It's cold outside. That means it's time to cook those hearty, savory dinners to help us keep warm. When we cook at home, we like to try to use ingredients from our local farmer's market when we can get our hands on them, but winter limits us to a lot of root vegetables and mushrooms. So the perfect choice is a Mushroom Chili.
One of the other benefits of a hearty stew or chili is that it lends itself to pairing easily with wine, in that a rich, full bodied red wine will add layers of flavor to the dish when also used in the sauce. So knowing the plan for dinner, we stopped off at a local wine shop to grab a bottle. Like most of the small shops in our neighborhood, the shelves are stocked with a preponderance of French and Italian wines, with just a sprinkling of West Coast options. We like to focus on New York wines when we have the chance, but some days there is little point in fighting the system. So instead, we used it as an opportunity to treat ourselves, and buy a bottle of Burgundy. We talk about the wines fairly often, especially in respect to the newer style of Pinot Noirs from New York, so its good to take a chance to try the original so we truly know what we are talking about.
It all worked out to make a fine evening. The soup was earthy and filling. The wine had a strong earthy backbone (and was recommended by the wineseller as such), but with a bit a fresh fruit flavors that brought a bit of liveliness to the meal--very welcome on a cold winter night. We aren't about to give up our local roots to be come Francophiles, but its easy to see what the fuss is all about.