Today we get to visit one of my favorite wine regions with the French Winophiles group, the Côtes du Rhône. I like the dominant Rhone wine grapes, Syrah and Grenache, well enough on their own, but particularly like the way they come together in Côtes du Rhône blends. Today I served up a Rustic Chicken and Sausage Stew along with a particularly good Côtes du Rhône wine.
I tend to associate simple, hearty food with the Rhone area. Way back when I was first getting into food and wine pairings, I attended a Rhone focused wine dinner at Aujourd’hui, and the sommelier did a great job of conveying a feel for what it might be like to dine in Lyon or some other spot in the Rhone.
We’ve had some chillier days now in the Boston area, so a stew came to mind when planning for a meal that would go well with a Côtes du Rhône. Never mind that it was in the 70s and we were sweltering on the baseball field the day I cooked up this Chicken and Sausage Stew, it was still very tasty. In keeping with the frugal approach of peasant food in the French countryside, I made my stew with things on sale and on hand. Chicken thigh, a bargain anyway, were on sale, and I had a kielbasa in the freezer for awhile waiting to be used. You can use whatever sausage you like in this stew, though perhaps stay away from the super spicy. I also had homemade chicken stock in the freezer that helped give the stew great flavor.
More about the Côtes du Rhône: It so happened that earlier this week, Jo-Ann Ross was at Pairings Wine & Food educating folks about the Côtes du Rhône, which stretches for about 600 miles along the Rhone River in Southern France. She sorted a few things out that I wasn’t entirely clear on. She suggested we think of the Côtes du Rhône in concentric circles, with the outer ring being the least prestigious wines that simply bear the label Côtes du Rhône(though often still very good). Next comes Côtes du Rhône-Villages AOC, which comes from 95 communes that meet some stricter standards, including that it be at least 50% Grenache. Further into the prestige circle comes Côtes du Rhône-Villages that have the village named on the label. That’s where our wine falls, it’s from Seguret. Then you get what Jo-Ann calls the “rock star” villages that are known simply by their village name, as in Chateauneuf du Pape.
Wine Pairing: Ray at Pairings pointed me in the direction of the 2012 Domaine Jean-David Côtes du Rhône-Villages Seguret ($25, 14 – 15% ABV) to pair with the Rustic Chicken and Sausage Stew. Domaine Jean-David is a small producer committed to organic production, where everything is done by hand in the vineyards. Seguret is a small village in the Southern Rhone.
I get roses on the nose of this wine from Domaine Jean-David, jammy blackberry fruit, and a little rustic edge. Great mouthfeel and finish. Though I use the word “rustic” in the description, it definitely has an elegance to it. A great wine for the price. That rustic note picks up the sausage nicely, and the fruitiness plays well with the touch of sweetness coming from the sweet potatoes in the stew. This pairing gets an “A”!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite sized pieces
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 3 carrots, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 2 cups water
- 1 large sweet potato, peeled and chopped
- 1 14.5 oz can white beans
- 1 large or 2 medium sausages (we used kielbasa)
- 3 sage leaves, chopped
- 1 sprig rosemary, chopped
- ½ tsp dried thyme
- bay leaf
- Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan. Add the chicken thighs. Cook on medium high, stirring occasionally, until the outside has begun to turn white and a bit browned in places. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon to a plate and set aside.
- Add the sausage to the pan. Cook about 5 minutes until browned, turning occasionally. Remove from heat and set aside. When the sausage has cooled, cut into slices to be added to the stew later.
- Heat the remaining tablespoon olive oil in the same pan you used for the chicken and sausage. Add the onions, cook for about 5 minutes until they have begun to soften.
- Add the carrots, cook for a few more minutes. Add the garlic, cook for another minute.
- Add the chicken broth and water along with the sweet potatoes. Bring to a boil, then lower to simmer on medium-low.
- Let the pot simmer for 10 minutes, then add the chicken along with the sage, thyme, rosemary and bay leaf. Simmer for another 15 minutes.
- Add the sausage and beans. Simmer for at least 20 more minutes.
- When the stew has simmered for at least 35 minutes since the addition of the chicken, it is ready to eat. An extra 10 or 15 minutes simmering time will deepen the flavors if you have time. Enjoy with some crusty bread and a red wine!
Be sure to check out all the great pairings from the French Winophiles!
- Anna from Anna Dishes “Brown Butter Red Wine Filet with Mushrooms,Baby Potatoes & Asparagus”
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Souk-Spiced Leg of Lamb with L’O de Joncier”
- Cindy from Grape Experiences shares “Costières de Nîmes – The Rising Star of the Rhone”
- Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva “Rhones Gone Crazy”
- David from Cooking Chat “Wine for Rustic Chicken and Sausage Stew”
- Jeff from foodwineclick shares “Roti de Cochon Tout Simplement et Hermitage“
- Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog “A Taste of Gigondas and Vacqueyras”
- Michelle from Rockin Red Blog “Separation of Church & Wine”
- Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere “French Onion Soup and Cotes du Rhone Wine”
- Wendy from A Day in the Life of a Farm “Braised Chicken with a Dual Pairing from Cotes du Rhone”