(Family Features) Fall is the perfect time to welcome warm, robust flavors to your kitchen as well as your wine glass. With its bold, spicy, dark fruit flavors, cabernet sauvignon is a perfect wine for crisp fall weather.
Cabernet sauvignon is more versatile for pairing than some believe. It pairs well with different cheeses, meats, hearty vegetables and even fish. The key to creating a great dining experience is balancing the flavor of the meal with an elegantly balanced wine. When cooking, consider the three main flavors: sweet, salty and sour.
Sweet sauces can make cabernet sauvignon taste harsh and astringent, which takes away from the fresh fruit flavors in the wine. However, sour and salty flavors can make the wine taste more vibrant, creating a velvety mouthfeel of soft tannins while making the fruit taste more pronounced.
A well-balanced cabernet, such as Sequoia Grove Winery’s Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, pairs well with any meat or fish that is prepared with an acidic sauce or when given a squeeze of lemon juice. The winery, located in the heart of the Rutherford region in Napa Valley, specializes in the production of elegant, food-friendly cabernet sauvignon. Crafted by winemaker Molly Hill, the wine has aromatics of bright black cherries and blackberry, followed by cinnamon with a touch of black pepper. The palate is elegant with a round, full body, soft tannins and tasty blackberry flavors.
This recipe for a savory lamb shank stew has just the right amount of salt, acid and spice to create a deliciously balanced meal that is perfect to pair with an elegant glass of cabernet sauvignon. Learn more about Sequoia Grove’s wines and tasting seminars that include pairing suggestions at SequoiaGrove.com.
Slow Cooker Lamb Shank Stew
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2 celery stalks, diced
- 2 carrots, peeled and diced
- 3 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 cups chicken stock
- 1 cup peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 lamb shanks, external fat trimmed
- salt, to taste
- freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- lemon juice
- In slow cooker, combine onion, celery, carrots, garlic, chicken stock, tomatoes, tomato paste, thyme and bay leaf; stir.
- Season lamb shanks with salt and pepper. In large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm olive oil until nearly smoking. Add shanks and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer to slow cooker and cook on high 6 hours.
- Transfer lamb shanks to large serving dish. Remove bay leaf from cooking liquid. Using blender or stick blender, add generous squeeze of lemon juice to cooking liquid and puree until smooth. Pour some sauce over shanks. Serve with cauliflower puree and glass of Sequoia Grove Cabernet Sauvignon.
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Source: Kobrand Wine and Spirits
(Family Features) No matter what the latest taste trend or hot new celebrity-endorsed recipe, you can always count on a few classic home-style standards to make a comeback around this time every year. Typically known as “comfort foods” for their ability to soothe and warm the soul, these familiar dishes not only taste delicious, but also make us feel warm and fuzzy all over — and are especially welcoming during the chill of the colder months. Perhaps Grandma’s famed chicken noodle soup comes to mind, or Dad’s special meatballs with marinara. Maybe it’s Mom’s ultra-gooey, rich mac ’n’ cheese, your own fork-tender pot roast or delicious turkey and stuffing holiday leftovers.
Whatever the dish, though, all comfort foods have one thing in common — we turn to them for relief when we’re tired, stressed, under-the-weather or simply looking for a taste of home. They are typically simple, hearty, uncomplicated meals, informal and inexpensive to prepare, yet immensely satisfying to those lucky enough to be served them.
Three comfort classics that never seem to go out of style are pot roast, shepherd’s pie and beef stroganoff. The recipes included here require no extensive prep or unusual ingredients, so they’re easy to whip up, even on a weeknight.
The slow cooker pot roast offers a particularly convenient alternative to last-minute cooking, since the prep all occurs in the morning, leaving the roast to cook to tender perfection all day. By using some convenient comfort food shortcuts on your ingredient list, such as Heinz® HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy and Wyler’s® Beef Bouillon cubes, you can add an extra layer of flavor to the roast, without the fuss of making gravy from scratch. The pot roast also includes a healthy helping of veggies, so it could easily become a complete meal with fresh bread or a green salad.
If you’re looking for a comfort food that doubles as a one-dish wonder — shepherd’s pie has it all. It includes the meat, vegetables and starch most of us associate with a complete home-style meal. Plus, using prepared Ore-Ida® Mashed Potatoes to top the pie eliminates the laborious task of making mashed potatoes from scratch. Also, if you’re craving a comfort food with some added interest, try this creamy beef stroganoff. It’s simple to make and serves up a delicious plate of savory chunks of beef tenderloin, sautéed mushrooms and steaming noodles. And, if you want to add a little extra flare, try pairing it with a glass of merlot. That’s sure to offer some added warmth and a new level of sophistication.
So, with these simple, home-cooking classics in your culinary arsenal this season, there’s no need to rush out and purchase the latest “cookbook du jour.” Just stick to the basics this season and you’ll be sure to find some classic convenience, comfort and good taste.
