Richard Parker’s Fall Soup & Gearbox Sangiovese

It’s wonderful to be relieved of responsibility of preparing a Sunday repast. On an Autumn day, leaves drifting downward in the crisp air, having a man frog on hand to labor in the kitchen is a good thing. And today Richard Parker (my man frog) prepared his famous blend of meat and veggies in a rich broth that just sings Autumnal fare. Sometimes we refer to this dish as game day chow. Why? You put the recipe together just before the 1:00pm football game, put it in the slow-cooker and then focus on the game. Then by the end of the first half of the 4:00pm game, it’s time to take-up napkins and spoons. Time to break off a piece of crusty French bread, take a sip of “drinking” red & tuck in!

The wine? This is a wine that I have used with a previous recipe. Forgive me. I love the wine that much for the informality of tonight’s dinner. Simply put, you can put this wine against any comfort dish and it works. I love Gearbox even better slightly chilled.

Gearbox Sangiovese ’14 (Lodi, CA)

Sangiovese is the great grape of Tuscany, famous for the Chiantis and the world class Brunello that they make. This wine tastes like a stand-out Tuscan red but with more supple fruit, a more friendly supple mouthfeel, still a great food match but with an added silky soft finish. The wine is brimming with red berry fruit, spent a year in neutral oak. The wine is a steal! A great Barbeque red, rich tomato based sauces even great with spicy foods. Dark bing cherries, and raspberries with hints of cinnamon and cloves, and a bit of thyme. Superb fruit on the palate with bright acidity. This wine is an extremely versatile red, the ultimate crowd pleaser.

Richard Parker’s Autumn Soup


6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
1 lb lean ground beef
2 whole carrots, diced
4 celery stalks, minced
1 medium onion, minced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 can crushed tomatoes (28 oz)
2 whole bay leaves
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried basil
Salt and pepper to taste
1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (15oz)
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed (15oz)
1 cup ditalini pasta, uncooked
Grated parmesan cheese


  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. Put everything except beans, pasta and cheese into a slow cooker
  3. Cook on low 7-8 hours, or high 3-4 hours.
  4. 30 minutes before the end, add in beans (drained and rinsed) and dry pasta. Add salt and pepper to taste
  5. Remove bay leaves before serving. Top with grated parmesan.

n.b. Richard calls this “soup”; but truth be told it has the consistency of a thick chili. I used ground bison.  And, no… browning of the meat is unnecessary.  No fears, the dry pasta cooks in the soup. A crusty garlic bread is a terrific side dish.  And if this dish sounds too simple.  It is.  Just don’t tell Richard Parker.  He’s a proud frog and takes his craft seriously.


Richard Parker serves a light refreshment before supper.

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