Friday, February 25, 2011

Redux–Butternut Squash and Chorizo Empanadas

Abu Dhabi Bread

Recently I wrote about the Decanting Napa Valley wine pairing of butternut squash and chorizo empanadas paired with Cakebread Chardonnay.  Overall, my impression was very positive with a couple of minor exceptions; use of puff pastry as the empanada shell and my assessment of the Cakebread Chardonnay as over priced.

Having a few spare minutes on my hand this week, I decided to revisit the pairing and the recipe with a couple of twists.  To be honest, with the exception of making the empanada dough from scratch, the balance of the recipe modifications were a matter of “what’s in the pantry” rather than forethought.  The other substitutes were use of Italian sweet sausage in place of the chorizo, and cream cheese rather than gruyère.  Finally, I added a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to add a touch of heat and smoke introducing some contrast to the Chardonnay.

Virginia Vineyard

Not wanting to blow another $40 on a bottle of Cakebread, I substituted a 2008 Simi Chardonnay ($13 – and I will unequivocally call this a good value).  Here are the winemaker’s tasting notes:

“Brilliantly clear, light yellow straw. Fresh green apple, nectarine, Meyer lemon and orange zest are laced with notes of vanilla, honey and toasted brioche with a lifted mineral edge. Golden delicious apple and tangerine are lightly warmed with subtle notes of cream, butter and smoke finishing with a note of lime zest.”

Generally, I found this description accurate with the exception of the “toasted brioche.”  I’m not sure I can conceive of toasted brioche while drinking wine and found this a bit confusing and left me shrugging my shoulders and thinking “really?”  The flavors that stood out were the fruit, citrus rendered acidity, and mildly buttery finish.  This complex of characteristics worked wonderfully with the empanada.  The fruit and acid played a beautiful contrasting role, while the buttery finish accented with a hint of smoke sang a wonderful harmony with the butternut squash and cream cheese filling.

Three Eggs-2

As a final note, I was very pleased with the scratch made empanada dough.  It tasted great, had wonderful texture, and did not feel like I was cheating.  On the other hand, if you are short of time, the puff pastry route will not disappoint your taste buds.  Follow the link to the original post for the empanada dough recipe.

Photography.  Sorry, I did not photograph the redux.  Rather, you get a few shots from my gallery for visual entertainment…clearly no relationship to the empanada or the Simi Chardonnay.

In vino veritas, buen provecho


No comments:

Post a Comment