In stadiums and in family rooms across the country, people have discovered that football and wine are a natural match. So now’s the time to invite your friends over on game day, whip up some all-American finger foods and be amazed at how the right wines can make everything taste extra good. No pressure to provide entertainment – the game will take care of that. Just take it easy and keep it casual. Read on for our favorite small-bite comfort food & wine pairings that will have you doing a touchdown dance.
Get the party hoppin’ with poppers. Count on the bubbles to stand up to the bold, spicy flavors and cut through the creamy cheese nicely.
Cheesy Jalapeño Poppers
3 cups canola oil
6 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1 3/4 cup Monterey Jack, shredded finely
1/4 teaspoon cumin powder
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 cups panko bread crumbs
1. Make a slit down the middle of each jalapeño, being sure to keep the stem end intact, and slice off the end. Using a tiny spoon, scoop out membrane and seeds.
2. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, Monterey Jack, cumin, salt and pepper.
3. Add canola oil to a medium pot (or cast iron skillet) and heat to 350°. Line a baking sheet with paper towels and set aside.
4. Meanwhile, stuff each jalapeño with a small spoonful of cheese mixture.
5. In batches, dip jalapeños in flour, egg, panko bread crumbs, and then dip once more in egg and panko bread crumbs. Transfer to hot oil and fry until golden brown, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer to paper towels to drain and serve immediately.
Puffy, golden mini frittatas reveal all of their eggy-cheesy yumminess when paired with a nutty, well-balanced, straightforward Chardonnay.
Mini Veggie Frittatas
4 spring onions, sliced into thin rounds
3 medium zucchini, chopped into ½-inch pieces
1 medium sweet red pepper, finely chopped
12-15 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
1 cup cheese cut into ¼-inch cubes (Monterey Jack or Cheddar)
8 large eggs
½ cup cream
Freshly ground black pepper
Fresh basil, finely chopped
1.Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 12 cup muffin tray, or use a flexible muffin mold.
2. Fry the onions, zucchini and red pepper in a medium frying pan for 5 minutes or until vegetables are light golden brown.
3. Leave the vegetables to cool for 5 minutes, then stir in tomatoes and cheese.
4. Break eggs into a bowl. Add cream and small amount of pepper, then whisk together.
5. Spoon the vegetable and cheese mixture into the muffin tray holes. Pour the egg mixture over the top. Spoon the vegetable and cheese mixture into the muffin tray holes. Pour the egg mixture over the top.
6. Bake for about 30 minutes or until puffed, golden and set. Let cool for 5 minutes then gently run a round bladed knife around the outside of each muffin and lift the frittatas out. Garnish with fresh basil. The frittatas can be enjoyed hot or cold.
How do you improve a BLT? Enjoy it with this award-winning Pinot Noir. Subtle tannins and smooth acidity bring out all that bacon smokiness.
6 slices sandwich bread (white or wheat) OR 12 small rolls or biscuits
1/4 cup mayonnaise
6 small tomatoes, sliced
6 – 10 slices bacon (everybody loves bacon)
Handful of baby lettuce or torn romaine leaves
Salt and pepper to taste
1. (If using bread) toast bread and cut into quarters.
2. Fry bacon over medium heat ’til crisp, drain on paper towels. When cool, cut each slice into 2-inch pieces.
3. Spread bread or rolls with mayo. Add bacon, tomato slices and lettuce. Salt and pepper lightly. Top with bread/roll or serve open faced.
When hearty little potatoes get dressed up like these, they call for the soft, fruity taste of an earthy, easygoing Merlot.
Loaded Baby Potatoes
15 small red potatoes (about 1 1/2 pounds)
6-8 slices bacon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 cups shredded sharp Cheddar (about 4 ounces)
1/3 cup creme fraiche or sour cream
2 tablespoons sliced green onion or fresh chives
1. Position a rack in the middle of oven and preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Pierce potatoes all over with a fork or tip of a sharp knife. Place directly on center oven rack. Bake until skins are crispy and a knife easily slides in – about 40 minutes.
3. Transfer potatoes to a wire rack until cool enough to handle.
4. While potatoes are cooking, fry bacon over medium heat, drain on paper towels until cool, then chop finely.
5. Set oven to broil. Slice each potato in half lengthwise and use a melon-baller or small spoon to scoop out inside flesh, leaving a 1/4-inch rim intact. Set flesh aside for another use.
6. Arrange potato halves skin-side down on a baking sheet. Brush exposed insides of with melted butter, sprinkle with salt and pepper. Flip potatoes and brush with remaining butter, then flip them back over. Fill each potato with some Cheddar and a generous pinch of bacon.
7. Cook until the cheese is bubbly and melted, about 2 minutes.
8. Top each potato with 1/2 teaspoon creme fraiche or sour cream and a sprinkling of green onion or chives. Serve immediately.