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A ‘Riviera’ Vacation in Your Kitchen: 2010 Abadal Cabernet Franc/Tempranillo and Mediterranean Beef Stew

Hit with two winter storms, 3 feet of snow, children home from school due to ‘snow days’, and a cold wind whipping outside my window, my thoughts turned back to my trip last May to Madrid and the ‘French Riviera.’ Oh how I longed to be basking in the warmth, the beauty, and the rich, delicious flavors of the people, the wine, and the food. This winter has made me desire both comfort…and a vacation. Fortunately, I got a taste of both in my own kitchen.

Nothing says comfort like a hearty beef stew, and nothing warms you from head to toe like a glass of incredible red wine. I chose to combine the two, and add a touch of ‘vacation’ into the pot by making a Mediterranean Beef Stew and pairing it with a Spanish 2010 Abadal Cabernet Franc/Tempranillo blend from Pla de Bages. The combination delivered with earthy goodness and the rich flair of flavor that only the Mediterranean can deliver in both its food and its wine. Simple yet seductive. Like so many ‘winos’ and ‘foodies’, I snapped the photo and posted it to my Corked Cowgirl page on Facebook (see the post here: Mediterranean Beef Stew and 2010 Abadal Cabernet Franc/Tempranillo┬á).

Today I was asked to provide the recipe for the stew. Your request is my pleasure. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you. It’s mostly spices, and it’s super easy to make.

The recipe is as follows:

5 TBSP olive oil
2 1/2 lbs of stew meat cut into 1″ pieces
4 teaspoons ground cumin
1 tablespoon ground coriander
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt (I used Truffle salt. If you’re looking to try it, you can find it at William Sonoma, Dean and Deluca, or even on Amazon)
1 large sweet onion, chopped
3 medium carrots, thinly sliced
1/2 package of mushrooms, sliced (I used organic baby portobello mushrooms)
2 zucchinis or yellow squash, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 15-ounce can diced tomatoes
2 cups beef broth
2 1/2 cups water
1 2/3 cups dry red wine (I used the 2010 Abadal Cab Franc/Tempranillo…before sipping the rest!)
7/8 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 teaspoon fresh coarse ground black pepper
2 TBSP Bay Seasoning (you could throw in 3 Bay leaves as well, just don’t forget to take them out before you serve the stew!)
1 can Garbanzo Beans (Chick Peas)
6 oz spinach (fresh or frozen)
3 1/3 tablespoons red wine vinegar (optional)

Brown the meat in three tablespoons of the olive oil in a dutch oven or 4-quart stock pot. Once it browns, turn the heat to low. Make a paste with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil, the cumin, coriander, cayenne pepper, and salt. Dump it on the meat and toss it around to distribute the spice paste evenly. Pour yourself a glass of wine and start sipping.

Add the chopped onion, carrots, mushrooms, zucchini, and minced garlic to the meat. Pour the tomatoes, water, beef broth and (most importantly), the wine over the meat and vegetables. Stir it up and bring the stew to a boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for an hour or two, or until the meat and veggies are tender. By now you should be ready for another glass (or two) of wine.

While you’re waiting for it to cook, mash the garbanzo beans with a fork and begin your second glass of wine. When the stew is done (which could be whenever you run out of patience, or wine) stir in the mashed beans and spinach. Cover and cook over medium heat for 3 to 5 minutes or until the spinach is wilted(if it’s fresh) or warmed through (if it’s frozen). Sprinkle the vinegar (if you are using it) into the pot, stir up, and serve with brown rice if you want the extra carb rush. Salt and pepper to taste if necessary. You may also open another bottle of wine, if necessary.

If you decide to simply sip the wine for dinner and wish to forego the stew, you’ll find the 2010 Abadal Cabernet Franc/Tempranillo for between $15-20. It is an AMAZING wine with rich fruit flavors like blackberry and plum mixed with beautiful herbal notes and even a hint of toffee. Stock up on this one to drink throughout the rest of the winter!

Cheers!

~CC

 

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Why Did the Chicken Grace My Wine Glass? Rex Goliath Cabernet Sauvignon

As I hunker down inside the house, listening to the cold winds whip and the pellets of sleet hitting the window, my ‘Cheap Summer Wine Tour’ seems like a sad distant memory. Did I mention I hate the winter, and I hate being holed up like a prisoner to the cold?

With defiance, I grab a pair of fuzzy slippers and my wine glass, and, come hell or high snow drifts, I’m going to find a way to enjoy the season. It will be with copious amounts of wine.

And so begins my Winter Wine Adventure, where, with the change leftover from spending too much on Christmas gifts for people I may or may not even like, I will purchase and explore bargain wines with the same character and depth you’d find in the knit scarf and mittens your Aunt Clara would make.

The first wine of the season is a non-vintage wine out of California called HRM Rex~Goliath Free Range Cabernet Sauvignon. The bottle immediately caught my attention as it sports artwork reflecting a 47 lb Giant Rooster of circus fame that held the name of Rex Goliath. Yes…a 47lb giant circus rooster.

This wine is either going to have tons of character or be bad beyond belief. At $6.99, I’m praying for a miracle.

Pouring into the glass, the big bad liquid bird struts out in a deep, inky purple-ish red in color. The nose is equally boisterous with heavy notes of cedar and smoky oak. A second sniff also reveals scents of plum and mocha as well, but the cedar takes the center ring overall.

And now for the main event..will it be a showstopper for the right reasons?

On the initial sip, I thought it was too much. This big bird definitely has some bite, but, after letting it breathe for about 40 minutes, I tried it again.

Not bad!

It doesn’t taste like some cheap, one-dimensional, rot-gut fruit punch trying to capitalize on the California Cabernet Sauvignon craze. This actually has some good things going on here. Lots of dark, ripe fruit in here laced with the smoky oak flavor and cedar that was on the nose. Soft, smooth tannins and a nice, lingering finish. For $7.00, this could EASILY be an every day ‘go to’ wine. Yes, we’re having chicken yet again.

But the only place you want the ‘chicken’ is poured in your glass. It’s too bold to pair with poultry. This wine DEFINITELY needs a big, hearty beef dish…a thick steak or a hearty beef stew is in order.

Pluck this bird from your local liquor store and sip it often.

 
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Posted by on November 2, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

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