Lovelies, today is the start of a collaboration between my friend Kate of Hot Tea and Cold Feet and myself. Kate is a real life friend who has recently been branching into blogging (which has been so fun!). A few weeks ago, while hanging out, Kate + I were discussing the book Bread + Wine, which lead to the discussion of wine, and then led to discussing how I love the smell of wine but can't appreciate the bitterness of anything beyond a Moscato. Kate (who has had some level of wine training and appreciates dark wines) offered to take me on a journey that would hopefully result in me learning to appreciate darker wines, too.
Out of this discussion a collaboration was born! On the first Wednesday of each month Kate + I (each in our own ways, on our own blogs) are going to take you on a journey from sweet to dark wines. We will pair each wine with a recipe that compliments the flavor of the wine and share our thoughts here with you. We're calling it "Wine Wednesday in PJs" because it's about wine on a Wednesday and we both cooked in our pjs. Haha. You can journey along with us in order if you want to learn to appreciate darker wines, or you can jump in wherever you want. Consider these a ready made date night meal plan!
First, let's discuss the wine we chose. Since white wines are a little less expensive, we decided to go with two bottles at slightly different price points this month. Gewurztraminer is an aromatic wine grape which performs best in cooler climates. It has a high natural sugar, which makes it a great first step for those who have trouble with more bitter wines.
Chateau Ste. Michelle (around $10) had the aroma and taste of stone fruits (similar to apricots), floral notes similar to honeysuckles, a crisp bite at the end similar to fresh grapes when you bite into the skin. I, personally, enjoyed this one the most out of the two we tried.
Wolfberger (around $20) had an elderberry aroma (similar to St. Germain, if you're familiar with that mixer). The wine was sweet and developed into a spicy taste almost like pepper. Since this wine was more expensive (and higher quality) the "plastic" taste most fine wines have notes of was much more evident. That is probably why, though I enjoyed the elderberry aroma, this wine was not my favorite of the two.
For the food pairing, we decided to go with something spicy to compliment the sweet notes of the wines. The recipe we settled on is a modified version of the Mango Chicken Curry in Bread + Wine.
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
6 chicken breasts, diced
2-4 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped (We may have added more. Kate + I like garlic.)
1 tbsp ginger paste
1 red bell pepper, chopped
4 c chicken broth
2 roma tomatos
2 mangos, pitted + diced
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
3 tbsp fresh cilanto, chopped
3 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
Rice to serve over
Step One. Do all your food prep. This recipe calls for a lot of chopping. For best time management, we found that prepping everything first worked best.
Step Two. Mix curry, salt + cayenne pepper.
Step Three. Toss chicken in the mixture.
Step Four. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil to your pan and cook the chicken on medium heat until all sides are cooked. (This is where recipes would normally say "browned", but since we didn't use flower to aid in the browning, and we didn't want to dry the chicken out, we're not using that term. ;) If you want to add flour, you can add up to 1/4 cup.)
Step Five. Set the chicken aside and, in a separate pan, add another 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil. In this pan cook the garlic, red onion, ginger, and red pepper. Once the onion is golden, add your chicken to this mixture and keep cooking.
Step Six. Add the chicken broth to the mixture.
Step Seven. Cook at a simmer until the broth has reduced by 1/4. This is a great time to put your rice on the stove, since the reducing can take a while and you want the rice to be warm when you're ready to serve.)
Step Eight. Once the broth has reduced, add the tomatoes and mangos. Let the mixture simmer until everything is heated through.
Step Nine. Remove from the heat and add the lime juice, cilantro, and basil.
Step Ten. ENJOY!
We really enjoyed the way the spicy flavor of this dish paired with the sweet and acidic combination of the wine. I would definitely enjoy this combination again! If you're not a wine drinker, this meal also pairs well with an orange slices + water combo. The sweetness of the orange with the bitterness of the orange rind in water had a similar effect to the wine.
Have you ever tried Gewurztraminer? Are there any wines that you love and recommend or pairings you think we should try? We'd love to know!
P.S. You should definitely head over to Kate's blog and read her thoughts about the wines and the pairing! The way she describes food is always amazing!
P.S. If you try our pairing, the recipe, or the wines themselves, we'd love for you to share your thoughts on Instagram with #WineWednesdaysInPJs! We both love connecting with people on Instagram; you can find Kate: @_mrskateharris and me: @paperswallowevents.