Wines for Thanksgiving leftovers
Casual, versatile wines to accompany the glorious range of Thanksgiving leftovers
Wine and dine: To pair wines with Thanksgiving leftovers, from the sandwiches to the hashes, choose wines equally as casual and multi-purpose. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)
My mother's oven was like Noah's ark; everything entered in pairs. Two hams, two pans of scalloped potatoes, two peach pies. And, on Thanksgiving, two turkeys.
One ginormous, D-cupped bird would have done, but we were keen on leftovers. No St. John ever disputed that the turkey tasted better after Thanksgiving Day than on it, when served between slightly toasted Pepperidge Farm white bread, slathered in Best Foods mayonnaise, with a slice of cranberry jelly and cracked black pepper.
Until the pope changed his mind sometime during the 1960s and it became OK to eat meat on Fridays, the absolute worst thing about being raised Catholic was having to wait until Saturday to eat those sandwiches.
The Thanksgiving turkey is the closest thing we modern Americans have to the town pig of olden days and faraway places, that slaughtered communal animal of which every single part is used or eaten. I believe "tetrazzini" is Italian for "smithereens."
After the sandwich scaloppini, perhaps the most useful leftover from the turkey is its carcass. A defatted broth, quarts of it, is but the baptismal font for any number of dishes come weeks ahead — soups, stews, risotti, even cures for colds.
To pair wines with such fare, from the sandwiches to the hashes, choose those equally as casual and multipurpose. Here are some suggested whites, then reds, with a recipe that both uses some leftover bird and successfully cleans up those sweet potatoes and their marshmallow snows.
2011 Paul Hobbs CrossBarn Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast, California: Like an American Macon, bright and lively; solid and abundant flavors, nonetheless refreshing for the variety. $25
2011 Marchetti Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi, Le Marche, Italy: A sort of reverse lemon cream, with citrusy scents and tastes, ending with a creamy texture and finish; sparks, then juice. $15-$17
2011 Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc, Sonoma, California: Best part of this hugely flavorful sauvignon blanc is its nervy acidity. $15
2001 Simonsig Chenin Blanc, Stellenbosch, South Africa: Open aromas and flavors of lemon, white peach and wet stone; clean and fresh. $11
2010 Finca Las Moras Malbec "Black Label," San Juan Pedernal, Argentina: Get this for relief from same-old malbec; waves of lively scents of black-red fruits; finely delivered tannins, all 'round the mouth and cleansing; pretty persistence of flavor, inviting more sips. $15
2010 Stoller Pinot Noir "JV Estate," Dundee Hills, Ore.: From vineyards that were formerly a turkey farm (perfect!) comes this high-fiving red, large in bright fruit (strawberry, cherry), tangy on the tongue. $25
2011 The Crusher Pinot Noir Wilson Vineyard, Clarksburg, Calif.: The kind of price for a pinot that actually keeps folk away; too bad, for this is Deal City pinot, all bright red fruits, with lifted aromas, juicy texture and zesty acidity. $11
2010 J. Lohr Valdiguie Wildflower, Monterey, Calif.: Such a delightful red, effusively fruity (black cherry, blueberry); scaled back in texture and weight; high gulp quotient, especially with a slight chill; super value. $10
Sweet potato pancake with sliced turkey, sage cream
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Makes: 4 pancakes
Note: Recipe from Paul Hobbs Winery, Sonoma, Calif.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 small shallot, peeled, diced
4 sage leaves, chopped
1/2 cup chardonnay or other dry white wine
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 1/2 cups leftover mashed sweet potato
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon butter
Leftover turkey breast, heated
1. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat; add shallot and sage. Cook until fragrant. Add wine; cook until reduced by half. Add cream; lower heat to a simmer. Cook 3-4 minutes; set aside.
2. Mix mashed sweet potato, egg, salt and pepper to taste until creamy. Melt butter in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat; form 4 pancakes directly in the skillet, in batches if necessary. Cook, turning once, 3 minutes per side. Put pancake on a plate; top with heated sliced turkey and sage cream.
Bill St. John has been writing and teaching about wine for more than 30 years. If your wine store does not carry these wines, ask for one similar in style and price.
email@example.com jg: when is the pancake formed?