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wine

 “Pie makes everybody happy.”
Laurie Halse Anderson

These Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies were waiting to happen for really really long. I haven’t made a chicken pot pie in years, and it’s the one thing that is oft requested by the kids. Maybe it was pure ‘make the pastry’ laziness, or just too much to do, it just kept getting postponed. Then yesterday, these very comforting pot pies puffed up in the oven. Funnily enough, the impetus came from a bottle of wine!

The Chardonnay from Big Banyan Wines sat calling my name. I’ve read about wine marinades for poultry and lamb, and the idea is always intriguing. I had some chicken waiting for a marinade, and one thing led to another. Soon I had a concoction in a bottle, a wine marinade/dressing! The rest of the partners in crime in the Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies were staple favourites like garlic, thyme and cheese, and seasonal favourites carrots and kohlrabi. Sweetcorn too.I use a basic marinade most of the time and various permutations and combinations of it depending on time, and then mood of course. A 3:1 extra virgin olive oil and lime juice always works well to begin with. Garlic is a must in my food, so naturally the same follows for dressings. I always have a jar of peeled garlic in the fridge because I do believe freshly minced garlic offers the best flavour. Then I add and subtract pantry basics at will. Honey and mustard add a nice touch to vinaigrette, as do dried herbs. Remember to gently rub the herbs between the palms of your hands to make the flavours come alive a little more. You could always add a dash of Tabasco or then roasted chili flakes. As I said, I do keep my food simple and basic. This time I decided to go with wine instead of the lime juice for the marinade. It’s the same way that you can use a vinegar instead of lime juice. Time is a great luxury. It allows you to endlessly play around with ingredients, also endlessly shoot images if you enjoy that. That is just what I did.The rest was quite straightforward. I made a wholewheat rough puff pastry dough for Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies. Tossed the idea back and forth. Did I want a ‘pot pie’ or did I want a crossover pastry? It’s tough when you get caught in the middle of silly indecision like this. A little wine always helps to clear the mind, which it certainly did! Some in a glass, some in the marinade and it was pot pie with a tiny lattice on top.

There is something intrinsically therapeutic about weaving a lattice for a pie if you know what I mean. Even the unbaked version feels so rewarding it’s amazing. Revising pastry weaving after what feels like ages, I was a bit unsure. However once I began, I felt I could practically weave the world! Happily enough, my wholewheat puff pastry also behaved really well. The result, a bowl scraping good delicious Cheesy Chicken Pot Pie!

 

Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies
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With a filling of chicken marinated with @bigbanyanwines, carrots, kohlrabi and cheese of course, these Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies turned out wickedly good! Did I tell you that the rough puff pastry is wholegrain? Yes it is and worked very well especially with the wine marinated chicken.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
With a filling of chicken marinated with @bigbanyanwines, carrots, kohlrabi and cheese of course, these Cheesy Chicken Pot Pies turned out wickedly good! Did I tell you that the rough puff pastry is wholegrain? Yes it is and worked very well especially with the wine marinated chicken.
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Servings Prep Time
4 people 30 minutes
Cook Time
30 minutes
Ingredients
Filling
Servings: people
Instructions
Marinade
  1. Marinade: Place in a bottle and shake well. Use as required.
Filling
  1. Take approximately 1/2 cup of the dressing and marinate the thighs for a couple of hours, preferably overnight.
  2. Place flat in a heavy bottom pan over medium high heat and cook until done, turning once. Reserve pan juices if any.
  3. Remove the cooked chicken from the pan, chop up and reserve.
  4. Wipe down same pan, and heat 1 tbsp clarified butter.
  5. Add garlic, garlic greens, roasted red chili flakes, dried thyme and onions to it.
  6. Saute until fragrant. Add the carrots and kohlrabi and give it a good stir. Then add 1 tbsp plain flour and give it another good stir.
  7. Lower heat to minimum, and pour in pan juices if any and 1/2 to 3/4 cup of whole milk, stirring constantly. Increase heat and continue to stir until the sauce thickens.
  8. Add chicken and sweetcorn. Taste and adjust seasoning. Take off heat and stir in grated cheese.
  9. Divide into 4 X 4" baking dishes. Allow to cool.
  10. Preheat oven to 200C.
  11. Divide the chilled pastry into two. Work with one half at a time, keeping the other covered and chilled.
  12. Roll out into a long thin 12" by 6" rectangle. Cut into strips with a fluted pastry cutter and weave a lattice on top of one bowl then another. Repeat with the remaining dough to make a lattice for the other two pies.{Can be readied until this, cling-wrapped and chilled. Pop into the oven just before the meal}
  13. Reduce heat to 180C and bake for 30 minutes until the lattice is crisp.
  14. Serve immediately or at room temperature.
Pastry
  1. Sift the flours and salt. Grate 80g of the frozen butter into this and mix lightly.Add the lime juice and enough chilled water using a knife, stir the flour and water together until a dough begins to form. Now use your hands to bring it into a ball {You might need a little more water}. Press into a neat square, wrap it in cling film, and chill for 30 minutes.
  2. Roll out on a lightly floured surface into a rectangle with a long edge 3 times its width. Grate the remaining butter and spread it evenly over 2/3rds of the rectangle.Take the third which is not sprinkled, and fold it over the middle of the buttered part, then fold the two layers over the remaining single layer. You will be left with 3 layers of pastry and 2 layers of butter separating them.
  3. Turn the pastry by 90 degrees. Dust with flour and roll out into same proportions as first rectangle.Take one of the short sides and fold it over to reach the middle of the remaining part of the pastry. Fold the remaining third on top of the first one to get 3 layers on top of each other. Wrap pastry in cling film and chill for 30 minutes.
  4. Repeat again 2 more times, and chill for at least an hour. The pastry will keep in the fridge for 4 days, and in the freezer for a month.
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“Wine is just a conversation waiting to happen.”
Jessica Altieri

Smoky Baked Mushroom Cheese Dip is a definite crowd pleaser, and a great addition to the holiday table. Smoky Gouda, wine simmered mushrooms, garlic and fresh thyme make one of the best cheesy dips ever. Baked briefly under a hot grill until the cheese melts into gooey goodnes. Serve immediately with simple crusty artisan bread to soak up the wine juices and deliciously flavoured cheese.Think of cooking with wine and the mind often wanders into the sweet tooth territory. As much as I love working with wine in bakes and desserts, my taste buds are definitely savoury. Begin to explore savoury options with wine and suddenly new avenues open up. The list seems endless. Here’s one super quick, simple  and absolutely delicious recipe to stir up with wine. I used a really nice crisp Sauvignon  Blanc from Big Banyan Wines, and baked a rustic garlic and thyme bread to serve with it. You can pretty much use a store bought crusty artisan bread. They are great to mop up the juices with! The mushrooms and bell pepper browned in clarified butter, with a dash of Worcestershire sauce simmered in wine add earthy rustic flavour to the dish. With generous smoky cheese added to it, you can expect magic to happen. Make sure you use quality ingredients including a good quality wine. That is the secret of any good recipe!To begin with, the Sauvignon Blanc itself is really nice, one of the better Indian white wines I have to say. Crisp, delicately flavoured and very fresh! The whiff of green bell pepper undertones complimented the Smoky Baked Mushroom Cheese Dip really nicely. The dip is like a fondue; quite popular during winter. Try and bake it in a cast iron pan since the pan retains heat for longer, keeping the cheese nice and gooey. The other good thing about cast iron pans is that they can be popped back into the oven to reheat if the dip gets cold.In the unlikely event that you have some Smoky Baked Mushroom Cheese Dip leftovers, make a grilled panini sandwich with it, layering it with fillings you enjoy. Then sit back and enjoy the deep moorish flavours that tease the palate. It’s really that addictive, like a pizza in a sandwich!The wine would work well in a creamy pasta sauce, also as a marinade for chicken. Another great option is to make a Queso Fundido using wine instead of vodka. Then a step further a Queso Flameado, a dish of hot melted cheese and spicy chorizo that is often served flambé. Often compared to cheese fondue, this is a party dish and a popular appetizer.

What is your favourite way to cook with wine?

