Here are the November Wine of the Month Recipes! For November 2023, our wine of the month has been the Frey Organic Cabernet Sauvignon. At the beginning of the month, we sent out some pairing suggestions to compliment this wine’s flavor profile. Then, mid-month, I (Molly Frey, Frey’s social media coordinator) threw a dinner party to celebrate our Cab at my home!
At the dinner, I created a main dish of wild mushroom risotto to be paired with our Frey Cab. I used the Frey Sun and Rain Chardonnay in that recipe. I read up on risotto for the dinner, because I hadn’t prepared it before. I used our graphic designer Nicole’s recipe, which she learned from an Italian restaurant. I read that Italians like to have a side of chicken cooked with white wine and lemon for their risotto, so I prepared chicken breasts with our Chateau Frey Pinot Gris!
The balance the richness of the risotto, I prepared a salad from Mendo Grass’s organic farmer’s market booth. They grow great sprouts! I picked up pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, micro greens, and a jar of their Peasto (pea shoot pesto!) too. Each month at our dinner party, we want to showcase a local organic farmer/producer that’s making something delicious. We incorporated a fresh greens salad into the menu, and the MENDO GRASS greens provided a fresh, delightful palette cleanser after the spoonfuls of creamy, rich, risotto.
As you can see on our table, we have several wines pictured at the dinner, including a picture of the Frey Biodynamic Field Blend. That wine was used in a recipe to create a red wine brownie dessert! However, you’ll simply have to wait for another blog post for the recipe reveal on that delectable dish.
Without further ado, here are the recipes for the Frey November Wine of the Month, Cabernet Sauvignon! We tested out each of these November Wine of the Month recipes at a recent dinner party, and the results were delicious!
First, and foremost, I decided to start playing with creating a cheese/appetizer board. I’ve never made one before, so this was a creative experiment for our wine of the month dinner! We suggest pairing our Cabernet with cheeses, and so I set to making an appetizer that we could nosh on while the other dishes came together. I started with placing the peashoot “Peasto” from Mendo Grass at the center of the board.
We recommend pairing the Cab with Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Goat cheese, Feta, and Parmesan if you’re creating a cheese board to showcase the Cabernet Sauvignon. However, since our dinner presented a very rich risotto (which included a Gouda Parmesan (something I picked up at our local Ukiah Costco location, which also carries Frey Wines), we scaled back the cheese offerings to a few truffle brie rounds (in keeping with the mushroom dinner theme). Instead, we showcased seasonal fruits such as sliced persimmon, whole mandarins, pomegranate seeds, and dried jujubes (from Full Belly Farm!). Green olives in a small bowl added a lovely contrasting color. And I rounded out the board offerings with nuts and crackers.
The sky is really the limit on cheese boards. Although we created an optional chicken side dish, the heart of the menu is vegetarian, so I wanted to create a cheese board (instead of a charcuterie board) for this menu that showcased vegetarian options to pair with the November Wine of the Month.
Here's the Main Course: the Wild Mushroom Risotto & Side Dishes
6 cups stock (chicken or vegetable), preferably homemade. If you need to make more broth because your risotto is soaking it all up, (organic) bouillon works in a pinch to make a flavorful substitute
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (or butter or ghee)
1 large onion, finely chopped
Salt to add as needed
Freshly ground black pepper to add as needed
2 cups arborio rice
1 bottle Frey Sun and Rain Chardonnay (for a larger recipe scaled to 5 cups of rice, I used an entire bottle!)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 pound mixed wild mushrooms (I used chanterelles), thinly sliced (really, as many wild mushrooms as you can find would be excellent!)
1/2 cup-1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano (I actually used a Gouda Parmesan because both those cheese flavors pair well with our Cabernet)
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley for the garnish
In a medium saucepan, bring the stock to a simmer. You’ll want to keep the stock warm-to-hot so that it can be added to the risotto without slowing down the cooking.
In another saucepan, with ample room for your risotto, heat the olive oil (or your favorite cooking oil). Add the chopped onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook over moderate heat, stirring, until the onion begins to be translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the rice and cook, stirring, for 1 minute until the rice is glistening from the oil coating. Add the wine (to cover the rice) and cook, stirring until the alcohol is cooked off and the liquid has been absorbed (about 5 minutes). Add 1 cup of the warm stock and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, until nearly absorbed. Continue adding the stock a cup at a time, continuing to stir pretty constantly. As the risotto absorbs the broth, you can add another cup. The risotto is done when the rice is al dente and suspended in a thick, creamy sauce, about 20-30 minutes total. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet, melt the butter. I added my cleaned and chopped mushrooms to sauté over moderately high heat. Add salt, remove from heat, and add to the risotto pot.
Add the cheese to the risotto, stirring until the mushrooms and cheese are evenly distributed and the cheese has melted into the risotto. Serve!
If you eat meat, you may enjoy a side of chicken to accompany your risotto. In the same pan that I had prepared the wild mushrooms in (with lingering bits of flavorful butter and mushroom yum) I added the chicken breasts on medium heat. I covered the chicken breasts in our Biodynamic Chateau Frey Pinot Gris, added some salt, and let the flavors combine. I flipped the breasts once during the cooking (about 10 minutes on each side). Then, when you slice into the chicken, make sure it has cooked all the way through. Different breast sizes will cook at different rates. Before you remove the chicken from heat, add the juice of one lemon, and let that flavor absorb too.
I hosted the Wine of the Month Dinner Party on a Sunday evening. The Saturday before I went to the Ukiah Farmer’s Market to pick up fresh greens from Mendo Grass. Adam Goldberg and Amanda Tuttle are the purveyors of an organic greens business called Mendo Grass! I usually get their greens every week for my own home, so when I started crafting this dinner, I knew that they would have just the thing for the counterpoint side dish to the risotto.
I picked up a large container of pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, micro greens, and a pint of their pea shoot “Peasto”. I placed the peasto at the center of my first-ever cheese board! For the salad, Daphne (who works in the office) assembled the mixture of the greens. I also have a lot of baby kale growing in my garden right now, so we added a handful of those to the mix as well. The key to this salad was its mild, fresh flavor. All the young greens are tender and balance the risotto richness perfectly. We garnished the salad with some cucumbers (truly the last of the season) and pomegranate seeds. The salad dressing was a simple olive oil and balsamic vinegar blend with a splash of maple syrup and a dash of salt.
All of the dishes from our November Wine of the Month were absolutely delicious, and if you want to try your hand at any of them, our Frey Organic Cabernet Sauvignon is the Wine of the Month for the rest of November. That means that you can purchase 4 or more bottles of the 2021 Cab in our online wine shop (link to Freywine.com wine shop) with the promo code "WOTM20" until the end of November to get 20% off your order. We look forward to sharing more Wine of the Month dinner posts, as these events have been really lovely ways for us to bring together Frey wine and fine dining! Look out for our Field Blend Brownies too, coming up soon in their very own blog post. Our next Wine of the Month dinner soirée happens in December, when we’ll be meeting on the Mendocino Coast; check out our monthly Wine of the Month recipe blog where we'll share in-season favorite dishes, feature a local farmer/producer, and pair the menu with our Frey Wine of the Month!
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