed and sliced + 2-3 Tbsp ginger, finely diced + 1/2 jalapeno, diced (optional)
  • Batch 2: 2 zucchini and/or yellow squash, seeded and cut into bite-sized chunks + 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • Batch 3: 1/2 head bok choi or similar greens, washed and chopped. Cook this batch only lightly – you want the stems to get soft, but don’t let the leaves wilt.
  • Batch 4: 1 pound pork loin (trimmings are fine) + 2-3 onions, chopped.

After the pork is just browned and the onions are starting to get translucent, add all the other ingredients back in. Then add 1 cup of a marinade or sauce: ginger-soy or teriyaki work well, plus 1/2 cup of water or stock.  Simmer another 10-15 minutes on low, covered, until the flavors have started to blend, and serve over white or brown rice.

I’ve already expressed how much I love Spanish wine – especially Tempranillo – with pork. Today we’ll be trying out Terrenal and Zumaya. Zumaya has the better pedigree, coming from the renowned Ribera del Duero region; hence the price difference.

Terrenal Tempranillo (2010) Yecla, Spain – $6.00

Color: straight garnet red.

Aroma: just a touch musty at first, but that blows off and leaves behind dried fruit notes and a touch of dried floral aromas too – rose petal?

Taste: this is just a touch raisiny; I’ll have to do some research, but I suspect that it was a particularly hot year in Yecla, and they difficulty keeping everything in synch. The mid-palate and finish are pleasantly dusty, and the acidity and tannins are fine. This might be better with smoked or barbequed meat. $6 isn’t a bad price point, but I’ve written about competitors at that range that I think are better-made.


Zumaya Tempranillo (20011) Ribera del Duero, Spain – $11.50

Color: quite dark purple-red; this is very promising.

Aroma: right up front a touch of vanilla from the oak, then dark plummy fruit; some jammy/smoky hints underneath the straight fruit.

Taste: lots of character, with an excellent, rich mouthfeel and a taste profile that goes from tight dried fruit, through jammy fruit, and on to a spicy finish. They really got their money’s worth from the brief barrel aging. A good choice for the garlic-ginger-soy notes in the stir-fry.

This has just 2 months of American oak aging after stainless steel fermentation, so it would be classed as a Joven (young) – they also make a Crianza but I haven’t seen it on the shelves. A nice introduction to this important growing region for under $12 – recommended.