Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Cilantro Chicken

Momma knows chosing wine and food recipes can be daunting so she has a little tip to ease your cares.

Momma Explains: Wine is an agricultural product, a gift from the grape and each grape reflects the Terroir, or agricultural site on which it was grown. The same grape will taste differently depending on the place it is grown. There is a difference between a cabernet from the Bordeaux region of France versus the Napa Valley of California. Produce reflects the climate, soil and conditions in which it is grown. So what has that got to do with food and wine pairing? Ah, think, you are in Italy at that Villa with the lemon trees in the front yard. There are olive groves further back behind the house and on the mountain slope, there is the vineyard. In the back yard are the tomatoes, basil and peppers. You are making a simple marinara sauce for dinner with some roated peppers and cheese. You sqeeze some lemons and heat their juice with sugar and water to form a simple syrup which you freeze after whipping to be enjoyed as an iced dessert. The lemons, the tomatoes, the peppers, the grapes all are indigenous to the nearby land. Now, what will you serve with your macaroni, some local sausage? Yes, of course but then would you serve a New Zealand white with dinner?? What are you nuts, stupido ? The meal has a perfect accompaniment in that the same land that produced a delicious marinara will also offer a great red to enhance the meal.
There are many other ways to find the perfect wine with your food but in a pinch, if you are making Mexican serve a Spanish wine, Italian pasta serve an Italian wine and so on. It is a quick way to use the land as your guide. Which is why I use a Spanish red, to enhance my cilantro chicken.

Cilantro Chicken: Take 6 chicken breasts, boneless and skinless will work if you use lots of olive oil. Otherwise you can use breasts with the skin and bone intact. I used boneless breasts and poured olive oil over all of them so that 3/4 the breast was covered in olive oil. I then sprinkled sea salt, black pepper, paprika and granulated garlic on each side. I topped the chicken with several bunches of Cilantro. (Momma grows her own herbs, it saves time , money and tastes great. You should buy some potted herbs and use them all summer. ) A sprinkle of lemon zest and about 1/2 the juice of a lemon will completes the dressing. Then bake till cooked. I usually bake about 50 minutes at 350 but you need to check them for doneness. I served this with Mercedes Eguren 2005 or 2006 Shyraz/ Tempranillo. ( Yes they spelled Shiraz that way), boy did the whole meal just melt into a delicious fiesta. We drank all the wine too!

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