As the season of snowstorms and darkness descends upon us, it’s time to hunker down and start cooking up hearty soups and stews to weather the winter. Cooking a beef stew with root vegetables, chicken soup or a simple vegetable purée can be a great way to spend a winter’s evening, especially if you have a few good friends, some records and several bottles of red wine. That’s right, now that the chill is in the air, it’s time to put away those chardonnays and pinot grigios until next summer and tap into the warm, wonderful world of medium and heavy-bodied red wines.
In this post, we’ll recommend several winter dishes that taste great alongside seasonally appropriate red wines. In the festive month of December, you can even go crazy with a bit of mulled wine, serving up sweet, spicy, delicious booze that will have your guests feeling good and get them ready for hibernation mode. If you decide to use an event staffing agency to help host your party, try and find a bartending service with their own special mulled wine recipe, as well as a deep knowledge of heavy bodied reds and whiskey cocktails to keep everyone warm.
An age old crowd pleaser that you can make on a pretty massive scale for not too much money. Get some stewing beef from your local butcher and set it cooking in a crock pot long before you plan on serving it. You’ll need browning sauce, lots and lots of onions, a bay leaf, a pot of rice (to absorb all the liquid), chilly peppers – if you like spice – garlic, carrots and half a cup of heavy red wine. 19 Crimes Australian Shiraz works well with this meal: is is extremely flavourful with smoky notes of black pepper. It also has a cherry acidity that cuts through the savoury saltiness of the stew and adds a cheerful touch of fruit to the palette. Its chalky, dry tannins balance out the sweeter notes of cherry for an altogether delightful experience.
Roasted Chicken/ Chicken Soup
The beauty of roasting a chicken in the winter is the fact that you have the carcass left over to boil up some soup with. If you’re on the go and don’t want to mess around with prepping a chicken, some butchers sell pre-cooked rotisserie chickens that are perfectly seasoned and cooked – definitely a cut above your average grocery store chicken. Meating on Queen in Toronto is great for this if you live in Toronto, they also have an amazing selection of sausages year round. A flavourful, plummy shiraz such as Penfold Estate’s 2014 Magill Estate compliments a salty, spicy chicken with its notes of cumquat and persimmon. Once you’ve picked all the meat of the chicken, boil up some broth, chop up some vegetables and warm your stomach and soul!
If you have access to an immersion blender, then making a winter soup with fresh leeks, potato and turnip is the easiest thing in the world! In this case you may want to pair it with a buttery chardonnay (a little white wine in the winter is okay) like a chardonnay from Closson Chase. You could even take a night off from drinking let all those vegetables do their good work unimpeded by alcohol!