Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Matching Prosecco with food makes my head hurt.

Niamh author of Eatlikeagirl is running a competition on her blog, in conjunction with Bisol, to match Prosecco with food. The prize is cracking, and having pilfered more than my fair share of free Prosecco from Niamh's Covent Garden stall in the last week or so....all in the interests of research of course, I'm pretty much duty bound to enter.

The problem is this - I have no experience of matching booze to anything, it's something I've never really thought about before. I've really struggled with it - the only thing that popped into my head whilst actually tasting the stuff at Niamh's stall was 'Goats Cheese'... Could be right, could be wrong - who knows....without having some to experiment with, it could have the taste matching merit of drinking coffee directly after brushing your teeth.

Just to ramp up the pressure, the GF's brother and partner were coming round for dinner on Saturday evening, so I thought I'd work something out and test it on them, all built around the solitary goats cheese thought.

The thought process went something like this....Niamh had already mentioned that Pork seemed to work well, and it's not a strong tasting meat - so it was either Pork or Chicken......I finally went with Pork chops, as I'd cooked them recently with lemon and they were lovely.....the Prosecco is light, so the flavours had to be light and subtle....I then thought tarragon white wine sauce, but made with prosecco, goes with pork...it's light(ish) but will it work with Prosecco? bit of a wild card that one.

In the end, I mulled it over.....wrote furious notes.....went out into the garden and nibbled some herbs....came back, crossed stuff out, wrote more notes...and so it went until I finally came up with the recipe below served as a Main at my small dinner party. To be honest, it's all a bit academic unless you can drink the prosecco in the planning stage and see how different things taste with it. But having no time for that, I bought some Prosecco to drink with the main course and asked my guests to tell me what they thought - bit of a last throw of the dice this, because if it really didn't work......I was buggered.

I'm pleased to report, it did appear to work, very well in fact - the prosecco didn't grate alarmingly against the dishes ingredients, in fact they seemed to compliment each other nicely....I like to put it down to my bulging analytical brain and amazing palette, stressing categorically that it's absolutely not more luck, than judgement.

Pork Chop with prosecco and tarragon cream sauce, goats cheese and olive crushed potatoes, parsnip puree.
Serves 4
You'll need:-

For the Pork Chops:-
4 Free Range Pork chops with bone.
2 Tbs Olive Oil
Few knobs of butter
Juice of a lemon.

For the Tarragon Cream Sauce:-
knob of butter
2 Shallots finely chopped
1 Bay Leaf
50g Button mushrooms, finely sliced
225ml Prosecco
225ml Chicken Stock
150ml Double Cream
2 TBS Chopped Tarragon
sea salt + pepper
Juice of half a Lemon

For the Goats Cheese and Olive Crushed Potatoes:-
500g Maris Piper Potatoes
150ml Extra Virgin Olive Oil
2 TBS Chopped Chives
50g Chopped kalamata olives, stoned and chopped.
60g Goats Cheese
sea salt+pepper

For the Parsnip Puree:-
500g Parsnips
sea salt+pepper
2 Thyme Sprigs
1/2 Tsp Dijon Mustard
25g unsalted butter
2 Tsp Double Cream
pinch of grated nutmeg.

To make the crushed potatoes, pre-heat the oven to 220C and bake the potatoes for 1 hour, until soft. When the are cool enough to handle, scoop the flesh out into a bowl and crush with back of a fork. Mix in the olive oil, the chives, the black olives and the goats cheese. Season and put to one side to keep warm.

To make the Tarragon Cream sauce, melt a knob of butter in a saucepan add the shallots and bay leaf and cook over a medium heat for 1-2 minutes, add the mushrooms and cook for a further 2-3 mins.
Add the Prosecco and over a medium heat bring to a rapid simmer, reduce by 2/3rds, pour in the chicken stock and again reduce by 2/3rds.
Add the double cream, and return to a soft simmer, thickening for 6-8 mins.
Strain the sauce, and add the chopped Tarragon and a squeeze of lemon juice, stirring through, season with salt+peppr and put aside somewhere warm.

To make the parsnip puree, peel and roughly chop the parsnips, place in a saucepan with the thyme, and a pinch of salt cover with cold water and bring to the boil - then turn down the heat and simmer for 15 mins. Drain and remove the thyme. In a blender blitz the hot parsnips with the mustard, butter, cream and nutmeg until its a smooth puree. Season and put to one side.

