Thursday, January 24, 2008

Time for Winter Whites and Comfort Food

Winter weather is a great excuse to cook. The oven gets your house warmer and who doesn't love comfort food in the winter. It was Sunday and there were 2 NFL Football playoffs on... I figured it was time to roast a chicken and make Portabella Mushroom Lasagna. Of course I needed a wine...

St Francis 2005 Behler Reserve Chardonnay ($26)
We first had this wine during our reserve wine & food pairing for two at St Francis. The pairing of this wine with the Mt Tam and La Tur cheeses was sublime. This Chardonnay was barrel fermented and went through malolactic fermentation. The Behler estate that provides most of the fruit for this bottling was named in honor of the Behler Family who cultivated the vineyard back in the 1900's. It became St Francis's original estate in 1971.

Tasting Notes:
Color: Pale Golden
Nose: Floral notes akin to gardenia and honeysuckle and green apple. Not as tropical as the first time I had it.
Taste: Crisp green apple, a touch of creamy vanilla and well rounded. Being a barrel fermented Chard, this wine had a fuller body that paired great with the Roast Chicken and the Portabella Mushroom Lasagna. Just enough oak influence to impart some more texture and roundedness without blighting out the varietal. It was heavenly with this meal.

Recipe for Roast Chicken

  • Get a whole Chicken
  • Get your husband to rinse him and get rid of the neck:)
  • Pat the chicken dry inside and out ( this makes a huge difference in flavor)
  • Place in a glass dish and season inside and out with Northwoods Seasoning, garlic salt, and fresh ground tellicherry pepper.
  • Cut a whole garlic in half and place(shove) inside the chicken
  • Roast Chicken at 425 for 1hr -1.5 hrs or till internal temp is 170. In this case I roasted at 425 for about 30 mins and then turned it down to 375 to cook the lasagna with the bird.
  • Remove chicken from Roasting rack
  • Make Gravy with browned bits.
  • Make use of the DVR to pause the game to ensure good gravy
  • Add chicken broth & some of the white wine and a diced shallot to the pan and let it come to a simmer while scraping the browned bits off the pan. Add 1 tbs flour and Add 1- 2 tablespoons of butter, add a bit more flour if its not thickening. Stir whole time :) Salt and pepper to taste.
Modifications to Barefoot Contessa Recipe:
  • I mixed shitake and baby portabella's and sauteed them with a clove of diced garlic.
  • I used 2% milk instead of whole and it was still very good.
This made Monday nights dinner easy (leftovers) & we got to pair it with a different wine. The J Wilkes Pinot Blanc, while good with the chicken, paired much better with the portabella lasagna. This Pinot Blanc was more crisp since it was fermented in stainless steel. It went great with the Parmesan in the lasagna.

The J Wilkes 2006 Pinot Blanc ( $18) had really changed quite a bit since the last time I had it. Instead of tasting Meyer lemon, it was now showing softer more complex tropical tones. I tasted mango, guava, cantaloupe and floral notes. The wine also opened up more on the nose and had a ton of floral and spicy notes. I have enjoyed watching this wine evolve.
Disclosure: I worked with Jeff Wilkes for the 2006 & 2007 harvest and have fond memories of tasting this wine while it was still fermenting.
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Anonymous said...

425 sounds kinda harsh for the poor bird, and I would generally add the flour to oil to prevent lumping, but overall spot on!

SB Wine Advocate said...

I did in this case have to turn it down to 375 so I could cook the lasagna with it. But I find my oven doesn't brown the chicken unless I crank it up. Might just be my oven. This birdy was a bit lean on fat in the oil so I had cheat with butter but yes I agree. I've found I can cheat and not get lumps by this lazy method

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