After a seven-week stretch of cooking vegetarian, it was time to make something comforting that included some animal protein. A favorite meal that rarely yields leftovers is a Cuban-Mexican Chicken and Rice dish I make from The San Francisco Chronicle Cookbook (yellow cover). It is simple to make and packs big flavor into one pot. After marinating chicken in a paste made of chili powder, cumin seeds, garlic, salt and olive oil, you brown it and then add rice, ham, and cooked chorizo to the pot with broth. I like to add a few handfuls of green peas at the end too. I usually buy Mexican chorizo at the grocery store, but this time I had something special in the freezer that I had been saving for the next time I made this Chicken and Rice recipe. My niece's husband grew up on a farm and has hunted game since a teenager. After the last hunting trip, he brought the meat to a Sonoma County butcher who made an assortment of sausages to his specifications, including venison chorizo. The spice was just right and though leaner than store-bought chorizo, it added a complexity of flavor to the dish I haven't tasted before. So what wine to pair with this family favorite? I selected a classic French country red, the 2018 Chasseur des Brousses, a blend of old vine Merlot and Grenache. Fruity, but with ample acid backbone, this rustic red was just the kind of honest, pure farmer's juice that this dish called for. Anything too complex would have been overwhelmed by the bold flavors of the dish. This was a great wine and food pairing that I look forward to repeating very soon! Recipe available upon request.
- Anya Balistreri