The past few weeks here in the Bay Area has been windy, wet and chilly. My wife and I have been trying to stay warm in our 100-year-old apartment by cozying up with one-pot dishes and wines to match. As we enter the depth of our Northern California winter (those in the Midwest and Northeast will laugh at us, but it is cold to us Californians) there are certain dishes and wines that can warm a dreary winter evening quicker than Wilfred Brimley with a bowl of oatmeal. This past Sunday and Monday we cooked two dishes that thawed us out and we drank two wines that warmed out souls: Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 from Oakville and Jeriko Estate Merlot from Mendocino. Winter is the perfect time to cozy up with a loved one, a book, and/or a great movie and share a bottle of deep rich red wine.
Here are some of my favorite grapes that help keep me warm: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, Nebbiolo (Barolo is my FAVORITE!), Pinot Noir, Grenache, Tempranillo, and Sangiovese. Below is the recipe we cooked this past weekend.
“Hamburger and Farro Stew” serves 4 to 6
Over the Christmas holiday my father sent me a bunch of venison and we used ground venison for this dish but you can use ground beef, pork, or turkey for this stew
4 tablespoons Olive Oil (Venison is lean so we needed some oil, but the fatter the beef the less oil is needed)
1 pound ground meat
1 cup chopped yellow onion
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 pound small Yukon potatoes (I quartered them)
2 zucchini, unpeeled and cut into ½ inch slices
1 can (14.5 oz) whole tomatoes, coarsely chopped with juice
2 cups beef stock or broth (Stock will make it richer)
3 cups tomato juice
2 bay leafs
1 tablespoon dried oregano
4 cloves of garlic diced
½ cup faro
salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for topping
- In a Dutch oven or a large pot warm the olive oil for about 2 minutes and then brown ground meat.
- Place all ingredients in the pot except for the parsley.
- Bring everything to a boil and then reduce to a simmer, occasionally stirring. Let simmer for at least 1 hour.
- Salt and pepper to taste and garnish with parsley. Serve with corn bread and a full-bodied red.
We had the Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon.