The other day we were driving from Portland and were delighted to see a field of bright orange baby pumpkins. The new season is upon us and with it comes the flavors we reserve for cooler days. There is something about the colors, smells, and tastes of fall that get us revved up and ready to cook. Pumpkins, squash, apples and spice we have missed you. So were are excited that this month, we and our fellow wine pairing weekend bloggers ( #winepw ) are experimenting with fall flavors.
We are lucky that our CSA with Pitchfork and Crow continues until Thanksgiving. This week’s basket included a huge dark yellow spaghetti squash, collards, onion, and cherry tomatoes. We also just picked up our pork share. Following a brisk afternoon walk through crunchy leaves, it is time for a hearty soup and seasonal bread. A recipe is brewing.
|Photo and Veggie Credit to Pitchfork and Crow|
- 1 large spaghetti squash (ours was 5 lbs)
- 1 lb. of ground sausage (ours was spicy)
- 1 medium onion
- 2 tsp. cinnamon, cumin, coriander
- ½ tsp. red pepper powder (We like it spicy! Reduce if you do not)
- 1 tsp. salt and ½ tsp. black pepper – or to taste
- 1½ to 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 small bunch of collards
- cherry tomatoes
- olive oil
- Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out squash guts and seeds. Bake cut side down on a lightly oiled aluminum foil lined baking sheet. Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes at 350 or until soft. When squash is cool enough to handle scoop out the baked flesh and puree in a blender with a little of the chicken stock. Brown sausage in a large soup pot. Add spices and onion. (If sausage has rendered too much fat, remove some before adding spice and onion. Our sausage was locally, humanely raised and was very lean.) Add pureed squash and rest of chicken stock to the soup pot. Bring to a high simmer, then lower heat and simmer covered for 30 minutes.
- We don’t like slimy greens. To keep our greens chewy and a little crunchy first we cut them into strips. To do this we remove the central steam, stack the leaves, roll them like a cigar, and slice thinly. Heat a small amount of olive oil in a cast iron skillet (enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan.) Toss the collard strips in the hot pan until they turn a brighter green. You will need two hand fulls for each soup bowl as the greens will shrink. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add whole cherry tomatoes (4 – 6 per soup bowl). Cover the skillet with a lid and turn off the heat. The tomatoes will steam.
- Ladle soup into bowls and top with garnishes.
|We grow ’em big in Oregon|
Our favorite soup side? Cornbread. We wanted a spicy fall twist and luckily had some pumpkin puree preserved from last year.
- 1½ cups corn meal
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- Pinch of baking soda
- ½ tsp. salt
- 1 heaping Tbs. whole wheat flour
- 2 Tbs. light brown sugar
- 1 tsp. powdered ginger
- ½ tsp. powered all spice
- 1 egg
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- 1 cup milk
- 1 Tbs. butter for skillet
- Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. Add egg and pumpkin puree. Stir with spatula to combine. Stir in milk. Then preheat oven to 425 with a 12 inch cast iron skillet inside. The secret to making cornbread with a crusty outer layer is a hot cast iron skillet and batter that has rested about 15 minutes. Remove the skillet from the oven. Put a tablespoon of butter and distribute to cover bottom of pan as it melts. Spoon in batter and bake approximately 20 minutes.
This menu full of flavor and spice called for a wine that offers the same. We chose McKinley Springs 2010 Bombing Range Red. We had recently visited with owners/winemakers Doug and Sandy Rowell in Washington state where they live, farm, and ferment. One of the pioneering wine families in Horse Heaven Hills, they are full of great stories. Bombing Range Red is a tribute to U.S. troops and tells an interesting story about the vineyard. During WWII their farmland was used as a training ground for U.S. fighter pilots. Notice the U.S. P-40 Hawk fighter plane on the label.
Overall we find the wines of Horse Heaven Hills to be well balanced with wonderfully integrated tannins and the perfect personality to play well with dinner. Bombing Range Red is no exception. A blend of 56% Syrah, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Mourvedre, this wine offered a bright blend of red, blue and purple fruits with baking spices and a little black pepper.
At the end of our meal we turned this:
But we will save that for another post.
Wine Pairing Weekend #5 Bloggers
Here’s what all of the bloggers have created for the October Wine Pairing Weekend!
On the Menu…