Aussie & French Reds Great with Beef Carbonnade

2015-12-18 19.02.38We tried Beef Carbonnade from the Slow Cook Book.  Cubed beef is slow-cooked in a mixture of shallots, seasoning, garlic, sugar, nutmeg, bouquet garni and beer.  We used a can of Hobgoblin.

Slices of French bread spread with Dijon mustard are added halfway through the cooking time. These soak into the pot and enhance the gravy.  Parsley is sprinkled over the top at the end and we served the carbonnade with a jacket potato.  A very enjoyable meal.

We opened a bottle of Prospector Shiraz 2013, a full-bodied Australian red from Naked Wines.  There were blackberry fruits on the nose and the palate delivered a creamy vanilla sweetness and rich, smooth black fruits.  The wine was a very good match with the meal.

We enjoyed the leftovers of this carbonnade with a bottle of Reserve de Pierre 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red also from Naked Wines.  This blend of Grenache and Syrah displayed nice legs in the glass, a red berry creamy sweetness and a smooth finish with a hint of spice.  Another very good match.

A Southern French Red is Excellent with Delia’s Pork Chops with Mushrooms & Crème fraîche

In the tasting notes that came with Domaine de l’Arjolle Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2012, the Wine Society suggested it would make a perfect pairing with Delia’s Pork Chops Baked with Wild Mushrooms and Crème fraîche, a recipe we have tried before.

Pork chops are fried in butter and cooked with dried porcini mushrooms, Crème fraîche, fresh thyme, open-cap mushrooms, lemon juice, flour and salt and pepper.  We served with grilled courgettes and croquette potatoes.

The medium-bodied Southern French red blend displayed red fruits on the nose, vanilla sweetness, red berries and cherries with a nice acidity on the finish.  We agree with the Wine Society that the wine is an excellent match with Delia’s pork chop recipe.2015-07-08 19.43.14

See here for a previous pairing with this wine.

A Southern French Red Works Well with Wolf Berner Sausages

We bought some Wolf Berner Sausages from Costco. These are frankfurter-style sausages stuffed with Emmental cheese and wrapped in bacon. We decided to grill them on the barbecue and serve with a potato salad, corn on the cob and pickled gherkins.

The sausages were alright, but a bit salty for us. We also didn’t detect much cheese.

We paired the meal with a bottle of La Rectorie Côtes du Vivarais 2013, a medium-bodied Southern French red blend from Waitrose.2015-06-10 18.36.28

The wine had a perfumed nose, with red fruit flavours and a slightly spicy finish. An easy drinking wine that was a good match with the food.

A Lovely Southern French Red is Very Good with Pork Stroganoff

A few weeks ago we cooked a pleasant Pork Stroganoff recipe, which was one of three we discovered online.

This one is by Jo Pratt and we found it here on the Lifestylefood website.

It combines pork loin steaks with onion, chestnut mushrooms, cayenne pepper, paprika, brandy, Dijon mustard, creme fraiche, water, lemon juice and parsley.  The recipe leaves the steaks whole and the sauce is poured over, but for a Stroganoff we prefer the meat cut into strips, cooked and then mixed with the sauce.  We served with boiled rice and thought this recipe tastier than the last one.

We noted that the Wine Society recommend their Domaine de l’Arjolle Merlot/ Cabernet Sauvignon 2012 with Delia’s Pork Chops with Wild Mushrooms and Creme Fraiche, a recipe we have tried previously and enjoyed. We thought the wine would go equally well with the Stroganoff, so opened a bottle.

This medium-bodied Southern French red displayed nice legs in the glass and we tasted red and black fruits, particularly spicy cherries and also some vanilla sweetness.2015-02-06 18.24.59

A lovely wine that was a very good match with the meal.

A Minervois is Very Good with a Minced Beef and Root Vegetable Stew

2014-11-06 18.01.45We enjoyed a home-made warming beef stew that was perfect for a November evening.

We cooked minced beef with carrots, turnip, swedes, potatoes, onion, beef stock , bouquet garni, bay leaves and basil.

Lighter stews like this often pair well with medium-bodied French reds and so we opened a bottle of Benjamin Darnault Minervois 2012, a southern French red blend of Grenache and Syrah from Naked Wines.

We enjoyed the wine’s red fruits and a slight sweetness that had an affinity with the root vegetables.  There was also a little spiciness on the finish.

We thought the wine was a very good match with the stew.

