Here’s to a Healthier New Year: Two Ways to Cook with Wine

January is definitely a time of reflection and revision, a chance to clear out all the excesses that seem to pile up during the holiday months. Gym memberships are on the rise and most people are looking for ways to cut calories and just generally start this year healthier than they ended the last one.
 
Lots of people even (gasp) take a hiatus from drinking. Now, you might think that being winemakers we would hold this practice anathema, but on the contrary, here at Union we support that 100%. A little break is always a good thing to realign mind, spirit and body. And if this includes a short sojourn into teetotaling, then have at it. But we would be remiss if we didn’t mention there are many other, specifically culinary uses for our wines that will help you stick to your resolutions by making your healthy choices that much more delicious.
 
This week we present two recipes that each employ the use of our Underwood Pinot Noir. The first is an arugula salad with red wine vinaigrette; the second is oven-roasted lentils with red wine and winter vegetables. Both recipes are well rounded, healthy options to bolster your January resolutions.

Arugula Salad with roasted hazelnuts, quinoa, dried apricots, ricotta salata and a red wine vinaigrette 

 

For the salad, you will need:
1 large bunch of Arugula
1 C roasted hazelnuts
1 C cooked quinoa
1/2 C quality dried apricots
1/2 C ricotta salata cheese (or other crumbly salty cheese)
For the vinaigrette, you will need:
6 oz olive oil
2 oz red wine vinegar
2 oz Underwood Pinot Noir
juice of half a lemon
1/4 of a shallot, peeled and diced
1/2 t white sugar
salt and pepper

Kitchen Tip: How to skin hazelnuts

In most supermarket bulk sections, you can buy raw hazelnuts. These come with the skin on them. It’s okay to eat the skin, but much more delicious if most is removed. There is a very simple way to do this. First, roast the hazelnuts in a pan at 350 degrees until they just begin to darken. Let them cool slightly and then, in batches, place the nuts in a rough kitchen towel, vigorously rubbing to remove the skins. Pick out the skinned ones and repeat with all nuts until they are mostly skin free. (Some skin will always remain no matter how diligently you do this.)

Making the vinaigrette

Simply combine all the ingredients in a measuring cup and then transfer to a glass jar for storage. Since there are no eggs or dairy in the vinaigrette, it will stay good for a long time. You can store this in the refrigerator or the pantry. Shake well before using.

To finish the dish, dress the arugula in a bowl with the vinaigrette and then add all the other ingredients. And Voila!

 

Next up….

Oven Roasted Lentils with red wine, thyme and winter vegetables

For the uninitiated, lentils are in the legume family and come in three main color types, black, green and red. I recommend the green for this dish because I find them to be the most hearty. You can boil lentils,  but roasting them in the oven gives them a much richer flavor. (I was personally not a fan of lentils until I discovered this method.)

 

For this recipe, you will need:
1 C dried green lentils
4 C water
1 C Underwood Pinot Noir
4 sprigs fresh thyme
3 medium carrots—cut into chunks
1 large shallot—thinly sliced
2 medium parsnips
1/2 bunch of hearty kale
olive oil
salt & pepper

 

STEP ONE:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. In a metal or ceramic roasting dish, place the lentils, sliced shallot, carrot chunks, and fresh thyme. Drizzle liberally with olive oil, salt and pepper. Place in the oven and roast uncovered for about 25 minutes, stirring every 5-10 minutes.

STEP TWO:
 
While you are roasting the lentils, sauté the parsnips and kale on high heat. You want some color on the parsnips, but do not cook them all the way thru.
STEP THREE:
Remove the pan from the oven. Add roughly 1 cup of the wine and return to the oven, still uncovered. Cook for about 15 minutes or until the wine begins to reduce. Then add the water and cover with tin foil. Cook for about 40 minutes.

 

STEP FOUR:
Remove the tin foil, add the parsnips and kale and return the dish to the oven, cooking uncovered for another 20 minutes or until lentils are tender but not mushy. Add more water if necessary. Remove the thyme, season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

 

Bon Appétit!

 

Photography, Text and Recipes by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

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