#WinePW Wine Pairing Weekend Holiday Entertaining! Has it been a month already? It’s Wine Pairing Weekend again! As I write this, I’m counting the minutes until it’s time to leave for the airport to pick up my son, who is coming home from college for the holidays. I’m so excited ~ I haven’t seen him since Parents’ Weekend in September…and that is too long. Needless to say, I feel like celebrating!
This month’s wine pairing, Appetizers and Sparkling Wines, is perfect for the way I’m feeling right now and I’m excited about this post’s duo. I’ve played matchmaker with my Cinnamon Apple Butternut Squash Shooters and Chipotle Corn Shortbread Coins paired with Maschio Prosecco, and it’s so very good!
Champagne is actually my favorite special occasion drink. I love the sweet, dry, bubbly lightness of it. I love the way it looks in a beautiful flute. I’m especially fond of Kir Royales. I am also a fan of Prosecco, which is Italy’s sparkling wine. To me, it’s very similar to champagne but a little less dry and sweeter. I happened to have a bottle of Maschio Prosecco in the fridge, a gift from friends, and I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try it. As I’ve said before, I’m no expert; I just know what I like and I enjoy trying my hand at pairing my foods with wines that I think will allow each to compliment the flavor of the other. This Prosecco is very light and fruity, and ultimately this did end up being a great match for the apple, squash and spices in the soup. The Chipotle Cornbread Coins, with their buttery texture, nuttiness and a hint of heat, balanced the Prosecco and the soup just right. Butternut & Bubbly is now one of my new favorite entertaining couples!
There are very informative write ups on Prosecco, aka “Champagne’s sexy Italian cousin” at The Reverse Wine Snob and at Into Wine…check them out!
The soup is so delicious, and super easy to make. I’d had a wonderful Candy Apple Butternut Squash Soup at a restaurant in my area, and rather than waiting to see if I could get the recipe from them, I decided to see if I could replicate it on my own.
I had fresh Butternut Squash, Green Dragon Apples and shallots from Melissa’s Produce, and had the other ingredients onhand: chicken stock, Apple Pie Spice, white pepper, butter and boiled apple cider (which is just fresh-pressed apple cider that I boiled down until it became a syrupy concentrate).
I chopped the squash, apples and shallot, and sauteed the shallot for a couple of minutes until it was soft. Then I added the squash and apples and enough chicken stock to cover, two tablespoons of the boiled cider and a bit of white pepper, and brought it to a boil.
I simmered it until the squash and apples were soft, about 12 minutes. Then, I pureed it in my new Kitchen Aid Diamond Blender, which, with its exclusive diamond blending system, made quick work of the mixture and yielded a perfectly smooth soup. (And it’s a very cool Green Apple color too!)
Once it was nice and smooth, I poured it back into the pan and added apple pie spice and a tablespoon of butter, which gave it a wonderful creaminess without adding milk, half and half, or cream.
The richness of the soup and buttery hot corn shortbread is perfectly balanced by the light bubbliness of the Prosecco. Of course, a bowl of soup is always comforting; for appetizers, serving it in shot glasses with crumbled shortbread on top makes a just-right portion that’s elegant and fun without being stuffy ~ just like Prosecco!
Check out all the other delicious pairings for this month’s theme, below; scroll all the way down for the recipe for the soup. Don’t forget to join our Twitter chat today at #WinePW, December 13th at 10 a.m. Central Time ~ we’ll be talking about our tips and tricks for the best holiday wine pairings. We’d love to have you join us! For now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to get to the airport ~ Happy happy holidays to you and your family!
“I drink Champagne when I’m happy and when I’m sad. Sometimes I drink it when I’m alone. When I have company I consider it obligatory. I trifle with it if I’m not hungry and drink it when I am. Otherwise I never touch the stuff – unless I’m thirsty.” Madame Lily Bollinger
Note: Melissa’s Produce supplied the squash, apples and shallot and Kitchen Aid provided their Diamond Blender so that I could review the products and share my opinions with you. I was not compensated in any other way and all the opinions expressed in this post are mine.
Sparkling Wine and Appetizer Pairings
Here are the ideas from our group for you. Try something new this year!
Bubbly for Bacon and Greens Dip by Cooking Chat
Piedmont Sparkling Nebbiolo & Pungent Anchovy Green Sauce by foodwineclick
New Year’s Sips and Nibbles: Segura Viudas Aria Cava with Oysters and Spanish Tapas by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
#WinePW 7 Butterflied Spicy Prawns and Treveri Sparkling Wine by Wild 4 Washington Wine
A Seasonal Nibbles Duet + Pear Valley Vineyard’s Frizzante Muscat by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
December #winePW, Appetizers served with a Sparkling Wine by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Cranberry Brie Biscuit Bites paired with a Sparkling Muscat by Curious Cuisiniere
Walnut Tart with Sparkling Brachetto d’Acqui by Vino Travels — An Italian Wine Blog
Domaine Meriwether Sparking Wine and Make Ahead Spanakopita by Tasting Pour
Wine and Dine: Anna de Cordoniu Brut NV and Herbed Parmesan Crisps (#WinePW) by Grape Experiences
Italian Sparkling Wine: Bubbly & Bacon #winePW by Girls Gotta Drink
The Holidays Sparkle on #WinePW by Rockin Red Blog
Butternut and Bubbly.
Cinnamon Apple Butternut Squash Soup Shooters and Prosecco by It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake
Smoked Salmon and Potato Chips with Louis Roederer Brut Premier Champagne by ENOFYLZ
Be sure to mark your calendars for January’s Wine Pairing Weekend, hosted by Christy at Confessions of a Culinary Diva. We’ll be sharing “New Wine Resolutions – Wine or Region you want to explore in 2015. Join in the #WinePW 8 conversation on Saturday January 10!
- Bottom half of a butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into small cubes
- 2 tart apples, peeled, cored and cut into small pieces
- 1 shallot, finely minced
- 2-3 cups chicken stock (you can use vegetable stock if you prefer)
- 2 Tbsp. boiled apple cider
- 1 tsp. apple pie spice
- ½ tsp. white pepper
- 1 Tbsp. sweet butter
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the shallots and cook for about 2 minutes, until they begin to soften.
- Add the squash and apples, and chicken stock to just cover. Stir in the white pepper.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium and simmer until the squash and apples are tender (you'll be able to easily pierce them with a fork), about 12 minutes.
- Ladle the mixture into a blender (you may have to do this in two batches; don't overfill). Remove the top piece of the blender cap to vent, and place the cover on the blender. Cover with a dish towel and blend on low speed until you can hear that the mixture is smooth.
- Increase the speed and puree.
- Pour the mixture back into the pot and repeat with the second batch if necessary. If you want the soup to be thinner, you can add more stock.
- Stir the butter and Apple Pie Spice into the soup. Ladle into bowls and top with cornbread croutons or your choice of crackers; also serve them alongside the soup. For appetizer portions it's fun to ladle into small cups or glasses.