Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chardonnay paired with Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)

Chardonnays have become very popular; in fact, it is probably the most popular of all white wines today. It is unmistakable in the mouth because of its impeccable sugar/acid balance, its full body, and its easy smoothness. Its aroma is distinct, yet delicate. Chardonnay grapes are relatively resilient and are able to survive in a variety of environments. It is used in so many different places to produce so many different wines because the Chardonnay grapes themselves are relatively neutral in flavor. Most of their flavor is derived first from the conditions in which the grapes are grown and second from the conditions of the wine production. This makes it easier for different wineries to produce distinctly different Chardonnay wines.

Typical Chardonnay characteristics include; Lemon, Apple, Tropical Fruit, Melon, Pineapple, and Mango. Oaked Chardonnays can display characteristics like; Smoke, Vanilla, Spice, Toast, Nuts, Butterscotch, Carmel, Coconut, Cloves and Cinnamon. Unoaked or less heavily oaked Chardonnays tend to have lighter, delicate flavors which can be matched with a fairly wide variety of dishes. There are some foods which tend to go better than average with Chardonnay such as Chicken, Turkey, Fish, Pork and mushrooms. More heavily oaked Chardonnays go poorly with delicate dishes, like fish, but pair well with Japanese Cuisine, Chinese Cuisine, Spicy Dishes and Smoked Fish.

Harter House World Flavors offers a wide variety of Chardonnay’s. Of course , my favorite is La Crema, an exquisite Chardonnay.

Chicken Makhani (Indian Butter Chicken)
o 1 tablespoon peanut oil
o 1 red onion, finely chopped
o 1/4 white onion, chopped
o 2 tablespoons butter
o 2 teaspoons lemon juice
o 1 tablespoon ginger-garlic paste
o 1 teaspoon garam masala
o 1 teaspoon chili powder
o 1 teaspoon ground cumin
o 1 bay leaf
o 1/4 cup plain yogurt
o 1 cup cream
o 1 cup tomato puree
o 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, to taste
o 1 pinch salt
o 1 pinch black pepper
o 1 tablespoon peanut oil
o 1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs cut into bite size pieces
o 1 teaspoon garam masala
o 1 pinch cayenne pepper
o 1 tablespoon cornstarch
o 1/4 cup water

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large saucepan over medium high heat.
Saute shallot and onion until soft and translucent.
Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger garlic paste, 1 teaspoon garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Add tomato puree and cook for 2 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir in half-and-half and yogurt.
Reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt, pepper and cayenne.
Remove from heat and set aside. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillt over medium heat.
Cook chicken until lightly browned, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat and season with 1 teaspoon garam masala and cayenne.
Stir in about 1/3 of the sauce and simmer until liquid has reduced and chicken is no longer pink, about 5 minutes.
Pour the rest of the sauce into the chicken.
Mix together cornstarch and water, then stir into the sauce.
Cook for 5 to 10 minutes.

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