Gamekeeper’s choice

From rosé, sunshine and barbeques in the last post, to filling roast dinners and winter warming port in this one, I think it is safe to say, the weather has definitely swayed my food and drink choices this month!

In anticipation of the dinner that I was planning to cook last Sunday – duck legs in red wine and cranberry sauce with all the trimmings (roast potatoes, parsnips, carrots, Brussels…) – I bought a bottle of St Hallett Gamekeeper’s Reserve 2009 Barossa Valley, South Australia, from Waitrose in Stratford’s Westfield. As the name suggests, this wine demanded a gamey food pairing. With this in mind, I was pretty disappointed to discover that Waitrose had sold out of duck legs! Chicken legs it was!

A blend of three grape varieties: Shiraz, Grenache and Touriga Nacional, this wine was bursting with ripe raspberry flavours, with a subtle hint of pepper and a fresh finish. This young, unoaked red would have made a nice partnership with the duck, however it went equally well with the chicken given the rich fruity flavours in the cranberry sauce.

For pudding we had a delicious oaty apple crumble. While the red didn’t complement this as well as it did the main, you can get a bottle of Dow’s Reserve Port from Tesco for just £6.49. A small after-dinner glass of that would slip down a treat!

Fancy cooking a simple roast this weekend? Try the following recipes (adapted from the BBC Good Food website)

Chicken legs in red wine and cranberry sauce

Ingredients – serves 4
4 chicken legs
Handful of rosemary sprigs
4-6 garlic cloves
½ tsp five spice powder or 1 tsp five spice paste
4 tsp cranberry sauce
½ bottle red wine

1. Preheat the oven to 190°c (170°c for a fan oven)
2. On a roasting tray lay the chicken legs on a bed of rosemary and garlic
3. Sprinkle/ smear the five spice and salt over the chicken legs
4. Roast in the oven for 40-45 minutes
5. Meanwhile, simmer the cranberry sauce and red wine on a medium heat for 5-10 minutes
6. Once the chicken is nearly cooked, pour the sauce over the chicken and place back into the oven for a further 10-15 minutes
7. Serve with roasted vegetables and green veg (I’m not ashamed to admit that I LOVE brussel sprouts)

Oaty apple crumble

Ingredients – serves 6
3 Bramley apples
3 English eating apples
42g caster/ granulated sugar
80g sultanas
125g butter
50g soft light brown sugar
25g honey
150g oats
150g plain flour
1½ tsp cinnamon
50g flaked almonds

1. Preheat the oven to 180°c (160°c for a fan oven)
2. Cook the apples with the caster/granulated sugar in a saucepan
3. When cooked and starting to turn mushy, add the raisins and tip the mixture into a deep ovenproof dish
4. Melt the butter, brown sugar and honey in a saucepan. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour, oats, almonds and cinnamon
5. Spread the crumble mixture over the apples
6. Bake for 45 minutes until crunchy and golden
7. Serve with a generous dollop of Devonshire clotted ice cream


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Filed under Matching Wine with Food, Taste Test

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