I know, Christmas is over, but let me reminisce for a moment. When Alex and I were visiting Napa in December, we went to Flora Springs Estate to taste their recent vintage. Alex and I are wine club members, and unlike many clubs that have lost our interest, we’ve been in this one for several years. We love their wines, and we love visiting them even more. This was our first time at the Estate, and it was impressive. We learned a lot, and tasted some really special wines. Thanks to Scott for treating us like family! We loved it!
We must have really loved it, because we invested in a 12 year commitment. They produced a series called the 12 days of Christmas, each with a different label as the song progresses. So, to honor day 1, I made a partridge in a pear tree. OK, not a real partridge, a small chicken did the trick. So, here our 12 year journey begins. I think I can handle turtle doves and French hens, even golden rings, but lords a leaping and ladies dancing? At least I have 8 years to figure that out. Wish me luck!
Oh, and if you don’t happen to have this wine (few do), then I’ve got a great cocktail for you below. You’re welcome.
An Ode to a Partridge in a Pear Tree
(Roast Chicken with Pears in a Red Wine Sauce)
- 1 whole chicken
- 1 Tbsp butter
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic
- 1/4 onion, diced
- 1/4 tsp each, salt & pepper
- 2 Tbsp flour
- 2 c red wine
- 1/2 c water
- 2 carrots, diced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 celery ribs, diced into 1 inch pieces
- 2 pears, cut lengthwise into 6 pieces each
- 1 tsp salt & pepper, each
- 1/2 tsp Aleppo pepper
- 2 green onions, diced
- Life Changing Grits
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Put the butter and oil in an oven proof roasting pan/pot that will fit your chicken. Add the onions and garlic, and season with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, and cook the onions over medium high heat until translucent (about 3 minutes). Add the flour to the pot and stir to combine with the onions. Increase the heat to high, and add the red wine to deglaze the pan. Stir to allow the flour to thicken the stock. Reduce the heat to low and add the water, carrots, and celery. Stir to combine. Place the pears on top of the vegetable mix, and then put the chicken on top of the pears. Sprinkle the chicken with 1 tsp salt, pepper and Aleppo pepper. Bake the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until a thermometer reads 165 degrees.
Remove the chicken and cut into quarters. Strain the liquid from the vegetables and reduce down in a small pot. Serve the chicken over grits, with vegetables and pears, and spoon some sauce over the top. Sprinkle with green onions.
A Partridge in a Peartini
- 1.5 oz gin
- 1.5 oz pear juice
- Dash cardamom bitters
- Red berries (such as cranberries, or rasberries) and a mint leaf for garnish.
Combine gin and pear juice in a shaker with ice. Shake until cold. Pour into a martini glass and top with berries and mint.