Pairing Wine with your Meal
Dinner with wine used to be simple. The rule was white wine with white meat and red wine with red meat. With modern fusion cuisine and wines from new regions around the world, the choices – and confusion – are great. It helps to start with the basic principles of food and wine pairing, as they still provide a good foundation for experimenting with new world cuisines. One of the most important elements to harmonize between wine and food is flavor. Flavor encompasses spices, cooking technique, sauces and type of protein. With that said, Little Raven Vineyards offers a monthly wine and recipe pairing. Our Thanksgiving receipe come courtesy of Cyndee Schaub, our second place winner of our Thanksgiving Recipe Contest.

Cyndee's Moist and Tasty Roasted Thanksgiving Turkey

This recipe and cooking technique always turns out a moist and very tasty bird for Thanksgiving and it is so easy to do.  You can do it unstuffed or stuffed.
You will need:
1 large roasting pan
1 meat thermometer
1 defatter
Remove the turkey from the wrapper.  Wash and pat the turkey dry.
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
1- 20 to 23 pound turkey
1/2 cup unsalted butter- softened to room temperature
1 tablespoon Herbs De Provence
1 tablespoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon thyme
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon white pepper
2 cans unsalted chicken broth or chicken stock
Take dry ingredients (seasoning) and mix together in a small bowl.
In a seperate bowl, mix the 1/2 cup butter with 1/2 the dry seasoning; mix till evenly incorporated.Take the remaining dry seasoning mix and lightly sprinkle  on the entire turkey.  do the top, underside, the drumsticks, wings and both cavities of the bird. Next you will need to stuff the butter mixture betwen the skin and the turkey breast. Start by taking your flat hand and with your fingers begin to wedge your fingers in between the bird and the skin.  try not to poke any holes in the skin.  Push your hnand all the way till your hand reaches all the way to the back of the bird.  Do this to both sides of the turkey.  Take 1 fistfull of butter and stuff each side with butter mixture.  Massage the butter mixture so that it coats each side of the breast evenly.  Take the remaining mixture and do the same to the other side of the turkey and the underside.  Let the bird sit for at least 30 minutes to absorb the seasoning and come to room temperature before baking the bird.
If you plan to stuff the bird, this is the time to do it. You can trussel the bird's legs so they look nice but if you dont have any string, just tuck the wings under so the wings tips are underneath the turkey and use the skin flap on the turkey neck to cover the stuffing cavity.
Bake the turkey for at least 5 hours for a 20 lb bird stuffed or until the temperature on the meat thermometer reads 165 degrees and the bird is golden brown.  If the skin is golden brown but the temperture is not 168 degrees, cover and tent the bird with aluminum foil.
IMPORTANT: EVERY 1-1/2 HOURS, BASTE THE TURKEY WITH THE 2ND CAN OF BROTH. or use the broth that is starting to develope in the roasting pan.  (and if the bird is not cooking evenly brown, turn the roasting pan so the bird gets evenly cooked). When the bird has cooked for at least 3 hours, stick the meat thermometer into the thickest part of the flesh.  *between the breast and the drumstick area but not on or near the bone)  leave the thermometer in. When the bird reaches 168 degrees, its just about ready. REMOVE THE TURKEY FROM THE OVEN.  Let the turkey rest for at least 15-20 minutes before moving it onto a platter.  

Pair the turkey with:

Pine Ridge, Chenin Blanc / Viognier Blend  from Oakville, CA.

Grilled Pork Tenderloin

Marinated in Berry-Cherry Mostarda   
A mostarda is an old Italian concoction, a truly all-purpose product, which can be used as a marinade or reduced and used as sauce for game, chicken, or even fresh fruits. You can make it in the summer when fresh berries are inexpensive or use individually quick frozen fruits.  

The mostarda is a classic mirror for berry and cherry flavors in red wine, and you can adjust the recipe to suit the wine, e.g.: Add more blueberries to link it to Merlot; add more cherries to link it to Cabernet; add more raspberries to link it to Zinfandel.

Prepare the mostarda first. In a medium saucepan, combine the vinegar, wine, sugar, mustard seed, lemon zest, and cinnamon stick and bring to a boil. Remove from the head immediately and stir in the fruit. Cool. The mostarda can be used at this point or it can be stored, covered and refrigerated, indefinitely. If you marinade meats in the mostarda, you can use it again – be sure to bring it to a boil and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes and then cool before reusing.

Once the mostarda is cooled, place the pork tenderloin in a non-reactive bowl or pan and add enough mostarda to just cover. Marinate, covered and refrigerated, for 4 hours overnight, turning the pork occasionally.

Prepare a charcoal fire. Remove the pork from the mostarda and gently pat off any excess marinade. Lightly brush the tenderloin with oil and grill over medium coals until just done, about 10 minutes per side.

If you marinade meats in the mostarda, you can use it again – be sure to bring it to a boil and simmer for 4 to 5 minutes and then cool before reusing.

Reprinted from, From Earth to the Table, by John Ash, Penguin Books, USA 


Select an entrée.

Cooking with Wine

We go to great lengths to match the perfect wine with our favorite dish. We consult a knowledgeable waiter in a restaurant, we talk to our trusted sommelier in our favorite wine shop (like Little Raven Vineyards), we Google it and read books. When food and wine are mentioned together, we usually think of pairing. But what happens when a recipe calls for a cup of dry white wine? There is more to cooking with wine than grabbing a bottle of white that’s been left in the frig for a week.

Intensified Flavors

Wine is a complex beverage and its use in cooking has many implications. The characteristic flavor of a wine is intensified during the cooking process; in other words, as the alcohol evaporates, flavors concentrate. Alcohol evaporates at 178 degrees, well below the boiling point of water. By the time the sauce or dish is done, most of the alcohol will have evaporated and only the flavor of the wine remains. So a fruity wine will concentrate those flavors and give an intense, fruity flavor to the finished dish.

Wine can be used throughout the cooking process. Marinades are a popular starting point. The alcohol and acid in the wine serve to tenderize the meat before cooking. Both act on the tough fibers in meat, effectively "softening" them, so they take less time to cook and develop the succulent rich flavor of braised meat. Tannins also help to break down the toughness of meat.

The most common use of wine is in the making of sauces, either by “deglazing” or “reducing.” The amount of time to spend reducing wine is more dependent on the color of the wine than anything else. White wine needs to be reduced just a small amount, to burn off most of the alcohol. Red wine should be reduced until it is almost gone. Red wine needs more reduction or your food will be ... well, purple. By reducing the color compounds, the result is a deeper, richer red that will blend better with the browns of a rich stock.

Wines are also used at the very end of the cooking process to "finish" the sauce.  Often fortified wines such as Marsala and sherry are added near the completion of the dish so their sweetness and flavor is not overpowering, but the subtle aromas are heightened by the heat of the dish. For the same reason, sherry is added to a cream soup right at the very end.