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Serves 6 to 8
- 1 pound sirloin steak (cut into thin strips) or 1 pound lean ground beef
- 2 cups (8 ounces) sliced fresh mushrooms
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1/4 cup margarine or butter
- 1 cup water
- 1 tablespoon Wyler’s Beef Flavored Granules or 3 bouillon cubes
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- 8 ounces wide egg noodles, prepared according to package directions
- Chopped parsley, optional
- In large skillet, over medium-high heat, cook and stir steak, mushrooms and onion in margarine until steak is browned and vegetables are tender. Reduce heat to medium. Add flour to thicken, if desired; cook and stir 1 minute. Add water and bouillon; cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in sour cream; heat through. (Do not boil.) Serve with hot noodles. Garnish with parsley if desired.
Slow Cooker Savory Pot Roast
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 8 to 10 hours
Serves 6 to 8
- 3 pounds bottom round beef roast
- 1 Wyler’s Mrs. Grass Reduced Sodium Onion Recipe, Soup and Dip Mix pouch
- 1 jar (12 ounces) Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
- 2 Wyler’s Beef Bouillon Cubes or 2 teaspoons Wyler’s Beef Granules
- 1 can (14 1/2-ounces) diced tomato with basil, garlic and oregano
- 2 cups water
- 3 cups mixed vegetables, such as sliced carrots, cut green beans, diced redskin potatoes, green peas, sliced celery
- In large skillet sprayed with nonstick spray, brown beef over medium-high heat 8 to 10 minutes, turning occasionally.
- Combine soup mix, 1 jar of gravy, bouillon and diced tomato in 5-quart slow cooker. Add water and stir well. Add beef and turn until well coated. Cover and cook on low heat setting 8 to 10 hours, turning occasionally.
- Add mixed vegetables during last 2 hours, stirring occasionally. When vegetables are tender, remove beef from cooker. Slice or shred beef as desired, and serve with vegetables and sauce.
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 to 30 minutes
Serves 4 to 6
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 jar (12 ounces) Heinz HomeStyle Savory Beef Gravy
- 1 package (10 ounces) frozen mixed vegetables, thawed
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 3 cups prepared Ore-Ida Mashed Potatoes
- 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In large skillet, cook ground beef over medium heat until browned and thoroughly cooked. Carefully drain liquids and return to stovetop. Stir in gravy and vegetables and bring to boil.
- Reduce heat and simmer 8 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- While beef mixture is still in skillet, spoon mashed potatoes onto it, forming 8 mounds, and top with cheese. Continue to simmer until potatoes are hot and cheese is melted. Serve immediately.
(Family Features) Slow cookers are a simple, no-nonsense solution to making delicious meals for a family on the go. With minimal prep time, you can walk away and let the slow cooker work its magic – welcoming you home to an aromatic, ready-to-serve dinner. Here are some tips for slow cooker success:
- Brown your meat before you heat. The extra few minutes you take to do so will greatly enhance the flavor of your meal. If you dredge your meat in a little flour before browning, you’ll also get a thicker sauce. While some foods will brown during the cooking process, they won’t have the same color and flavor they get when browned first on the stovetop. If you can find the time for this step, the results are worth it.
- Prioritize your ingredients. Hardy, fresh vegetables such as carrots, potatoes, or turnips for example, cook more slowly than meat. To avoid undercooking these types of veggies, place them on the bottom or sides and the meat on top. Add tender veggies (peas) and strongly flavored veggies like broccoli, cauliflower or onions in the last 15 to 60 minutes. Dairy products like sour cream, milk or yogurt, tend to break down in the slow cooker. To prevent this, add them during the last 15 to 30 minutes of cooking. However, prepared items such as the Bob Evans’ Refrigerated Mashed Potatoes in this recipe can be added at the beginning. Stir in spices for the last hour of cooking. They will lose flavor if cooked with the rest of the ingredients for the duration.
- Resist the urge to stir. Each time you lift the lid to do so, heat escapes, extending the needed cooking time by up to half an hour. Some recipes do instruct you to stir halfway through the cooking process or toward the end, but otherwise it's best to leave the lid closed. To check progress without lifting the lid, spin the cover until the condensation falls off. Then it's easy to see inside.
Here’s a deliciously simple slow cooker recipe from Bob Evans Food Products that your whole family will love:
Slow Cooker Shepherd’s Pie
Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: 4 to 6 hours
Makes 6 servings
- 1 pound Bob Evans Original Recipe Sausage Roll
- 1 24 ounce package Bob Evans Mashed Potatoes
- 2 cups frozen peas and carrots
- 1 12 ounce jar beef gravy
- In medium skillet over medium heat, crumble and cook sausage until brown. Place in slow cooker. Add peas and carrots. Top with mashed potatoes. Pour gravy on top of potatoes. Cover and cook on low 4 to 6 hours.
For more family-friendly slow cooker recipes, visit www.bobevans.com.