Our Family & Friends blog series is hosted by Generation Seven wines. At Generation Seven we celebrate family, friends and the connections we create while sharing delicious food and wine. This blog series will tell these stories while celebrating the Bosc family's commitment to sustainability and giving back.As you may have guessed, food plays a very central role in our household. With two really good cooks living under the same roof, we often gear our evenings or weekends around the kitchen table. I come from a family where dinner time was a mandatory event. It didn't matter what you were doing, what assignment you may have due the next day, or which TV show was premiering that night. When it was time for dinner the entire family got together to enjoy it and each other's company.
Growing up I assumed it was the same in every household, until I reached high school and friends would start commenting how nice it was that my family all ate dinner together at the same time. We've incorporated that same tradition into our own household now. On a regular evening that's just the five of us - but the dinner table is often a place we find ourselves with extended family catching up, exchanging stories, and laughing until late into the night. We're blessed with a large family located both in and out of the city, and whether we are on the road or at home, our family gatherings always seem to revolve around good food and good wine. Many of my fondest memories revolve around the family table.
The following recipe, Gnocchi with Chicken and Wild Mushroom Ragu, is such a warm, cozy dish. It really is the perfect meal for a large gathering around your own table, and goes beautifully with a glass of wine on a cold evening. Whether catching up with your own family on a weeknight, or sharing it with out-of-town visitors who are in for the weekend, the rich homemade sauce makes for a mouthwatering meal.
Michèle Bosc from Château des Charmes has been kind enough to offer the following pairing suggestion for this dish:
Wow, this sounds so yummy! Since this is a chicken dish we should enjoy it with a white wine. Right? Not necessarily. Food and wine pairing for me starts with "weight". This means how heavy or light the dish feels in your mouth. The wine that is likely a good match will be around the same weight as the dish. In the case of this gnocchi and ragu (tomato-based goodness), I would say this dish is medium in weight. So the wine should be too.
Tomatoes are notoriously challenging to pair with wine because of their natural high acidity. So the wine should have some serious zip to meet the tomatoes head on. Put this all together and a mid-weight, unoaked or lightly oaked red from Niagara would definitely fit the bill. As luck would have it we make a few terrific ones! I would love to try Chef Dad's recipe with our 2009 Generation Seven Red. It's a blend of five grape varieties, like a ragu is a blend of several vegetables. When you sip it, it should remind you of red berries with a hint of warm spice. And it's smooth and easy drinking.
Potato Gnocchi with Chicken and Wild Mushroom Ragu
Serves: 6 to 8
- Place dried porcini mushrooms in medium bowl; pour 1 1/2 cups boiling water over.
- Let stand until mushrooms are soft, about 45 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer mushrooms to cutting board and chop coarsely. Reserve soaking liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon oil in heavy large skillet over Medium-High heat. Add cremini mushrooms and garlic, sprinkle with salt and pepper and sauté until beginning to soften, about 2 to 3 minutes.
- Add 1/2 cup wine and simmer until mushrooms are soft, about 4 minutes. Set aside (there may still be some liquid).
- Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over Medium-High heat. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. Add chicken to pot and sauté until browned in spots, about 6 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer chicken to medium bowl. Reduce heat to medium, add sausage and cook until brown, breaking into small pieces with back of spoon, about 3 minutes. Add smoked meat and stir 1 minute.
- Add onion, carrot, and celery. Cover pot and cook vegetables until soft, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Add remaining 2 cups wine, bring to boil, scraping up any browned bits.
- Simmer until almost all liquid is absorbed, about 10 minutes. Add tomatoes, 1 cup broth, bay leaves, reserved chicken, and porcini mushrooms. Pour in reserved porcini soaking liquid, leaving any sediment behind in the bowl. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to Medium-Low and simmer uncovered until chicken is tender, about 30 minutes.
- Meanwhile prepare the potato gnocchi. Add gnocchi to boiling water and simmer until gnocchi float to surface.
- Stir cremini mushroom mixture into the ragu. Season with salt and pepper. Gently stir in basil.
- Divide gnocchi and ragu among bowls.