"Wine makes daily living easier, less hurried, with fewer tensions and more tolerance."Benjamin Franklin
Take the time to cook slowly, take time to call you friends and family to have a meal with you, take time to set the table, take time to savor a fine aged glass of wine, take time to live.
Chateau Gasqui, Côtes de Provence, 2008
This wine comes from one of the warmest wine growing region in France. The 2008 harvest produced a low yield and high quality grapes that were grown in accordance with organic farming practices.
Chateau Gasqui is one of 5 wineries, out of 650 that have been awarded biodynamic certification by Demeter. The wine is made from a blend of 50% Syrah, and 50% Grenache, naturally fermented then ages for 36 months in 500Liter French oak barrels. The result of a good year, great fruit, exemplary care for the process, and 8 years of aging produced a wine that is dark ruby in color, with aromas of red and black fruit, soft musky leather and spice. Mature supple tannins combine with flavors of black berry, current, and dark plum, with slight clove like spice flavors in the finish.
This warm, round, well balanced aged wine is a find and a perfect accompaniment to an earthy winter meal.
Lamb Shank Tagine with Dates
What you will need:
3 large lamb shanks, about 4 1/2 pounds
Salt and pepper
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon paprika
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 tablespoons butter
1 large onion, sliced, about 2 cups
Small pinch saffron
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 2-inch piece cinnamon stick
2 teaspoons dried ginger
½ cup chopped dates of any kind, plus 24 whole Medjool dates
½ cup golden raisins, soaked in hot water to soften for 30 minutes and drained
½ cup pomegranate seeds
Cilantro sprigs, for garnish
How make do it:
Trim shanks of excess fat, then season generously with salt and pepper. In a small bowl, combine garlic, fresh ginger, paprika and cumin, and smear over shanks. Leave shanks at room temperature to season for at least an hour. (Or you can wrap and refrigerate several hours, or overnight; return to room temperature before proceeding.)
In a Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed soup pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add onion, saffron and cayenne, and sprinkle with salt. Cook for 5 minutes, until somewhat softened. Stir in tomato paste and cook 1 minute. Lower heat to medium; add seasoned shanks and let cook with onions, turning occasionally, until meat and onions are lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Add cinnamon stick, dried ginger, chopped dates and water to barely cover (about 31/2 to 4 cups) to the pot. Bring to a simmer, cover pot with a tight fitting lid and place in oven. Bake for 30 minutes, and then turn heat down to 350 degrees. Check sauce and add water if level of liquid is below meat. Continue baking for another hour, checking liquid level occasionally, and then test meat by probing with skewer or paring knife. It should be quite tender and almost falling from bone, but cooked no further. (Tagine may be prepared to this point up to two days ahead. Reheat gently in a covered pot on the stovetop, adding a little more water as necessary.)
Remove meat from pot and place in deep, wide serving bowl. Skim off any surface fat from cooking liquid in pot. Add whole dates to pot and simmer for a few minutes to reduce sauce slightly. Pour sauce and dates over meat.
To serve, garnish with raisins, pomegranate seeds and cilantro sprigs.
Recipe adapted from David Tanis, N.Y.T
The Wine Guys