February is for … Franc-ies??
Authored by: Neil Johnston, Winemaker
“February is for Foodies”. (Did you know that was actually a thing?). Many restaurants in our region have special menus based on that slogan, at special prices, to help celebrate everyone’s love for food. February is also the month of Valentine’s Day, which often involves sharing special dinners and bottles of wine with our beloveds.
Here at Dumas Station, we love to celebrate February! We celebrate the days getting noticeably longer and the new wine going into the barrels. We also celebrate “foodies”—everyone at the winery is, and we often feed our Wine Club members. Last-but-not-least, one of our favorite Dumas Station wines which begins with the letter F: Cabernet Franc! So we are declaring that this “February is for Franc-ies”.
Have you tasted our multi-award-winning 2016 Cabernet Franc recently (shop our Cab Franc)? This wine is a customer favorite. The grapes come from some of our oldest grapevines, and has exceptional flavors of big ripe fruit, warm spices, roasted nuts, and pairs with a very wide range of foods. It is considered by sommeliers and wine experts to be “the ideal food-pairing wine”1. For a few tips, try it with roast chicken, roasted or grilled pork or beef, duck, sausage, lamb, veal, hearty fish dishes and even hard- as well as soft cheeses!
My favorite pairing for Cabernet Franc is a recipe I’ve made many times: Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs. The original recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs, Maria Helm Sinsky, formerly of Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco. Here is my adaptation:
Red Wine Braised Short Ribs & Root Vegetables – serves 8
- This is perfect for this time of year, when the root vegetables are in season
- Short ribs should be cut into pieces so that there is one bone, about 3 inches in length, per piece. (provides 3 short ribs per person)
- This is a labor of love. Plan on 30 minutes of browning. 15 minutes of reducing, 3 hours in oven; last 1/2 hour uncovered. 15 more minutes of reduction of the sauce
- Start with a salad. Serve with rice, noodles, or crusty bread
- 2 large celery roots
- 4 medium carrots
- 2 medium yellow onions
- 3 medium turnips
- 3 medium rutabagas
- 4 large Yukon Gold potatoes
- 8 garlic cloves, peeled
- 4 to 5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
- 24 pieces (8 pounds) short ribs
- Two 750-ml bottles Cabernet Franc (one for drinking!)
- 4 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 12 fresh thyme sprigs or 1 Tbsp. dried
- 1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
- 1 cup loosely packed Italian parsley leaves, plus additional parsley leaves for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 450 degrees
- Peel and trim the vegetables, dice into 1/2-inch pieces. The carrots may be sliced into rounds. Leave the garlic cloves whole. Reserve the diced potatoes in cold water to keep them from browning
- Toss the vegetables, except for the potatoes, together in a large bowl. Add 2 tablespoons of olive oil, season with salt and pepper, and toss again. Place the vegetables, except the reserved potatoes, in a roasting pan and roast in the preheated oven until the vegetables start to caramelize, about 30 minutes. Stir occasionally. Reserve the vegetables in the pan to await the arrival of the seared short ribs
- Season the ribs well on all sides with salt and pepper. Over medium-high heat, add 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large sauté pan. Add the ribs and brown on all sides, about 10 to 15 minutes. Sear the ribs in batches if your pan is not large enough. If the pan gets too hot, adjust the heat. Place the ribs on top of the vegetables in the roasting pan
- Pour off the fat in the sauté pan and add the wine. Bring the wine to a boil and use a wooden spoon to loosen the caramelized juices and bits of meat on the bottom of the pan. Reduce the wine by half and pour it over the ribs
- Dissolve the tomato paste in 1 cup of water and add to the roasting pan. Add the thyme, bay leaf, and 1 cup parsley leaves. Cover the pan with a lid or aluminum foil
- Place the pan in the preheated oven and roast for 30 minutes. Reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees and braise the ribs for 1-1/2 hours. Check occasionally to make sure there is enough juice in the pan. Add a little water if necessary
- Drain the reserved potatoes and add them to the pan. Continue to braise for 1 hour more
- Remove the cover completely for the last half hour of cooking
- Using a slotted spoon, spoon the ribs with the vegetables onto a platter or individual plates and remove the bay leaf and thyme stems; reduce the pan juices if they are thin and season to taste with salt and pepper. Spoon the juices over the meat and vegetables
- Garnish with Italian parsley leaves before serving
1Wine Folly September 30, 2015 – Big Papa: Cabernet Franc Wine Guide.