“Best of” Recipe & Wine Pairings—January 2021

The holidays are over, 2020 is, thankfully, gone, and we are beginning a new year with great hopes for a happy, well year ahead for all. As much as I thought about highlighting a “comfort food” recipe to gently ease into the new year, the more I thought about it, I thought that it’s time to change it up and bring the new year in with amazing, fresh flavors and, to put it bluntly, a kick in the a** and the taste buds.

In November of 2019, Big Reds were featured at the Mini-Tasting, with the following three wines taking the top spots:

· 1st 2015 Mount Peak Zinfandel, Rattlesnake Vineyard, Sonoma

· 2nd NV Locations CA-7, Red Blend

· 3rd 2016 Jaffurs Petite Sirah, Santa Barbara County

With winning dishes such as Dino Amico’s Chicken Scarpariello with Pickled Peppers at the Kawai home, to June and Vince Porto’s BBQ Pepper Flank Steak at the home of Judy and Bob Koeblitz; and Zinfandel Braised Short Ribs ala Mary Giedzinski at Shelly and Ed Trainor’s place to desserts such as Mary Mulcahey’s Brownies at the home of Chris and Hank Bruce and Bread Pudding ala Rich Skoczylas at John and Denise Scandura’s, it was a slam dunk for me when I got to the Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup prepared by Laurie Preus. I thought, how lucky were the attendees at Cathy and Greg Risling’s home to taste that dish with luscious red wines? I only wish I’d been there! I sat down to write this article and opened a delicious Malbec and, while salivating through this writing, thought I’m putting my hand to this recipe just as soon as possible. 

For those of you with an adventurous spirit and palette, I hope you join me in attempting this award-winning recipe to help welcome in the new year with a flair. Thanks, Laurie!

Thai Curry Pumpkin Soup

1T olive oil

1/2 tsp turmeric

1 small onion diced

1 (15 oz) can pumpkin
3T Thai red curry paste
1 (13.5 oz) can coconut milk full fat

1T grated garlic

2 cups vegetable stock

1T grated fresh ginger

2T lime juice

2 stalks fresh lemongrass smashed

Cilantro chopped

1T chili garlic sauce

Pumpkin seeds

1 tsp curry powder

Salt to taste

Heat oil, add onions and sauté 5 minutes till soft. Add curry paste, garlic, fresh ginger, chili garlic sauce, curry powder, and turmeric. Mix to combine. Add smashed lemongrass, pumpkin, and stock. Bring to a boil then reduce heat  and simmer 20 minutes. Add coconut milk and lime juice and salt to taste. Remove smashed lemongrass. Wait 10 minutes then transfer to blender or use immersion blender and make smooth. Garnish with chopped cilantro and pumpkin seeds.

– Fran Gitsham, Contributing Writer