We didn’t call it comfort food when I was a kid. We called it food. It was served in generous portions, and in my home, where my Grandmother “Mommie Soph” ruled in the kitchen, comfort food could have been re-defined as “not-less-than-seconds”.
For me, comfort food conveys all the best of home… dry socks after shoveling snow, a crackling log fire with the wind beating against the window panes. We sit down to the table of a simple repast that never fails. And the wine I love speaks to the same simplicity and generosity. I call it a “bistro/café” wine… the type of wine that you find in the simple places traveling the small roads of Europe. Wine that you’d enjoy with lusty enthusiasm… killing a bottle by yourself, and all the time wondering, why can’t we get wine like that home?
Well… you can!
Vall Sanzo ’07 (Castilla y León, Spain)
This is one of the hottest values in market place. The wine is 100% Tempranillo from vineyards located between Ribera del Duero and Toro. This is very high quality at a very low price. Gorgeous sensuous dark fruit with a lovely palate feel that smacks of a much more expensive bottle of wine.
“The 2007 T-Sanzo Tempranillo was naturally fermented and aged in French and American oak for six months. It exhibits an expressive perfume of wood smoke, pencil lead, violets, cinnamon, incense, and blackberry. This leads to a mouth-filling, generous, richly-fruited wine with lots of spice, superb balance, and a lengthy fruit-filled finish. Drink it from 2011 to 2019. It is a terrific value. – 90” — Jay Miller, Wine Advocate
6 ounces of Tanqueray Gin
½ ounce of Noilly Pratt Dry Vermouth
a goodly amount of ice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, diced (one cup)
8 ounces white button mushrooms, finely diced
1 small carrot, finely grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 clove garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds of ground bison
3/4 cup quick cooking oats
2 large eggs, beaten
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
1 8 oz can no-salt tomato sauce
1 tablespoon prepared mustard
1 tablespoon unsulfured molasses
- 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 cockamamie 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!
- Pre-heat the oven to 350.
- Heat oil in a large skillet, add the onion and the mushrooms and cook until the liquid is evaporated and the mushrooms begin to brown (about 8 minutes). Stir in the carrots, tomato paste, thyme and garlic and cook, stirring, 2 minutes more. Allow to cool completely.
- In a large bowl (Mommie Soph would use it for cereal!) combine the bison, oats, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, mushroom mixture, salt & pepper. Mix until just well combined. Transfer the mixture to a 9″x13″ baking dish and shape into loaf about 5″ wide and 2″ high (I like to make mine like a snow man… but that’s just me).
- Cook the meatloaf until the thermometer reads 160, about 55-60 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest for 15 minutes before slicing.
- Dig in! Remember, this is comfort food! Open a second bottle, and prep a third!
n.b. Bison? You can certainly use lean chopped beef, although bison is mighty tasty. And since the dish is be paired with a Spanish red, maybe we should refer to the meat as toro?