French Preferred to Spanish Red with a Navarin of Lamb

IMG_0608We had a family meal and cooked Navarin of Lamb from the Slow Cook Book.

This springtime stew contains cubed lamb, baby onions, tomato puree, ground cloves, bouquet garni, stock, small new potatoes, turnips, tomatoes, baby carrots, french beans and a parsley garnish.  To be honest we have tasted better Lamb Navarin recipes.  This one was a bit bland for us.

We paired two red wines with this dish.  First, The Society’s Corbières 2012, a full-bodied Southern French red blend of Carignan and Grenache from the Wine Society.  We tasted strawberry fruits and a sweetness that had an affinity with the turnips and carrots.  We found the finish smooth.  A good match.

Second up was a bottle of Campo Viejo Rioja Reserva 2008, a medium-bodied Spanish red from Costco.  The wine is a blend of Tempranillo, Graciano and Mazuelo and the black fruits and chocolatey edge were also good with the stew.   However, we all thought the Corbières was the better match.

A Southern French Red is Good with a Simple Beef Stew

Nautical Stew from Supercook might sound like a fish recipe, but it’s a simply-prepared beef stew ideal for those cooking in a yachting galley, or people like me who wanted to cook something with minimal preparation while the wife was away.

Stewing beef is simmered on the hob with onions, paprika, canned tomatoes, baked beans, brandy and fresh sliced red pepper, not tinned as in the recipe.  I served it with garlic bread.

I opened a bottle of Lidl Minervois 2012, a medium-bodied French red blend of Syrah and Grenache. It was juicy with raspberry and blackcurrant fruits and someIMG_0597 spiciness.  A good match with the meal.

A Southern French Red is Very Good with a Rustic Potato Casserole

IMG_0438 IMG_0439We tried Potato Casserole from Supercook.  Whilst its name might suggest otherwise, this is not a vegetarian recipe.

It contains shallots, celery, garlic, potatoes, carrots, bacon, canned tomatoes, beef stock, paprika, basil and seasoning.  A hearty meal for a cold winter evening served with crusty bread.

We paired it with the bottle of Les Combelles Colombard/Ugni Blanc 2011 set aside previously, but sadly this pleasant wine was not right with this dish.

We switched to a red and opened a bottle of Domaine de Gournier 2012 Cévennes Carignan, a medium-bodied Southern French red from the Wine Society.

The wine had good legs in the glass and we loved its brambly red fruits and sweet vanilla oakiness that had an affinity with the tomatoes in the casserole.  This very good wine was a great match with the meal and this pairing just seemed to improve as the meal progressed.

Finding a Decent Red Wine Pairing with a Slow-Cooked Beef and Barley Stew Proves Difficult

For a warming winter meal we tried Beef with Barley and Mushrooms from the Slow Cook Book.  This is braising steak slow cooked with bouquet garni, beef stock, carrots, celery, mushrooms and pearl barley. We served this with mashed potatoes and crusty bread.

Earthy flavours and we thought the earthiness of a Pinot Noir would fit the bill, so we tried a bottle of Brancott Estate Marlborough Pinot Noir 2011, a medium-bodied New Zealand red from Costco. Nothing wrong with this wine, but it clashed horribly and was quickly set aside.

Next up was a bottle of Chateau Rouquette sur Mer, La Clape 2011, a medium-bodied Lanquedoc red blend IMG_0406IMG_0408from the Wine Society.

This was smooth, rich with red fruits and slightly peppery.  This was also a good wine but it proved no more than an adequate match with the meal.

All in all a disappointing food and wine pairing experience and frankly we found the flavours of the dish somewhat muted.  We will not be doing this one again.

A Rich Corbières is Very Good with Coq au Vin

We cooked Supercook’s Coq au Vin (Chicken Cooked in Red Wine), the world-famous traditional French casserole. The chicken is casseroled with bacon, Cognac, red wine, chicken stock, tomato puree, garlic, bouquet garni, mushrooms and onions.  We served this with mashed potatoes and green beans.

Last time we cooked this recipe we used chorizo instead of the bacon prescribed and the chorizo dominated the flavours. We much prefer the original.

This deserves a decent red wine to accompany it and we opened a bottle of Domaine Baillat Rouge – Corbières 2010, a southern French red from the Wine SocietyIMG_0354.JPG (2).  This rich and full wine is a blend of Syrah, Carignan and Grenache and we found it to be spicy, peppery, with red and black fruits, although the latter predominated. It had a smooth finish and was a very good match with the meal.