Monday, October 4, 2010

local game meat and Canadian wine on a Monday night

Joey and I just opened a bottle of Mission Hill Family Estate Compendium, 2006. It's a rich, full-bodied blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. I've been eyeing this alluring bottle at my local wine shop for months. Today, I received it as a gift from Joey's roommate. I set Charles and his girlfriend up with super sweet accommodation in Jasper on the weekend. It was incredibly thoughtful of them to give me this as a thanks.
On the nose I detected scents of blueberry jam, earth, truffle and fig. It smelled smoky, like it had been aged in very old oak. The colour was deep, opaque purple with blue hues.
When I finally took my first sip I noticed at first the tannin, and then the bold acidity and long finish. It should open up for a while, decanted if possible, for an hour at least. The flavours that come out of this wine are incredibly layered. At first I tasted concord grapes, sour cherries and an almost barnyard musk. As I swirled the wine in the glass, it started to release tobacco and chocolate notes. The overall taste though was almost tart with a puckery mouthfeel.

We paired this wine with wonderful food. Joey and I found blueberry and black pepper farmed elk sausages at the farmer's market on Saturday the second last of the season. Joey removed the casing, sliced those up into large chunks, and then simmered those in water for about 10 minutes before adding butter, finely chopped onions, and minced garlic to sauté together. He also roasted 2 red peppers, pureed them with dried rosemary and added that to the sizzling meat and onions. We let the sauce simmer for another 15 minutes or so while putting on water for some whole-wheat penne rigate.

I've been craving bright green veggies so we also picked up green beans and broccoli for steaming. Start with the green beans at the bottom of your steaming basket and then add broccoli when close to serving to cut down on dishes and ensure even cooking of each vegetable.

I made a quick béchamel sauce with Danish blue cheese to drizzle over the broccoli. Here's how:
You will need equal parts butter and flour (2 Tbsp) and enough milk and/or cream to thin it out. I melt the butter and add a little minced garlic. As the garlic cooks, remove the saucepan from heat and start adding the flour, stirring to incorporate. Put the saucepan back on the heat when you have a rather heavy paste of butter and flour and then start adding the milk.

Traditionally, you should have already scalded the milk with aromatics (i.e. bay leaf or nutmeg) in a separate pot, but I save time and usually pour it straight from the carton. Add the milk in small increments, stirring each time to combine and slowly the sauce will turn to the kind of consistency you can see mixing well with whatever you need - steamed broccoli, cauliflower, pasta, poached eggs, mac and cheese, or stew. From the simple 3-ingredient base and with a few aromatics (like garlic or bay leaf or whatever) you can add things like blue or aged cheddar cheese and things can really get crazy...

Oh yes, right at the end of cooking, I suggested we add a splash of the wine to Joey's elk sausage pasta sauce. When the pasta was nearly cooked we poured all of it plus a bit of pasta water to the large pan that the sauce was all simmering in. Everything absorbed into the pasta, we salted it to taste and added a splash of cream (cause we're wild like that). The green beans Joey drizzled with olive oil and lemon juice.

Leftover birthday cake for dessert.

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