The Best “Taste” Challenge Yet

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February 19, 2013 by caitlinvaclark

Last week on The Taste the chefs were challenged to pair food with a variety of different wines. Am I up for the task? Hmmm. Oh, I don’t know. Umm. An excuse to open up a bottle (or two) of wine. Twist my arm. Alright, I’ll do it. Obviously!! I’ve been looking forward to this since last week!

The teams were first challenged to pair a food with Alamos Malbec which I was thrilled about. Malbec is one of my favorite easy, approachable, and affordable wines. Usually coming from Argentina or Chile, here in London it is not as abundantly available as European wines, but I managed to wrangle up a bottle to enjoy with this wine-pairing inspired meal. Malbec classically has a bold, berry fruit flavor, often with smokiness and black pepper spice. Because of its robust layers of flavor it pairs nicely with grilled meats, sausages, and braises.

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So I give to you a little taste to go with a little sip: Red wine braised kale and white beans with grilled chicken thighs.

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Be sure to use a mild sausage, as you don’t want to overwhelm the dish with spice that could end up clashing with the wine. Instead choose a mild Italian or a British cumberland with subtle black and white pepper.

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From the makers of my favorite garbanzo beans*, I also get these incredible huge white beans. They are so buttery and delicious, but you could of course use traditional cannellini beans.

*www.tienda.com

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Once the sausage has browned, remove it from the pot and soften a thinly sliced shallot. Then toss with the kale and pour in the wine to deglaze the pan. Add the chicken broth and simmer for 10 minutes.

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Add the beans and sausage back into the pot and continue to heat through for another 5 minutes. This braise is an amazing side dish with any number of meals, or a great light dinner on its own.

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I chose to serve this dish with chicken thighs because they are a buttery rich meat that wouldn’t overpower but could stand up to the braised kale. And grilling them allowed an extra charred barbecue flavor to pick up another level of wine flavor.

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Enjoy your taste that should match perfectly with your favorite Malbec!

Red Wine Braised Kale with White Beans & Grilled Chicken Thighs

Serves 4

1 Tbs. olive oil, divided

2 oz. sausage, mild Italian or Cumberland

1 shallot, thinly sliced

12 oz. kale, stemmed and chopped

½ cup red wine

1 cup chicken broth

1-14 oz. can cannellini beans, drained

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs

½ tsp dried thyme

Salt and Pepper

Heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Remove sausage from casing and add to the pot. Crumble as it cooks through, about 5 minutes. Remove and reserve.

Add the remaining 2 tsp of olive oil to the skillet and sauté the shallot for 3 minutes until soft. Add the kale and toss with the oil and shallot. Season with a pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, followed by the chicken broth. Simmer for 10 minutes before adding the white beans. Continue simmering for 5 minutes until the beans are warmed through. Stir in the sausage. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

While the kale simmers, make the chicken. First heat a grill pan over high heat. Season the chicken thighs with salt and pepper and drizzle with olive oil. Grill the chicken for 6 minutes on each side. Slice and serve on top of the kale mixture.

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