Discada & 2017 Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella Nanfrè

The introductory text and photo to this recipe seduced me: “This savory, spicy dish is essentially a stir-fry made for meat-lovers.” OK, sounds good to me!  But then this, “A great, hearty meal to serve for a crowd…”  OK, pump the brakes!  Sandy & I hardly constitute a crowd… even adding a friend or two, and counting on second-night leftovers, the recipe looked too big. And I wasn’t confident about scaling it down.  The concluding sentence: “Discada is also excellent served alongside eggs for a seriously hearty breakfast dish.”  Boom! I’m in!  Now to find a wine!

This proved to be an unexpected challenge.  My first choice was to go with a Cru Beaujolais.  I had just hosted a Beaujolais Tasting looking at 12 different wines, and there was a Fleurie  in the flight that I loved, Domaine de Fa Roche Guillon. Wonderful fruit and florals, delectably framed. But, no… that wine would have gotten buried by the pungent spiciness of the dish.  Then I moved to consider a delicious and fleshy Zin I had just used in another tasting: Bedrock Old Vine Zinfandel.  Fruit juiciness in the glass!  Ahhhhh, no!  That’s a clash of competing richness.  This dish called for good fruit, but simple well integrated straight forward taste.  My go-to for that style of wine is Côtes du Rhône.  A modest Cab based Bordeaux would do. But there is another wine that I had used in yet another tasting that I put into play: 2017 Sant’ Antonio Valpolicella Nafrè.  Excellent choice! 

Tenuta Sant’Antonio Valpolicella Nanfrè ’17 (Veneto, Italy)
A blend of 70% Corvina and 30% Rondinella. Pleasant and inviting aromas of cherry, mint and sage fill your glass. On the palate, delicious flavors of dark cherry, red berries, licorice, spice and savory herbs with moderate tannins and a nice, long finish. 

This recipe calls for more prep than I typically like.  And it’s more hands on in the cooking process.  But it’s worth it!

6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
3 olives stuffed with blue cheese
4 oz chopped pancetta
½ lb fresh chorizo, casings removed & chopped
1 large russet potato, cut into ¼” pieces
¼ cup canola oil, divided
2 ¼ tsp kosher salt
½ lb center cut pork chops, cut into ½” pieces
½ lb flank steak, cut into ½” pieces
2 hotdogs, cut into ½” pieces
1 large yellow onion, chopped
1 medium-sized red bell pepper, chopped
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded and cut lengthwise
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
3 cloves of garlic, diced
¾ cup of lager beer
½ cup fresh cilantro, chopped
corn tortillas, pico de gallo, avocado, fresh cilantro, lime wedges

1. Put gin and vermouth into a glass pitcher, fill with ice, stir vigorously while incanting, “You who know all, thank you for providing us juniper and all the other obscure ingredients responsible for creating this sacred liquid!” Strain into a pre-frozen Martini glass of admirable size.  Skewer the olives on one of those tacky cocktail swords, place in glass. Immediately begin consuming.  Now you can begin the food prep, and the cooking!

2. Cook pancetta in a large skillet over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally, until just crisp, about 6 minutes.  Add chorizo; cook, stirring to break into pieces, ‘til chorizo is brown and pancetta crisp. Using a slotted spoon transfer pancetta and bacon to a large bowl, reserving drippings in the skillet.

3. Add potato, 2 tbsp oil ¾ tsp of salt to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, ‘til potatoes are tender and browned, about 8 minutes.  Transfer potatoes to the bowl. 

4. Add pork, steak & hot dogs, and remaining 2 tbsp oil to the skillet.  Cook, stirring occasionally, ‘til browned, 5 to 6 minutes.  Using slotted spoon, transfer to mixture in the bowl.

5. Add onion, bell pepper, jalapeños, cumin, black pepper and remaining 1 ½ tsp salt to the skillet; cook, stirring occasionally ‘til tender, about 8 minutes.  Add tomatoes and garlic, stirring often ‘til tomatoes have softened, about 4 minutes. 

6. Stir in beer & cilantro, and add the mixture from the bowl.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cook, stirring occasionally, ‘til the liquid is mostly evaporated, about 10 minutes.  Serve in tortillas with your desired toppings.

n.b. The original recipe called for 4 slices of bacon.  I opted for pancetta because Boar’s Head has a 4oz package of diced pancetta. One prep step saved.  I was also able to source a package of ground chorizo. Second prep step saved.  Instead of chorizo, Italian sausage might also work here, hot or sweet – your call.  The original recipe called for a hanger steak.  I prefer flank steak for its thickness. The inclusion of hotdogs in the recipe seemed to be a “hair out of place.”  But in the introductory text, “… trust us, don’t skip the hotdogs!” OK, I threw in the hotdogs, but I’m not sure what was gained. A p.s. here, use Hummel’s for the dogs.  Although I used a “taco” sized tortilla, I think “wrap” sized will be better suited for the mélange of ingredients.  Last note.  Discada as a side dish for breakfast?  Off the charts spectacular!


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