For the pork chops, trim them of most of the fat, heat the olive oil in a medium frying pan and fry the chops each side for 3 mins until golden. Add the knobs of butter to the pan along with the Lemon juice, swirl around the pan and spoon over the chops cooking for a few more mins until the pork is just firm when pressed.

Serve the Pork chop with some of the juices, the parsnip puree, the crushed potatoes and the cream sauce.....and hopefully make a better job of the presentation than me! I hadn't really thought about it beforehand, as it was a dinner party situation the food was rapidly getting cold so I sort of slung it on the plates as best I could, subsequently, it looks crap.....will have to think about the presentation a bit more I think.

BTW, Thanks to Gordon, Skye, Gary and Anton and their respective cook books for the inspiration.....standing on the shoulders of giants eh?


Anonymous said...

Excellent! Sounds like a great match Dan :) Good work!

The Ample Cook said...

I think you may be on to a winner there Dan.

I adore a tarragon cream sauce, bet it went really well on your porky chop. Lovely stuff.

BribedwithFood said...

Dan, this looks lovely.
Not so sure about my entry now - Bugger!

Dan said...

Cheers Niamh, certainly seemed to match when I tried it.

Jan - hahaha, thanks. Funny thing is, it all tasted so bloody good! but my presentation and photography skills deserted me at the vital moment.
Anyway, went down well with my dinner guests, so much so, that my GF's brother told me after he'd stuffed the lot....that he didn't like pork chops normally.
The cream sauce is gorgeous, goes lovely with chicken - you swap the tarragon for sage or whatever takes your fancy really. I could eat it on its own!

Bribedwithfood - hey thanks. No way, your entries a winner. Looks lovely.

Liz said...

Sounds like a fabulous match - and I should point out that Prosecco usually manages to make my head hurt all on its own.

neil said...

Nice work. The potatoes sound awesome.

Dan said...

Thanks Liz, lets hope so eh?

Neil - cheers dude.

Anonymous said...

Love the colouring on that pork - savoury and juicy, yum!

The parsnip puree sounds like a winner too, I'll be 'borrowing' that one :-)

Matt said...

Good work Dan - Thanks for sharing your thought process too!

I didn't know about the comp (hey, I'm not on Twitter ALL the time you know) so I'm now off to see what the fuss is about!

LexEat said...

Wow, what a mammoth effort! Just reading the list of ingredients was exhausting.

I love your enthusiasm - good luck!

Food Urchin said...

I like your style there mate, looks very tasty indeed, sounds like a good match to me. And you have my fullest sympathies with the headache though, this wasn't easy was it.

By the way, did you trial the grapes with potato in the end?

Dan said...

Roastpotato - Thanks fella.

Matt- Thanks, the competiton is open till Weds - so you still have the whole of tomorrow to try and come up with something.

LexEat - Cheers, it was for a dinner party, so put a bit more effort in - incidentally, the dessert was cracking Blackberry and Ginger Puddings, I'll have to blog them.

FoodUrchin - cheers mate, nope it wasn't easy at all agreed. No, I didn't trial grapes and potato, I'll have to try it soon.....and no doubt make Bleugh noises!

The Larder Lout said...

Good work Dan - I'm pretty virginal when it comes to matching too.

I'm hatching a plan though - I reckon something based around antipasti ingredients would be particularly good (which you have done in a way I guess). Cured pork, olives, soft cheese. I may have to take you on (and probably lose).


Dan said...

Cheers for the comment James - Your right...funnily enough, I never considered it like that. It IS antipasti ingredients albeit, presented in a different way. The competition ends today - so if you fancy getting an entry in, you'll have to work fast....check eatslikeagirls site for details. You'll probably lose?...Hahaha I think not. A brief look at your background confirms you are being extremely modest, but thanks.

Graphic Foodie said...

Ohh good luck! Looks great.

Alex said...

Drinking prosecco makes my head hurt, full stop! Or perhaps it's the quantity... ho hum... This sounds delish though!

Maggie said...

I find matching food and wine an almost impossible task.
After reading your posting I can see that you have come up with a good match!