Rhone-Style Red Wine with Bistro Jeanty’s Tomato Soup

Many of my suggested wine-and-food pairings are discoveries I’ve made after trying them at some of my favorite eateries.  While this may seem like an open-court layup, you’d be surprised how often such pairings fail to inspire much more than a shrug.  Not so with Bistro Jeanty, whose tomato soup is a great side for a robust grilled cheese sammy!

Bistro Jeanty

INGREDIENTS (Serves 6)
1/2 Stick (+ 1 TBSP) unsalted butter 1 1/2 Tbsp Tomato Paste
1 Yellow onion, peeled, halved and sliced 1 1/2 Lbs Ripe tomatoes, cored and quartered
3 Cloves garlic, minced 2 Cups (1 Pint) Heavy cream
1/2 Bay leaf 2 Pinches Ground white pepper
1 Scant tsp whole black peppercorns Salt to taste
1/2 tsp Thyme 1 Package frozen Puff Pastry
  1 Egg beaten with ½ Tbsp water

Preparation

In large stockpot over medium-low heat, melt the half stick of butter. Add onions, garlic, bay leaves, peppercorns and thyme. Cover; cook 5 minutes or until onions are soft (do not let brown.)

Bistro Jeanty Tomato Soup

Add tomato paste; cook gently, stirring, 2 to 3 minutes. Add tomatoes and if needed, 1/4 cup of water (only if tomatoes are not ripe and juicy). Simmer over low heat 30-40 minutes, or until tomatoes and onions are very soft.  Purée through food mill (Phillipe Jeanty prefers a food mill, but a stick blender followed by straining with mesh sieve are just fine).

Return soup to stockpot and add cream, pepper and remaining butter; season with salt. Bring to simmer. Remove from heat and refrigerate until cooled completely.  Divide soup among six 8-oz. ramekins, soup cups or bowls.

Roll puff pastry to 1/4-inch thickness and cut 6 roughly round shapes slightly larger than the tops of bowls you’ve chosen. Paint the rounds with egg wash and place, washed-side down, over the cups, making sure the soup does not touch pastry. Press overhanging dough against sides of cups, pulling lightly to make a taut lid. (Can be assembled 24 hours in advance if refrigerated and covered.)  Cut unused pastry into strips for dipping – roll in coarse salt, herbs, or Parmesan for added flavor.

To serve, lightly paint top of dough with egg wash. Bake at 450F 10-15 minutes or until dough is puffed and browned (do not open oven in first several minutes of cooking to prevent dough from falling).  Bistro Jeanty is in Napa Valley’s Yountville.  You must eat there on your next visit!  http://bistrojeanty.com/

Eileen’s “Dead Easy” Leg of Lamb

My wife and I enjoy a wide variety of people, but especially those who appreciate good food.  This dish always reminds us of Jeff & Eileen, our two foodie friends who introduced us to it, and it to us.

Their recipe works on many levels – it’s dead easy and affordable, it fills the house with the enticing aromas of garlic and Rosemary, and it tastes fantastic.

This highly seasoned dish calls for an earthy red wine, though frankly, it’s not that picky about what type – a wide variety of varietals will compliment this warm winter dish.  Try a Monastrell (AKA Mourvedre), a good red from the North of Italy, or a cool-climate pinot noir.

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Ingredients
3 ½ – 4 lbs bone-in leg of lamb
2-3 Cloves garlic, peeled
1 Oz Sea salt
1 Tbsp olive oil
3-5 Rosemary sprigs,about 6 inches long

Procedure
Pre-heat oven to 375℉.  Using the flat side of a broad knife (or any convenient and flat surface) smash the garlic on your cutting board.  Using the oil and salt as grit, chop and mash the garlic into a paste, then spread evenly on lamb and rub.  Place the meat on a wire rack in a roasting pan (OK, do as I say, not as done in the photo!) with about an inch of water and the Rosemary sprigs in the bottom of the pan.  Put in oven and set timer 15 minutes per pound plus 15 minutes (ex. – a 4 pound roast would get 4 X 15 = 60, plus the extra 15 = 1 hour, 15 minutes).  This simple timing formula produces a roast leg with a nicely pink center and some nice crusty bits at the ends for those who prefer their meat with less (or no) color.  Remove from oven, cover, and allow to sit for 15 minutes before carving.

Serve with roasted potatoes and a green vegetable.  Pairs well with a variety of red wines, though I prefer those with a bit of earthiness, such as pinotnoir, Mourvedre (Monastrell),  or most red wines of Northern Italy.

Cheers!
Dave the Wine Merchant