Winter is coming…
Actually, in our home, it feels like winter is already here! Joe and I just pulled out all of our Christmas decorations from the attic and spent the day decking our house in Christmas decor and lights. I adore this time of year not only because it features the best holiday of all time (with Halloween a close second), but also because of the winter dishes I get to make.
While some of the following recipes can definitely be enjoyed the year ‘round, there’s something special about serving them during the holiday season that makes them taste even better. Follow along to learn about the Napa Valley restaurants behind each dish and the companion recipes to try at home.
My all time favorite winter dish is Bistro Jeanty’s Tomato Soup. This is by far the most popular item on their menu, and for good reason! The creamy,flavor-packed soup is exactly what you crave on a cold day. Shockingly, the recipe is also very easy to recreate at home! I’ve served this dish at every winter/Christmas party we’ve thrown, and I always get several requests from people afterwards asking for the recipe. The key is starting with fresh tomatoes, and don’t forget the puff pastry on top! Find the recipe here.
If you start out the meal with this famously delicious tomato soup, you’ll need an entree that’s equally yummy to pair it with! My second recipe is Thomas Keller’s fried chicken served every Friday at his Ad Hoc Restaurant in Yountville. The moist yet crispy chicken dish is so well-known that people flock from all over the country to snag it. Find the recipe here.
To start the meal off, we paired the soup and chicken with Robert Mondavi’s Chardonnay Reserve. This wine has a great balance of acidity and body -creamy and rich on the palate without being to buttery. It’s a perfect pairing with the bold tomato flavors and saltiness of the chicken.
(^ note the friend rosemary on top of the chicken and the puff pastry atop the soup! These little details go a looooooong way to make your dishes great)
While the fried chicken is a bit more complicated and time consuming than the soup, there are a few tips that will help you execute it flawlessly. First, plan the meal out a few days in advance. To recreate all of the deep flavors of the Ad Hoc, original, you will need to brine the chicken at least 1 day in advance. The brine will need to boil and then fully cool before putting the chicken in, so be sure to give yourself enough time!! Also, make sure you have a BIG pot or a deep fryer as the frying step can get quite messy (and frying in a shallow pot full of hot oil can be dangerous)!
In our home, no meal is complete without a dessert! We grabbed some local apples and made an apple galette to finish. This dish is beautiful to look at, tastes amazing, and is a delicious match with one of my favorite dessert wines: the Robert Mondavi Moscato d’Oro. The wine is definitely sweet, but well-structured with plenty of fresh fruit flavors and balanced acidity coming through. I adore the little 375ml bottle and inevitably end up with two when I buy it as a gift — one for gift-giving and one to enjoy at home!
If you’re visiting the Napa Valley any time soon, I invite you to stop by our little town of Yountville to taste the recipe originals at Bistro Jeanty and Ad Hoc. Or, to really get into the holiday spirit, jump on the free town trolley– completely adorned with Christmas lights at this time of year — for the short hop from one restaurant to the other.
Can’t make it to the Napa Valley? No worries: Try one of these dishes at home paired to a favorite Napa Valley wine and you’re practically there!
Feel free to drop me a note if you have any questions about the recipes, the wines, or the Napa Valley in general.
Cheers and Happy Holidays!
Thank you to Robert Mondavi Winery for sponsoring this post. This post is intended for audiences 21 years of age and older #ad #sponsored.