6 Wine Pairing Recipes For Spring & Summer Get-Togethers!

By definition, aside from the homeless connotation my Mac’s dictionary adds, I’m pretty much a "Wino". Not an alcoholic by any means but definitely a connoisseur of cheap wines. Charles Shaw is one of my best friends and I readily drink his Cabernet with just about anything that crosses my plate. 

But with age comes wisdom and dinner parties, BBQs and general summer time entertaining, where nine bottles of red mayyybe isn’t the best choice.  

Pairing wines may be a foreign practice to some of us but it doesn’t mean it’s not easy! If you’re a beginner such as myself, it’s best to start with the kind of wine you want to drink and go from there.  It’s great because it is mostly color coordinated for us amateurs! Is it an earthy Chardonnay? It’s best to stick with poultry and butter creams. Maybe you prefer a robust Syrah? Stay with grilled or braised red meats. Your favorite, light Riesling? Whip up some steamed veggies and lemon sauteed fish.

You can also use different vegetables in sauces to imitate the taste of your wine- mushrooms for Pinot Noirs, herb and mint for Cabernet and Merlot, and dark berries for Shiraz. 

Or once you get the hang of it, you can even go for contrast in your food and wine pairings. Sometimes a nice acidic taste can really balance a very buttery sauce or a oaky wine can bring out the most of a sweet dish. 

Here are some great summertime get together recipe ideas for your favorite wines!

Take your BBQ to the next level with these burgers and a nice Cabernet Sauvignon!

Blue Cheese Burgers

Ingredients
  • 3 pounds lean ground beef
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh chives
  • 1/4 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 12 French rolls or hamburger buns
 
Directions
  1. In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, blue cheese, chives, hot pepper sauce, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, salt, and mustard. Cover, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
  2. Preheat grill for high heat. Gently form the burger mixture into about 12 patties.
  3. Oil the grill grate. Grill patties 5 minutes per side, or until well done. Serve on rolls.

Feel like doing something spicy to turn up the heat this season? Plan a Cajun night and pair it with your favorite Riesling!

Cajun Crawfish & Shrimp Etouffe

Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 small green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 stalks celery, diced
  • 2 fresh tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons Louisiana-style hot sauce
  • 1/3 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons seafood seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup fish stock
  • 1 pound crawfish tails
  • 1 pound medium shrimp – peeled and deveined
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  •  
    Directions
    1. Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Gradually stir in flour, and stir constantly until the mixture turns ‘peanut butter’ brown or darker, at least 15 or 20 minutes. I use a large fork with the flat side to the bottom of the pan in a side to side motion. This is your base sauce or ‘Roux’. It is very important to stir this constantly. If by chance the roux burns, discard and start over.
    2. Once the roux is browned, add the onions, garlic, celery and bell pepper to the skillet, and saute for about 5 minutes to soften. Stir in the chopped tomatoes and fish stock, and season with the seafood seasoning. Reduce heat to low, and simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    3. Season the sauce with hot pepper sauce and cayenne pepper (if using), and add the crawfish and shrimp. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until the shrimp are opaque.
     

Freshen up a balmy summer night with a chilled Chardonnay and this salad entree!

Lime Grilled Chicken Ceasar Salad

Ingredients
  • 4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1/2 cup mesquite-lime marinade
  • 1/2 head lettuce, torn into small pieces
  • 1 large tomato, cut into wedges
  • 1/2 sweet onion, sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 cup large cheese and garlic croutons
  • 1/2 cup creamy Caesar-style salad dressing
 
Directions
  1. In a shallow baking pan, arrange chicken and pour mesquite-lime marinade over all. Cover and place in the refrigerator to marinate for 1/2 hour before grilling.
  2. Preheat a charcoal or gas grill to medium high heat.
  3. Grill chicken breasts for approximately 15 minutes on each side, or until meat is cooked through and is no longer pink inside. Remove from heat, cool and slice into strips.
  4. In a large bowl, toss together the lettuce, tomato, onion, pepper, cheese, croutons, dressing and chicken until evenly coated. Serve immediately.

Add some class to this tailgating classic with a Zinfandel!

Boilermaker Tailgate Chili 

Ingredients
  • 2 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 pound bulk Italian sausage
  • 3 (15 ounce) cans chili beans, drained
  • 1 (15 ounce) can chili beans in spicy sauce
  • 2 (28 ounce) cans diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
  • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
  • 3 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 2 green chile peppers, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • 4 cubes beef bouillon
  • 1/2 cup beer
  • 1/4 cup chili powder
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 2 teaspoons hot pepper sauce (e.g. Tabasco™)
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon white sugar
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) bag corn chips such as Fritos®
  • 1 (8 ounce) package shredded Cheddar cheese
 
Directions
  1. Heat a large stock pot over medium-high heat. Crumble the ground chuck and sausage into the hot pan, and cook until evenly browned. Drain off excess grease.
  2. Pour in the chili beans, spicy chili beans, diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Add the onion, celery, green and red bell peppers, chile peppers, bacon bits, bouillon, and beer. Season with chili powder, Worcestershire sauce, garlic, oregano, cumin, hot pepper sauce, basil, salt, pepper, cayenne, paprika, and sugar. Stir to blend, then cover and simmer over low heat for at least 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
  3. After 2 hours, taste, and adjust salt, pepper, and chili powder if necessary. The longer the chili simmers, the better it will taste. Remove from heat and serve, or refrigerate, and serve the next day.
  4. To serve, ladle into bowls, and top with corn chips and shredded Cheddar cheese.

 

What’s great about Sauvignon Blanc is it really goes great with almost any type of food but here’s a great and easy staple that’s sure to please the attendees. 

Pico de Gallo Chicken Quesadillas 

Ingredients
  • 2 tomatoes, diced
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 limes, juiced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cut into strips
  • 1/2 onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 green bell pepper, thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 (12 inch) flour tortillas
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1/4 cup sour cream, for topping
 
Directions
  1. In a small bowl, combine tomatoes, onion, lime juice, cilantro, jalapeno, salt and pepper. Set aside.
  2. In a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Add chicken and saute until cooked through and juices run clear. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside.
  3. Put the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in the hot skillet and saute the sliced onion and green pepper until tender. Stir in the minced garlic and saute until the aroma is strong. Mix in half of the pico de gallo and chicken breast meat. Set aside; keep warm.
  4. In a heavy skillet, heat one flour tortilla. Spread 1/4 cup shredded cheese on the tortilla and top with 1/2 the chicken mixture. Sprinkle another 1/4 cup cheese over the chicken and top with another tortilla. When bottom tortilla is lightly brown and cheese has started to melt, flip quesadilla and cook on the opposite side. Remove quesadilla from skillet and cut into quarters. Repeat with remaining ingredients. Serve quesadillas with sour cream and remaining pico de gallo.

 

Another great, versatile wine is the Pinot Noir! Pair it with a delicious vegetarian friendly Portobello dish! This is a personal favorite because it is SO EASY! I actually prefer to take these ‘shrooms and throw them between some buns of some excellent veggie friendly burgs!

 

Ingredients
  • 3 portobello mushrooms
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 3 tablespoons chopped onion
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
 
Directions
  1. Clean mushrooms and remove stems, reserve for other use. Place caps on a plate with the gills up.
  2. In a small bowl, combine the oil, onion, garlic and vinegar. Pour mixture evenly over the mushroom caps and let stand for 1 hour.
  3. Grill over hot grill for 10 minutes. Serve immediately.

 

 
 
All recipes courtesy of AllRecipes.com, one of my favorite sites for great cooking ideas!

 

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