Smoky Baked Mushroom Cheese Dip
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
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Smoky Gouda, wine simmered mushrooms, garlic and fresh thyme make one of the best cheesy dips ever. Baked briefly under a hot grill until the cheese melts into gooey goodness, serve immeditaley with home baked bread or a crusty bread to soak up the wine juices and deliciously flavoured cheese.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Smoky Baked Mushroom Cheese Dip
BigOven - Save recipe or add to grocery list
Yum
Print Recipe
Smoky Gouda, wine simmered mushrooms, garlic and fresh thyme make one of the best cheesy dips ever. Baked briefly under a hot grill until the cheese melts into gooey goodness, serve immeditaley with home baked bread or a crusty bread to soak up the wine juices and deliciously flavoured cheese.
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Servings Prep Time
3-4 people 5 minutes
Cook Time
20 minutes
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven, top element only to 180C.
  2. In a heavy bottomed pan, melt the clarified butter with olive oil. Add the chopped garlic and thyme. Saute until fragrant. Add the mushrooms and finely chopped bell peppers. Saute until the mushrooms are brown and add a splash of Worcestershire sauce.
  3. Add the wine and sprigs of fresh thyme. Increase the heat and allow the wine to reduce by half. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Now add the grated cheese and stir to allow it to melt slightly, allowing the wine and cheese to somewhat combine.
  4. Once done, transfer into a cast iron pan and place in oven. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese has melted and is nice and bubbly.
  5. Gently remove from oven, and serve immediately with crusty bread and Sauvignon Blanc from Big Banyan Wines.
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Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan Wines“Cake is happiness! If you know the way of the cake, you know the way of happiness! If you have a cake in front of you, you should not look any further for joy!”
C. JoyBell C

Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau … because when a smooth, indulgent dessert wine arrives, you have to do something special with it. These were thoughts that ran through my head when the well packaged bottles of Bellissima and Rosa Rossa arrived from Big Banyan.With Christmas around the corner, my flavours and colours were pretty much sorted out. I knew what I wanted to bake. Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesIt was going to be a flourless fallen gateau, it was definitely going to have dessert wine, and the top would have strawberries. Well it all kind of fell into place. I had bought a ton of strawberries a few days ago and planned to make a preserve. Then along came dessert wine. Why not a strawberry wine jam? With winter here, spices are part and parcel of almost everything I do, so I settled for a spicy Strawberry Wine Jam. Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen GateauIt came out deliciously wicked. It’s great on toast and in lindzer cookies, fabulous to make dark chooclate truffles with, and makes for a much appreciated holiday gift as well. Strawberry jam is the easiest to make. You basically just cook it down to a nice chunky consistency, discard the whole spices, and bottle the jam. Dollop it over waffles, ice cream, onto parfaits, over breakfast oats … you will love it!

Spiced Strawberry Wine Jam Jam done. That was so easy. Strawberry Wine Jam Big Banyan WinesWhen the jar of wine jam says time for cake, it’s time to bake!! This is one of the simplest gateaus you can bake. Don’t get misled by the long list of ingredients. It comes together really fast and is a fuss free, chocolaty, fudgy gluten free cake. The ingredients should all be good quality because that’s what makes the cake special. Dessert wine and spiced strawberry wine jam added oodles of oomph to it. Subtle undertones of sweet strawberry and a hint of wine make this special. It’s called a fallen gateau because it rises quite normally while baking, then collapses most dramatically.

Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesI love the crater the so called collapse causes because that becomes ‘ground‘ for filling. An ugly duckling, rustic cake, moorish to boot, gets a snazzy dressing up. Christmas is here so it’s red, white and green. Chocolate pairs really beautifully with wine and fruit, so this was going to be a winning combination. The almond cream added further indulgence. Then came the ruby red, bursting with flavour, spicy strawberry wine jam topping that was literally the icing on the cake.

Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesDid I forget to mention the chewy meringue top studded with pistachios? Yes, you can taste that as well as you savour every rich bite of this chocolaty wine goodness. It might seem tempting to skip the step, but I urge you not to. It’s small things like this that add to the final delight. We loved every little detail of this cake so much, I am going to bake it again soon. This is my new favourite cake that was created all thanks to some fabulous wine from Big Banyan.Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen GateauI have to give the wine full marks. I’d heard the buzz about the wine here and there, and it more than lived up to my our expectations. I might not be a connoisseur, but yes, can tell a good wine. The dessert wine glowed a beautiful gold, while the Rosé  blushed a beautiful cherry pink. I am quite partial to sweet dessert wines. The Bellissima was my first love with sensual smooth hints of apricot, pears, walnuts and raisins; so exotic in my opinion. Like liquid gold.Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan WinesThe Rosé got the better halves vote. With the acidity just right, whiffs of freshness and smooth flavour, this wine was good! I couldn’t stop clicking the wine. It added great festive cheer to my food and frame. As I have learnt, if the ingredients are good, you love the process, and then turn out amazing goodness. This is just what happened.Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau, Big Banyan Wines

Do serve some wine with the Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau. It completes the experience!

Recipe: Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau
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A deeply indulgent, satisfying flourless {read glutenfree} dark chocolate cake that celebrates the best of the holiday season. Sweetened with dessert wine and strawberry wine jam, festival baking doesn’t get better than this Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau with a strawberry wine jam topping. A cake for Christmas! Serves 8-10

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes {plus cooling time}
Ingredients:

  • Strawberry Wine Jam
  • 400g strawberries, diced
  • 100ml Big Banyan Dessert Wine
  • 75-100g brown sugar
    Juice of 1 lime
  • 2 star anise
  • 1 stick cinnamon
  • 4-5 cloves
  • Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau
  • 250g dark couverture chocolate
  • 100ml Dessert wine
  • 35g strawberry wine jam
  • 3egg yolks
  • 3 egg whites
  • Pinch cream of tartar
  • 175g brown sugar {100+75g divided}
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 50g almond meal
  • 25g pistachios, blanched, peeled
  • Strawberry Wine Jam Topping
  • 100g cream, chilled
  • 25g icing sugar
  • 3-4 drops almond extract
  • 100gm strawberries, quartered
  • 25g brown sugar
  • 2 tsp strawberry wine jam

Method:

  1. Strawberry Wine Jam
  2. Place all ingredients in a heavy bottom sauce pan, and simmer gently for about 30 minutes until the strawberries are soft and the consistency is a little thick and jam like. {It will thicken a little more as it cools}
  3. Cool, discard the whole spices and transfer to a jar.
  4. Chocolate Berry Wine Fallen Gateau
  5. Preheat oven to 180C. Line the base and sides of a tall 7″ round spring form baking tin with parchment paper.
  6. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl and microwave for 1 minute on high, until the chocolate has almost melted {else melt over a double boiler} Stir until smooth, and then stir in the dessert wine and strawberry jam.
  7. Beat egg whites with 75g brown sugar and cream of tartar to stiff peaks.
  8. Place egg yolks with remaining 100g brown sugar and vanilla extract and whisk to mix. Whisk n the melted chocolate-berry mix. Fold in the almond meal.
  9. Reserve 1/2 cup of the beaten egg whites for topping if desired.
  10. Add 2-3 tbsp of the beaten egg whites to the chocolate mixture and fold in gently. Add the remaining beaten egg whites in two lots, gently folding into the batter so that the air is not released.
  11. With an offset spatula, spread the reserved beaten egg white mixture over the top of the cake. Sprinkle over the pistachios.
  12. Bake at 180C for approximately an hour, until done. The cake will fall as it cools.
  13. Cool in tin until cooled completely, then gently peel off parchment and transfer to serving platter. {I cooled it in the fridge overnight as I find the flavours mature really well. Take out of fridge half an hour before serving}
  14. Top with whipped almond cream, and strawberry wine jam topping {Recipe follows}
  15. Almond whipped cream
  16. Whip the cream with icing sugar and almond extract until medium peaks form. Fill the fallen gateau cavity with it.
  17. Strawberry Wine Jam Topping
  18. Place quartered strawberries in a heavy bottom pan with brown sugar. Simmer for 2-3 minutes until the strawberries just begin to soften. Add the wine jam and stir well until the topping is nice and glossy, a minute. Cool and chill. {Can be made a day ahead}
  19. Note: Is a great on parfaits, ice cream, fresh waffles etc too

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