Food and wine pairings to liven up your menu

It makes good business sense to include food and wine pairings on your menu. A good wine pairing can enhance both the wine and the food. Try these recipes from some of SA’s pairing pros using some of SA’s favourite wines and ciders, Muratie, Journey’s End and Loxtonia.

Kim Melck’s slow-roasted pork belly with butternut puree recipe

Kim Melck has provided her personal recipe for Slow-Roasted Pork Belly with Crisp Crackling for a perfect home-cooked Sunday lunch – which will pair perfectly with the Muratie George Paul Canitz Pinot Noir.

Take a nice thick pork belly and have it scored in squares or thin strips – this will make the carving easier when cooked.

Pre-heat the oven 180˚ C.

Using medium coarse salt and white pepper, season on both sides – be generous with the salt.

Place half a cup of water in the roasting pan, this prevents the belly getting stuck to the pan and burning.

Place in the middle of the oven and roast for about 2 to 3 hours depending on the size and thickness of you piece of meat.

The top should be beautifully brown and the crackling fit for a king.

I like to serve it with a butternut puree and seasonal vegetables.

Butternut Puree Recipe (Produces 1.1L)

Ingredients

Butternut – 1.13kg

Carrots – 145g

Chicken stock – 1 cube

Paprika – 10g

Cream – 30ml

Black pepper – 5g

Salt – 5g

Water – 500ml

Method

Peel butternut and carrots, cube the butternut and dice the carrots.

Add water, chicken stock cube, butternut and carrots to a pot. Boil until soft.

Stir in dry ingredients.

Let rest until room temperature then add the cream.

Puree in a food processor (hand wand) until smooth – it should have a lovely vibrant colour.

Journey’s End’s Winemaker, Mike Dawson, shares his fillet with peppercorn sauce recipe to be enjoyed with Journey’s End The Huntsman Shiraz Mourvèdre Grenache

Fillet with peppercorn sauce recipe

Ingredients

1 tbsp vegetable oil

25g clarified butter

2 fillet steaks (ideally beef matured for 3-5 weeks), about 140g/5oz each, at room temperature

A knob of butter

2 large shallots, finely chopped (from my garden)

6 medium mushrooms, sliced (from my garden)

2 tsp green and pink peppercorns, crushed (from my garden)

3 tbsp brandy

100ml Journey’s End “The Huntsman” (We use a bit more than that)

200ml good-quality beef stock

3 tbsp double cream

Method

Heat a frying pan over a medium-to-high heat, then pour in the oil and the clarified butter. Add the steaks, season them with salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and cook to your liking (2 mins each side for medium-rare, 3 mins each side for medium, depending on the thickness of your steaks). Be sure to seal the rounded edges, too. Transfer to a plate.

Add the knob of butter to the pan, then fry the shallots, mushrooms, and peppercorns over a medium heat for 5 mins, until the shallots have softened, and the mushrooms have browned. Return the steaks to the pan. Heat the brandy in a metal ladle, light with a match then carefully pour into the hot pan, standing as far back as you can. Once the pan has stopped flaming, remove the steaks again.

Pour the wine into the pan, turn up the heat and boil rapidly until reduced by half. This will take about 5 mins. Add the stock and reduce again, this time by two-thirds. Stir the cream into the sauce and allow it to thicken slightly. Check the sauce for seasoning, then return the fillets to the pan to warm through, spooning the sauce over. Serve straight away.

Loxtonia Cider Braised Chicken Winter Casserole

Cooking up a storm and tucking into a time-honoured family recipe is what winter comfort food is all about especially when the dish is enriched with a premium apple cider. Having spent over 30 snow-capped winters on their apple farm in the Ceres Valley, the Whitfields of Loxtonia Cider, have a treasure trove of family recipes to take on the chilliest of days. Original Loxtonia Crispy Apple Cider is the stealthy ingredient of their family favourite, braised chicken winter casserole.

Ingredients

4 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs

2 fennel bulbs, sliced

4 shallots, sliced

4 cloves garlic, finely minced

A large handful / bunch fresh sage leaves

2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar

1 Tbsp Dijon mustard

340ml Loxtonia Crispy Apple Cider

2 green apples, sliced

125ml fresh cream

½ bunch Tuscan kale, stemmed & roughly chopped

Salt and black pepper, to taste

Olive oil

Method

Preheat oven to 180˚C.

Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a large Dutch oven, buffet casserole or cast-iron skillet.

Pat the chicken thighs dry with paper towel and season with salt.

Sear the chicken thighs skin-side down, until the skin is golden brown.

Flip and cook until lightly browned on the underside.

Set chicken pieces aside on a tray.

Add the sliced fennel to the pan with the residual chicken fat and cook until lightly golden on the edges. Remove from the pan and set aside next to the chicken.

If you need to – add a fresh drizzle of olive oil to the pan.

Add the sliced shallots and sage leaves. Season. Cook until the shallots soften and begin to take on some colour. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant.

Add the apple cider vinegar, mustard and Loxtonia Cider.

Stir everything together and bring to a simmer.

Add the fennel and the chicken back into the pan and nestle it in the sauce.

Dot the apples around the dish.

Transfer to the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes until the chicken thighs are cooked through.

Transfer the chicken to a clean plate or baking tray.

(you can keep the chicken warm in the oven during the next step – or crisp up the skin under the grill)

Bring the braise to a gentle simmer on the stove top. Add the kale and cream.

Stir until the kale is wilted and the sauce has reduced slightly.

Taste for seasoning. Return the chicken to the pan for serving family style.

Serve with a good crusty bread for mopping up the sauce and a green side salad.

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