Head to the Alps this month with some traditional recipes that pair exquisitely with August’s wines. Post your pics with #barrelroomwineclub so we can see your skills!
Älplermagronen (Alpine Macaroni and Cheese)
Keep it traditional with this comfort recipe. Easy to make, hearty, and delicious!
Makes 8 servings. You’ll likely have leftovers, but it’s even better the next day.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup panko bread crumbs
Pinch kosher salt
1 pound dried tubular pasta, such as elbow macaroni or penne
2 medium-large Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled and cut into large dice
8 slices bacon (6 slices if thick-cut)
1 ½ cups heavy cream (or half and half)
Freshly ground pepper (to taste)
12 ounces raclette (or similar), finely grated
2 tablespoons butter
2 large onions, halved and sliced thinly on the bias
2 teaspoons butter
4 firm red apples, such as Honeycrisp or Braeburn, cored and cut into wedges
½ cup apple cider
1 cinnamon stick, halved
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a large ovenproof casserole dish.
Heat olive oil over medium heat in a skillet until just below smoking point. Add bread crumbs and toast, stirring constantly, until golden brown (this will only take a few minutes). Season with salt and set aside.
Cook pasta in a large pot according to package directions. Drain, but do not rinse. Boil potatoes in salted water separately until just tender, being careful not to overcook them. Drain and add to pasta.
Cut bacon slices into ¼-inch thick strips and fry in a skillet until lightly golden. Drain fat and add cream and pepper to skillet. Bring to a simmer. Pour cream and bacon over pasta and potatoes in pot and mix gently. Layer the mixture alternately with cheese in the casserole dish, ending with cheese. Sprinkle with toasted bread crumbs (reserve any extra crumbs for later use). Bake until golden and bubbly, about 15 minutes, checking at 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, fry onion in butter over medium heat in a large skillet until nicely caramelized, 10-15 minutes. Scatter onions on top of pasta and potatoes.
Serve with sautéed apples.
Melt butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add apples, cider, cinnamon stick halves, and sugar to pan and stir to combine. Cover and simmer until apples begin to soften, about 5 minutes. Remove lid, cook a bit longer to reduce liquid, and serve warm.
Apples can be made a day ahead and refrigerated. Rewarm before serving.
Roast Duck Breast with Berry Balsamic Coulis and Apple Matefaim
This recipe is a bit more challenging, but definitely worth it. A matefaim (translates as kill hunger) is a traditional thick pancake that hails from the Savoie region, made from various combinations of grains, fruit, and root vegetables. Try your hand at your own matefaim!
Makes 4 servings (with extra matefaims). Time consuming, but fun!
For the duck breast
4 (6-ounce) duck breasts
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
For the sauce
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 1/4 cups frozen blueberries, thawed
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon fresh chopped thyme leaves
1 tablespoon rendered duck fat (what’s left at the bottom of the pan once the duck is cooked)
For the matefaim
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 cup milk
3 tbsp oil
For the matefaim (can be made in advance)
In a salad bowl, blend the eggs, half of the sugar and a pinch of salt together using a whisk.
Add the flour and about half of the oil and whisk again. Add the milk cold. Stir hard until the mixture is smooth (no lumps!). Set aside for about two hours.
Peel and core the apples and grate them. Then, add the remaining sugar. Add this to the set pastry and stir.
In a large frying pan, add the remaining oil. When the oil is hot, pour the entire mix into the pan.
For the duck
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Heat a large, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet or a heavy, ovenproof stainless steel pan over medium heat until hot, then turn down to medium-low to sear the duck. While the pan is heating, prepare the duck breast.
Open the duck breast packages over the sink to drain any juices. Place the duck breasts skin side up on a cutting board. Blot any excess moisture from the skin with paper towels. Turn the duck over and trim any excess skin that is beyond the edges of the breast. Turn the duck over again, and with a sharp knife, create a diamond pattern in the duck skin. Slice through the skin, but not into the meat, at about ¼-inch intervals.
When all the duck breasts are sliced, season them with the salt, pepper and granulated garlic. Place the breasts skin side down in the hot pan. They should sizzle as they hit the pan surface. Sear the duck skin until crisp and brown, 6 to 8 minutes. You want a deep golden brown color, but watch for burning. If they start to get dark too quickly, turn the heat down. Searing slowly renders out the fat and crisps the skin.
While the duck is searing, make the sauce (but keep your eye on the duck; peek underneath occasionally to check the color and crispness). Heat the olive oil in a small pan over medium-low heat. Add the shallots and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the chopped garlic and cook 30 seconds longer. Add the blueberries, vinegar and thyme and turn the heat up to medium. Cook the blueberries, stirring, until a juicy sauce starts to form and the vinegar cooks down, 3 to 4 minutes.
When the duck skin is nicely seared to a golden brown, turn the breasts skin side up and place the pan in the preheated oven for 3 to 6 minutes. Timing will depend on the thickness of the duck breasts. Six-ounce breasts will take about 6 minutes; smaller ones will finish faster. Duck breasts should reach an internal temperature of 160°F when measured with a digital thermometer. Remove the pan from the oven and allow the meat to rest for a few minutes before slicing.
Slice the duck breasts crosswise into thin slices. Properly cooked duck will still be pink in the middle. Remove 1 tablespoon of the rendered duck fat from the pan and stir it into the blueberry sauce for added richness. Serve 1 sliced duck breast, with 2 tablespoons of sauce, per person. Serve with matefaim on the side.
Alpine Beef Stew
Rich and flavorful, this Alpine dish can stand up to the bold flavors of Humagne Rouge. And it’s a total crowd pleaser.
Makes 2-4 servings, depending on how large you think a “serving” should be!
1 pound boneless beef short ribs, trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 small onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 tablespoon flour
¼ cup dry red wine
2 cups beef broth
1 dried bay leaf
8 ounces Yukon gold or any yellow potatoes chopped into 1½-inch pieces
2 medium to large carrots, peeled and chopped into 1½-inch pieces
⅓ cup frozen peas, thawed
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Small squeeze of lemon (about 1 teaspoon)
Salt and pepper to taste
4 ounces (⅓ of a 12-ounce package) of wide egg noodles
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
Zest of ½ a lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 300 degrees F. Pat beef dry with paper towels and season with salt and pepper evenly. Heat oil in a medium sized oven safe pot over medium high heat and brown the beef on both sides. Do it in batches if it doesn’t fit. Don’t crowd your pot. Transfer the beef to a bowl. At this point, don’t worry about it being cooked.
Add onion to the pot and cook for 5 minutes, then add garlic and tomato paste, and cook for 30 seconds while stirring. Add flour and cook for 30 seconds more. Slowly add wine while using a whisk to scrape up the brown bits. Add the broth while whisking, then the browned meat, along with any accumulated juices. Bring to a simmer. Cover, and pop into the oven for 1 ½ hours. Add the potatoes and carrots and cook for 1 hour more or until beef and vegetables are tender.
Skim excess fat from the surface of the stew with a spoon. Add peas and stir until warmed. Add a small squeeze of lemon to finish (don't add too much). Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper. Sprinkle with parsley.
Meanwhile, boil the noodles in salted water according to package instructions and drain. Add the noodles back to the pot and melt in the butter while stirring. Season with salt and pepper to taste and sprinkle with parsley. Add to bowls and ladle in beef stew.