Fall has Arrived
"Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall." — F. Scott Fitzgerald
With the change of season, it is likely you have begun to dress slightly warmer and are starting to eat slightly heartier. With these changes it is also likely you are looking a little closer at red wine to sip or accompany your meal. Here is a pairing that celebrates the end of summers bounty, and a red wine to warm you.
Penedo Borges Reserve Malbec 2013
This wine is made from 85% Malbec, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and, 5% Syrah, Maturation: 10 months in French and American oak Barrels, and 8 months in the bottle. This wine has a dark violet color, with aromas of plum, dark berries and a touch of sweet vanilla and spice. Medium in body the wine has a soft mouth feel with flavors of just-ripe dark fruits with slight spice, accompanied by a subtle coffee note and plum jam. Soft tannins lead you to a soft finish that lingers, just for a while. This is a really good wine choice to transition into fall winter, and it pairs super well with this dish.
Sweet Corn Polenta with Eggplant Sauce
What you will need:
Most of the ingredients are still at local farmers markets and fresh always tastes better.
Eggplant Sauce - 2/3 cup vegetable oil, 1 medium eggplant, cut into 3/4-inch dice, 2 tsp tomato paste, 1/4 cup white wine (Cork recommends UBY), 1 cup chopped peeled tomatoes(fresh or canned), 6 1/2 tbsp water, 1/2 tsp honey, 1 tbsp chopped oregano.
For the Polenta: 6 ears of fresh corn, 2 1/4 cups water, 3 tbsp diced butter, 7 oz feta crumbled, or shredded parmesan, 1/4 tsp salt, black pepper.
How to make it:
Eggplant sauce: Heat up the oil in a large saucepan and fry the eggplant on medium heat for about 15 minutes, or until nicely brown. (Note: the eggplant sticks to the pan like crazy towards the end of the 15 minutes, but don't worry; it'll come right off when you add the tomatoes.) Drain off as much oil as you can and discard it. Add the tomato paste to the pan and stir with the eggplant. Cook for 2 minutes, then add the wine and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, water, salt, sugar and oregano and cook for a further 5 minutes to get a deep-flavored sauce. Set aside; warm it up when needed.
The Polenta: Remove the leaves and "silk" from each ear of corn, then chop off the pointed top and stalk. Stand each ear upright on its base and use a sharp knife to shave off the kernels. (If you do this inside of a very shallow bowl, it might save you some cleanup time.) You want to have 1 1/4 lbs of kernels. (I don't have a scale. Six ears were great.) Place the kernels in a medium saucepan and cover them with the water. Cook for 12 minutes on a low simmer. Use a slotted spoon to lift the kernels from the water and into a food processor; reserve the cooking liquid. Process them for a few minutes, to break as much of the kernel case as possible. Add some of the cooking liquid if the mixture becomes too dry to process. Now return the corn paste to the pan with the cooking liquid and cook, while stirring, on low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, or until the mixture thickens to a mashed potato consistency. Fold in the butter, the feta, salt and some pepper and cook for a further 2 minutes. Taste and add more salt if needed. Divide the polenta among shallow bowls and pool some warm eggplant sauce in the center.
Cheers, The Wine Guys