Monday, September 26, 2011

Rotisserie Grilled Prime Rib and Spinach Soufflé Paired with 2006 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and 2007 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Merlot

Prime Rib and Spinach Souffle

The brisk fall breezes were blowing leaves across the street, pumpkins with tortured faces stared from every doorstep, and grills were on sale at the Home Depot.  Fall clearance sales on grilling gear (and golf shorts) mark a special time for the golfing griller.  This was exactly the case a couple years ago when I purchased my Goliath size, stainless steel monster grill…and a striking pair of plaid golf shorts.  Along with a couple dozen burners, several ceramic searing burners, 500 watt work lights, and a dozen Titleist golf balls, the grill came equipped with a turbo charged 10 horsepower motorized rotisserie.

I love my grill even more than my stylish plaid golf shorts.  Unfortunately, the rotisserie sees about as much action as my 3 iron (I just can’t hit that club – it now serves duty as part of my sophisticated home security system).  The rotisserie was recently called off the bench to the starting lineup for prime rib.  The result was fantastic, and the rotisserie is now officially off the “injured reserve” list.

Prime Rib

The grilling process was about as easy as it gets.  Chef Sue decided on the low and slow process which involved trussing up the prime rib so it would not disintegrate while cooking, skewering the beautiful piece of meat on the rotisserie, bringing the temp up to 300 degrees, and waiting.  Of course the prime rib was well seasoned with salt and pepper before heading to the hot house.  The prime rib spun happily on the grill until it reached an internal temperature of 120 degrees. 

I removed the prime rib and let rest while covered with aluminum foil for 15 to 20 minutes.  The internal temperature continued to rise and reached 125 to 130 degrees during the resting period.  Avoid the temptation to cut into the prime rib during this resting period.  The objective is to keep all the wonderful juices inside.

Prime Rib-1

If you you don’t happen to have Tim the Tool Man’s manly man’s grill with 10 horsepower turbocharged rotisserie attachment, you can achieve the same results in the oven using a roasting pan.  But if you are using the oven, don’t wear the plaid golf shorts.  That is just not right.

To go along with our joyous Barney Rubble sized prime rib, Chef Sue and Formerly of Austin Dawn prepared spinach soufflé.  This choice was a key aspect of choosing our wine for the evening.  The prime rib demands at least a medium bodied wine, but we did not want to go too heavy and have the soufflé suffer from being terribly overpowered.  We reached a good compromise position and chose a medium bodied Pinot Noir and a delicious full bodied Merlot.

2006 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and 2007 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Merlot

Our choices were a 2006 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and a 2007 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Rose Ranch Merlot.  Here are the tasting notes for the two wines:

2006 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir:  Medium garnet in color, this wine has a nose of cranberry and a lightly spicy cherry liqueur quality. In the mouth it is smooth and silky with very nice balance and a core of cranberry and raspberry flavors, that give way to a cocoa, and light smoky quality on the finish.

2007 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Rose Ranch Merlot:  The 2007 Rose Ranch Merlot is supple and full-bodied with velvety texture and rich flavor. Its aromas evoke connotations of dark fruit and pepper. Robust flavors of currant, black raspberry, anise and ripe plum linger on the palate.

2006 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir and 2007 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Merlot-1

The group of Chef Sue, Golf Buddy Steve, Formerly of Austin Dawn and I all concluded both wines worked exceptionally well particularly with respect to the berry flavors in compliment to the prime rib.  While both wines were excellent, we conceded the 2007 Benziger Family Winery Sonoma Valley Rose Ranch Merlot as having an edge over the 2006 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.  The deeper, richer flavors of the Merlot resulted in a combination that was well beyond the sum of the parts – our holy grail of wine pairing.

Spinach Souffle

But lets not forget the spinach soufflé. This is not yet in my repertoire and was glad that Chef Sue and Formerly of Austin Dawn decided to take on this task as I wistfully watched the prime rib slowly lull me into hypnosis.

Spinach Souffle-3


Spinach Soufflé

Spinach Souffle-1

  • 4 tablespoons butter, plus extra for the dish
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 bunch spinach, stems removed, or 12 to 16 ounces loose, young spinach leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/3 cups milk
  • sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 6 egg whites
  1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Butter a 4 6 ounce soufflé dishes .
  2. Wash the spinach well, then wilt it in a skillet without drying the spinach.
  3. Drain into a colander, press out the moisture, then finely chop.
  4. Melt the 4 tablespoons butter in a saucepan, saute the garlic for approximately 2 minutes. stir in the flour, and cook for 1 minute while stirring.
  5. Whisk in the milk and stir until it thickens.
  6. Add 1 teaspoon salt, then stir in the Parmesan.
  7. Turn off the heat and stir in salt and pepper to taste.
  8. Whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form firm peaks that are just a bit on the soft side.
  9. Fold the whites and base together.
  10. Scrape the batter into the prepared dishes and bake until golden brown and set, about 25 minutes.
In vino veritas, buen provecho.


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