It’s time for the July edition of Wine Pairing Weekend. This month our host is Michelle from Rockin Red Blog and she selected an independence Red, White, and Blue theme of French food and wine pairings, or American food and wine pairings, or the flexibility to pair the wine and food from the two countries in some fashion.

Like a stage actress plying her trade, I like to immerse myself in the food, wine, and lifestyle of my subject wine region. For the Red, White, and Blue tribute, I selected Provence, largely because of its weather, natural beauty, and outstanding summer wines. Provence is located in Southeastern France and encompasses the area from the left bank of the lower Rhone River on the west, to the Italian border on the east, and the Mediterranean Sea on the South. With hot, dry summers, it is a climate I can relate to. The food and wine of Provence easily fits into our desert lifestyle during the summer when the word “refreshing” is only used for chilled drinks and air conditioned environs. My favorite chilled wine, after Champagne of course, is Rosé and Provence is the world’s largest wine region specializing in that fine libation. Rosé is one of the most versatile and refreshing of wines – plus it is food friendly and can be quaffed with or without food.

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Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur Map

The food of Provence is influenced by its history and the surrounding cultures of the area, and French, Italian and Mediterranean flavors are interspersed in its cuisine. For this month’s Wine Pairing Weekend challenge, I made a Pan-Roasted Chicken with Nyons Olives and Broccoli Puree. Nyons Olives are fruity, dry-cured olives made with the meaty black Nyons variety found in Northern Provence. The olives give the succulent pan roasted chicken a bit of a briny, pungent flavor. Instead of an American comfort food pairing of mashed potatoes, I paired this dish with a rich crème fraiche broccoli puree. The broccoli puree is earthy, salty, and creamy; a perfect accompaniment to the roast chicken and the olives.

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Nyons Olives and Broccoli Puree

Pan-Roasted Chicken with Nyons Olives and Broccoli Puree

Provençal rosés are as abundant as they are tasty, but we particularly like the Miraval Jolie-Pitt Cotes de Provence Rosé. If this wine sounds vaguely familiar to you, it is most likely because of its celebrity owners–otherwise known as “Brangelina” (Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie). The wine itself is quite likeable with a pale color, a floral nose, and hints of strawberries and cherries in the taste. It is dry and crisp, as a Rosé should be, with a nice balance of minerality. The price ranges from $22-$29 depending on which market or wine merchant you frequent, and is a very reliable Rosé that pairs well with just about any dish—just like Champagne. It has become our “house” Rosé the past few years and has never failed to please.

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Miraval Rose

The Miraval Winery actually has quite an interesting history. It is situated in the heart of Provence and has the historic importance of being at the base of the Via Aurelia, which was the extensive route the Romans built for expansion in the 3rd Century B.C. Following Celtic settlement and Roman occupation, the property served as host to monastic practices and later as home to members of the French Court, appearing in the Registry of Noble Houses in the 14th century. In the 1970s the property took a different direction and became a recording studio. Some of my favorite recording artists like Sting, Sade, Pink Floyd, and Gypsy Kings have recorded there.

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Wine Spector June 2014 – featuring Pitt & Perrin

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie have taken their wine venture seriously and since 2012 have partnered with Famille Perrin of Château de Beaucastel fame. If you are interested in learning more about this partnership, read the Wine Spectator article at http://www.winespectator.com/magazine/show/id/49975. In a world that generally overvalues celebrity, Miraval Rosé is one of the few “celebrity” wines that can satisfy wine aficionados as Brangelina are resolute about winemaking and are not trying to capitalize on their fame by making wine for the masses to sell at Wally World next to the Drew Barrymore underwear or the Justin Timberlake tattered T-shirts .

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Chateau Miraval from Miraval.com

Make sure to visit all the great wine and food pairings this month:
A Day in the Life on the Farm: “An American Feast for #WinePW”
A Pug in the Kitchen: Classic Nicoise:An American/French Pairing
Confessions of a Culinary Diva: “Provence Style Pan Roasted Chicken with Rose”
Cooking Chat: “Gruyere Cheeseburgers with a Bordeaux”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Tapenade-Topped Sablefish + Cave de Saint-Roch-les-Vignes Côtes de Provence Rosé”
Curious Cuisiniere: “Cherry Clafoutis paired with a Cremant Rosé”
Dracaena Wines: “Discovering the Truth About Bastille Day with #WinePW”
ENOFYLZ Wine Blog: “Independence Day at Ridge Vineyards Zins and Blends #winePW”
Food Wine Click: “All American Menu: Farmer & Winery Friends”
Grape Experiences: “Wine and Dine: Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc Cotes du Roussillon and Salade Niçoise”
Pull That Cork: “Domaine de Bila-Haut and Cobb Salad for #winePW”
Rockin Red Blog: “Celebrating America & France with July #WinePW”
Tasting Pour: “Steak with Mushroom Cognac Sauce, Patriotic Potatoes, and Bell Wine Cellars Cab Sauv #winepw”
Vino Travels: The Alchemy of Hunt Country Vineyards Paired with Braised Beef Short Ribs

Please join us this morning at 10 am CST on Twitter for a fun and lively discussion on our American and French food and wine pairings at #WinePW. Also, join us Saturday, August 15 as we explore Portugal, a land of delicious food and outstanding wines! In August I’ll be hosting Wine Pairing Weekend and we will be featuring Portugal, “Europe’s West Coast” and a wine region emerging from its reputation for port. In Wine Spectator’s 2014 Top 100 Wines list, Portugal took three of the four top spots and two of those wines were reds from Douro.

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Pan-Roasted Chicken with Nyons Olives and Broccoli Puree
 
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Author:
Recipe type: Entree
Cuisine: French
Serves: 4

Ingredients
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 pound broccoli cut into 1 inch florets, stems peeled and sliced ½ inch thick
  • 2 tablespoons crème fraiche or sour cream
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 3½ pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
  • 12 unpeeled garlic cloves, lightly crushed
  • 6 thyme sprigs, plus chopped thyme for sprinkling
  • 1 cup dry white wine, water or chicken stock
  • 6 tablespoons pitted black olives, preferably Nyons or Nicoise
  • fleur de sel

Instructions
  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook broccoli, stirring occasionally, until very tender, about 8 minutes. Drain, reserving ¼ cup water, and return broccoli to pan. Using an immersion blender, process broccoli with crème fraiche, 1 tablespoon oil, and 1 tablespoon butter to a course puree, adding reserved water by the tablespoons as needed to loosen texture. Season with kosher salt and pepper. Do ahead: Broccoli puree can be refrigerated for up to 4 hours and gently reheated before serving.
  2. Heat oven to 475 degrees. Set a large cast-iron or other heavy oven-proof skillet over high heat until very hot. Season chicken pieces with kosher salt, and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-high and add remaining 2 tablespoons oil. Add chicken, skin side down, garlic, and thyme sprigs and cook until skin is browned, about five minutes.
  3. Turn chicken skin side up and transfer to skillet to oven floor or lowest rack. Roast chicken until breast juices run clear, about 10 minutes. Transfer breasts to a platter. Return skillet to oven and cook until leg juices run clear, 5 to 10 minutes more. Transfer legs and garlic to platter. Discard garlic skins.
  4. Pour off fat in skillet. Set skillet over high heat. Add wine and olives and simmer, scraping up browned bits, until liquid reduces by half about 5 minutes. Remove skillet from heat, add remaining 1 tablespoon butter, and stir until it melts creamily. Spoon olive sauce over chicken and sprinkle with fleur de sel, pepper and chopped thyme. Serve with broccoli puree.