Pairing of the Day: November 29-December 3, 2010
"Designer soups," as Jordon Carroll calls chef-inspired pureed soups, often have lots of added butter and cream. She prefers old-fashioned ones like this mushroom-barley, which gets its flavor from good-quality beef stock.
Pairing: Light-bodied, fruity Beaujolais: 2008 Château Thivin Côte de Brouilly.
Pork-and-Pineapple Fried Rice
Most restaurants make pork fried rice with generic pieces of barbecued meat; Andrew Carmellini uses both seared ground pork and sweet, aromatic Chinese sausage in his playful version. As an alternative to Chinese sausage—which is now available at many Costco stores—substitute thick matchsticks of lean maple-cured bacon.
Pairing: Rich, orange-scented Gewürztraminer: 2008 Handley.
Slow Cooker Ham Hock and Chickpea Stew
F&W's Marcia Kiesel credits split pea soup, one of her favorites, as the inspiration for this hearty stew. Like split peas, chickpeas need to simmer for a long time, making them great for a slow cooker.
Pairing: Rich white Rhône blend: 2008 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel Blanc.
Chicken Baked on a Bed of Bread and Swiss Chard
This one-pot dish was inspired by chef Judy Rodgers's famous wood-fired roasted chicken at Zuni Café in San Francisco. Rodgers serves the chicken over bread and a salad, but Melissa Perello goes further and cooks the chicken over croutons tossed with greens, capers and golden raisins.
Pairing: Ripe, full-bodied Chardonnay: 2008 Estancia Monterey County.
Casserole-Baked Halibut with Leeks and Carrots
"Halibut is one fish that roasts up really nicely," says Melissa Perello, who cooks the firm-fleshed fish on top of vegetables in a casserole. Because this dish is so simple and ingredient-driven, be sure to make it with the very best olive oil.
Pairing: Minerally, savory white Burgundy: 2008 Domaine Roulot Bourgogne Blanc.