Tuck into some tasty comfort food this winter. We’re pairing a few delicious recipes with some of Spier’s most coveted wines this season. These food and wine pairings are perfect for a mid-week indulgence or, better yet, a dinner party that will be sure to impress.
Creamy mushroom soup
This gorgeously creamy soup is packed with intense brown mushroom flavour. Indulgent and hearty, it is simple enough to make every day and suitably elegant to serve as a starter at your next dinner party. The creamy body of Spier Signature Chardonnay perfectly matches the creaminess of the soup. Its lightly lingering acidity acts as a palate cleanser between each spoonful. Topped with a big dollop of truffle oil and brown butter drizzle, this pairing is guaranteed to be a keeper for the recipe book.
45ml olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
800g brown mushrooms, sliced (reserve a few for topping, optionally)
30-45ml (2-3 tablespoons) sage leaves, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely grated
250ml Spier Signature Chardonnay
45ml cake flour
250ml fresh cream
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
salt and pepper to taste
a few drops of truffle oil to taste
For the browned orange sage butter:
60-90ml (4-6 tablespoons) butter
about two teaspoons orange rind, finely grated
8-12 sage leaves
In a large heavy-based pot, heat the olive oil and butter. Add the onions and fry over medium heat until soft and translucent, then turn up the heat and add the mushrooms and sage. Fry until the mushrooms start to colour and release their liquid, then add the garlic and fry for another minute. Add the wine and bring to a simmer, then sprinkle flour and stir to mix. Make sure there are no floury lumps.
Add the cream and stock, season with salt and pepper, and bring to a simmer, turning the heat to low. Cook for about 20-25 minutes until slightly thickened, stirring often, then remove from the heat. While the soup is simmering, make the butter drizzle in a small saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter and bring it to a boil. Swirl the pot occasionally, watching until the butter goes from a simmering boil to a foamy roll. Remove from the heat immediately and add the orange rind and sage. Tilt to coat all over as the foam slowly subsides. You should be left with a nutty golden mixture.
If necessary, taste and season, then use a stick blender to blend the soup – leave some chunky bits. Serve the soup in bowls and top with lightly fried mushrooms and a generous drizzle of the browned butter. Add truffle oil to taste. Serve hot.
About the wine Slightly tart, whimsically tropical and ever-so creamy, this lively Chardonnay will become a favourite. Lively grapefruit and lime on the nose with hints of apple, peach and pear. The palate is creamy with layered fruit, pleasant lingering acidity and minerality.
Chicken, leek and sage casserole
Perfect for slightly cooler days, the tender chicken thighs fall off the bone in this finger-licking creamy dish. A wonderful midweek dinner ready in less than an hour. Serve with your choice of vegetables, salad, rice, pasta or bread.
45ml olive oil
8 chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
200g leeks, finely sliced (white and light green parts only)
1 onion, finely chopped
a few sage leaves, finely chopped
80ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine (like Chenin Blanc)
30ml (2 tablespoons) Dijon mustard
250ml (1 cup) chicken stock
250ml (1 cup) fresh cream
salt and pepper to taste
chopped parsley or a few thyme sprigs (optional)
In a wide cast-iron casserole or oven proof pan, heat the oil on the stovetop and fry the chicken on both sides until golden, seasoning with salt and pepper. Remove the chicken from the pot and set aside for later, then add the leeks, onion and sage and fry over medium heat until softened and lightly brown. Add the wine, turn up the heat to deglaze the pan, add the mustard, and stir to mix. Add the stock and cream, replace the chicken in the pan, skin side up. Bring to a slow simmer over low heat for about 40 minutes or until tender, occasionally stirring to prevent the bottom from burning (you can also move the pot to the oven at 180°C for the same amount of time). Remove from the heat (or oven), then serve hot, decorated with herbs. Serve with your choice of vegetables, salad, rice, pasta or bread.
About the wine This crisp and fruity unwooded Chenin has lively enough acidity to appeal to even the most hardened Sauvignon Blanc lovers (go on, try it!). With fresh flavours of guava, pear and apple, serve this delightfully versatile crowd-pleaser with sushi, pasta or good old fish and chips. It’s both crisp and fruity with green guava, pear, apple, and hints of litchi on the nose. A well-balanced palate and a strong finish.
Decadent no-bake dark chocolate peanut butter tart
This tart is just over-the-top decadent and downright delicious! You’ll only need a small sliver, so it will serve quite a crowd. Prepare to indulge!
(serves 12, prep/cooking time: 25 minutes plus cooling)
200 g digestive biscuits
2 cups icing sugar
100 g melted butter
1 cup peanut butter
5 ml salt
200 ml cream
300 g dark chocolate, chopped into smaller chunks
some fresh berries/cherries to serve
Spray a large loose-bottom tart tin with non-stick spray.
Place the digestive biscuits in a food processor and process until it is fine. Add the icing sugar, butter, peanut butter and salt, then mix well. Press the mixture evenly into the base of the tart tin, then refrigerate while you make the top layer.
Place the cream in a microwave-proof bowl and heat in the microwave until warm but not boiling. Add the dark chocolate chunks, then leave to stand for 5 minutes. Stir well until smooth. If the mixture won’t go smooth, heat it for another 30 seconds in the microwave and keep stirring. Pour the creamy chocolate onto the tart base, then refrigerate until firm.
Remove the tart from the fridge and remove the outer ring to serve. Cut into slivers (when it is still cold and firm) and serve when closer to room temperature. This tart might become very soft on standing, but it tastes better when not too cold.
Serve with some tart berries/cherries and a glass of Spier Creative Block 5.
About the wine A medium- to full-bodied red blend, Creative Block 5 dazzles with complexity, showing decadent dark chocolate, cranberry depth, as well as tomato leaf and thatch notes. The palate is juicy and sweet-fruited, framed by concentrated tannins and complemented by subtle hints of rooibos tea and wet earth. There is a lovely freshness and finesse running through the red-fruited 2014 that is particular to the vintage. Superb balance and effortless weight lead to a long, classy finish. Stock up now, and enjoy over the next decade.