Monday, February 6, 2012

"Super Bowl" Supper

On Super Bowl Sunday, during the day, we went to visit friends Jeff and Kelly White at Glen Manor Vineyards and taste some of their delicious wine along with a picnic lunch that we cobbled together from whatever we had laying around. That meant we would not be home to cook for dinner and naturally we wouldn't be cooking during the game either. What to do?

Slow cooker to the rescue! I just love slow cookers—plug them in and forget them! What to make? After our mystery basket dinner the previous Sunday, we had some quail, rabbit sausages, and andouille in the fridge, unused during that dinner. It's not a big leap from these ingredients to gumbo, a dish that with a little advance planning could cook itself while we were away.

On Monday, I browned the rabbit sausages, the quail, and some leftover ground pork which together with mirepoix and a ham hock became stock after simmering for a couple hours. I removed the sausages after about 20 minutes because I wanted to slice them into coins to go into the gumbo at the last minute. The rest of the meat, I picked after it cooled and returned it to the stock, which went into the fridge for the coming weekend.

During a lull on Friday afternoon, I prepped a big batch of trinity—onions, celery, and poblano peppers—and cooked it down with garlic, thyme, and my Cajun spice mix that we refer to as "magic dust." At the same time, I cooked a batch of dark brown roux.

With all this prep ahead of time, on Sunday all I needed to do was put trinity, roux, and stock in the slow cooker and walk out the door. On arriving home from the winery, I put on a pot of rice, added the andouille and rabbit sausages to the gumbo and corrected the seasoning. I thought it was a fitting "super bowl" of gumbo to go with the Super Bowl.

And what to drink? Preston gave us this bottle of 1983 Grand-Puy Ducasse, a Pauillac that was one of the original fifth growths in the 1855 classification. Although 1983 wasn't a super vintage, it wasn't a bad one either and was certainly a much better value than the preceding blockbuster 1982 vintage. The wine as you can see is holding its color well and the tannins are softening. The black currant and the dried blackberry leaf flavors are forward now. I don't imagine this wine getting any better now that the fruit is fading, but I imagine it will hold on for a few more years. It paired just fine with the not too spicy gumbo. Not the ultimate pairing, but not bad either.

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