Monday, November 19, 2007

Holiday Wine and Food Survival Strategy #1: Leftovers and Sauvignon Blanc

It's officially "holiday season." This week marks the beginning of it, and it won't end until 2008. OK, early in 2008. But still. On the list of things that are both joyful and stressful about the holiday season we find food and wine. What to eat, how much to eat, and what to drink with it is such an issue that my traffic triples between November 1 and January 1 with people looking for gifts, menus, and food and wine advice. So what stresses me out during the holidays and how do I cope?

First up: leftovers. I find leftovers stressful. They sit in the fridge chiding me for buying too much food. As they turn green, they chide me for not eating them more quickly. And whatever the leftovers are, I'm usually bored with them--that's why they turn green.

The answer is a 30-minute pot pie courtesy of Rachael Ray. (photo courtesy of FoodNetwork) Even if you normally turn away from Ms. Ray's culinary creations, do not do that now. This is not any old pot pie. No fiddly crusts, no poufy puff pastry from the freezer. We're talking rich, comforting, and creamy pot pies with tiny little peas, carrots (of course), chunks of chicken or turkey, fresh tarragon snipped into the sauce, and then a layer of cheesy polenta on the top. Ms. Ray requests freshly browned chicken bits, but chunks of cooked, leftover bird would be just perfect. This layered beauty gets put in one or several oven proof containers and run under the broiler for a few minutes to get brown and bubbly. Voila. Perfectly unrecognizable leftovers, suitable for immediate eating, for sticking in the fridge and taking out after you get back from the mall so you can warm it in the microwave, and even for sticking in the freezer and warming up on a snow-day when you can't leave the house. I'm fond of single-serving pot-pies that you can do in oven-proof soup bowls or ramekins, but you can certainly make one giant one if you wish.

A great wine that doesn't cost too much and goes with practically everything will only increase your odds of holiday survival. A perfect partner for the pot-pie (and scores of other foods to numerous to mention) is the very good QPR 2006 St. Supery Sauvignon Blanc. I received this from the winery as a sample, but you can easily get yours for between $12-$20. This California sauvignon blanc is made with a nod to New Zealand's Cloudy Bay, but because it possesses Napa Valley fruit it is rounder and riper. Aromas of pink grapefruit, lemon, and chalk are juicy and fresh and very enticing. Flavors of pink grapefruit, apple, and mineral are the perfect follow-through to these aromas. I found the mineral note very distinctive, and it made the wine really stand out for me. Furthermore, this wine was rich and medium-bodied, but not oaky. This proves that you don't have to reach for the oak if you want a fuller sauvignon blanc. This was well-made and a definite rebuy as far as I was concerned.

With potpies and sauvignon blanc waiting in the wings, I am confident I will survive. At least until next Sunday!


Anonymous said...

Any survival strategy that involves savory comfort food coming out of the oven and St. Supery SB is a good one! Nice take on the upcoming holiday stress, and excellent advice.

Keep them coming!

Sonadora said...

Sounds like an excellent plan. We ate our turkey for two weeks last year. It got made into soup, pot pies, croquets, sandwiches, and I believe even omlettes one night....we were desperate. Though this seems like a great twist with the polenta on top.

Anonymous said...

sort of beside the point but I love those bowls...are they iittala or something???

Jeff said...

I love the idea. I can't stand to eat leftovers in their original form. If I don't turn them into something different, I just end up throwing them out.

Dr. Debs said...

I'm telling you, these are mighty fine pot pies. Even one pot pie skeptic was convinced. And Sonadora's right: the polenta is the kicker. Try them Jeff! And Jill, those are little Finnish iittala bowls. I am terrified to put mine in the oven though you can because they were bought in Finland and remind me of freezing my a$$ off there in March so I used plain white #4 souffle dishes. If you are interested in the iittala dishes, there is a complete set, complete with (my favorite) egg cups for your breakfasts!

foodette said...

You're right - that does sound good! (And much better than her deviled ham recipe I wrote about on my blog, lol.) I am also planning on making turkey pot pie (and now am thinking of replacing the crust with polenta) and turkey enchiladas. The leftovers may be better than the real thing!