Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Harlow Court Private Reserve with Year of the Pig Chinese New Year decorations

Happy Chinese New Year and Year of the Pig! In the Chinese Zodiac, the pig represents luck, good fortune, wealth, honesty and prosperity.

In the 12-year Chinese Zodiac cycle, each year relates to an animal sign. Because 2019 is the 12th year, it invites us to reflect upon not only the past year but the past 12 years of our lives. This is a time to gather and celebrate with food, drink and laughter.

Throw a Year of the Pig Tasting.

When it comes to lighthearted party or Tasting themes, it’s hard to top a Year of the Pig party. Cute pigs make people happy. Our artisan wines make people happy, too. (BTW, wine was enjoyed in China thousands of years ago and is a big part of Chinese New Year celebrations today, so we’ve put together some festive recipes and pairings for you below.)

For lucky decorations, go red and gold.

Have fun with red and gold everywhere! Tabletop decor, lanterns, banners, etc. Have a lucky red envelope for each of the guests (tuck a “golden” coin inside – chocolate coins are okay). Piggy statues, pictures and accessories are also worth snorting about. Find decorations here.

Invite everybody to identify their zodiac animal.

This zodiac calculator takes only one minute to do, so keep it open on your laptop or tablet.

As guests identify their animal, write it on a stick-on nametag. If there are any pigs in the group, give them special treatment (like being the first to sample wines and/or getting a piggy trinket).

It’s all about the Chinese food (and wine).

Here are 8 lucky ideas to entice your taste buds. It’s also traditional to have plenty of tangerines and nuts for munching. No Asian bakery nearby? No worries. Order fortune cookies and other goodies here.

Steamed Pork Dumplings with Soy Ginger Sauce

Mouthwatering lucky dumplings represent wealth as we send away the old year and welcome the new.

Steamed Pork Dumplings with Soy Ginger Sauce
Servings: 10

PAIRS WITH: Moderna 2016 Artist’s Red Blend

INGREDIENTS: 

Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce

1/4 cup rice vinegar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons fresh ginger, minced
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Global Selects White Pepper from Malaysia

Steamed Pork Dumplings

3 cups shredded Napa cabbage, (about 1/2 pound)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound ground pork
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onion
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1/2 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Global Selects White Pepper from Malaysia
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 package (12 ounces) round dumpling wrappers, (about 40)

DIRECTIONS:

1. For the Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce, mix all ingredients in small bowl with wire whisk until well blended. Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

2. Toss cabbage with salt in a large bowl and let stand 5 to 10 minutes or until slightly softened. Drain cabbage, squeezing to drain excess liquid into bowl. Transfer cabbage into a separate clean bowl.

3. Add pork, green onion, soy sauce, ginger, white pepper, and egg to bowl with cabbage, stirring to mix well.

4. To form dumplings, place about 1/2 tablespoon of filling in center of each wrapper. Moisten edge of wrapper with water. Fold in half to form a half moon shape, pressing edges together to seal. Place on a parchment lined sheet pan and cover with a damp paper towel to keep dumplings moist until ready to steam.

5. To cook the dumplings, pour 1 inch of water into large pot. Bring to boil. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper. Place some of the dumplings in single layer in steamer basket. Insert steamer basket in pot. Cover. Steam on medium heat 6 to 8 minutes or until cooked through. Repeat with remaining dumplings, adding more water as needed.

6. Serve warm with Ginger Soy Dipping Sauce on the side. Sprinkle with additional chopped green onions, if desired.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - General Tsao’s Meatballs

Meatballs symbolize a reunion. Perhaps General Tsao celebrated with savory bites such as these?

General Tsao’s Meatballs
Servings: 15

PAIRS WITH: Monarch 2017 Syrah

INGREDIENTS: 

1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 pouch Simply Asia General Tsao Stir Fry Sauce
1/4 cup orange juice

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix breadcrumbs, egg, milk, garlic powder and ground ginger in large bowl until well blended. Add ground beef; mix well.

2. Shape into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs in foil-lined 15x10x1-inch baking pan.

3. Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Drain if needed.

4. Bring Stir-Fry Sauce and orange juice to simmer in large skillet on medium heat. Add meatballs; toss to coat well and cook until heated through.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Beef Lo Mein

Lucky noodles represent longevity, so please leave them long and don’t cut them. Just slurp them!

Beef Lo Mein
Servings: 4 (1 cup)

PAIRS WITH: Revel 2018 Sauvignon Blanc

INGREDIENTS: 

4 ounces lo mein noodles
1/2 pound beef stir-fry strips
1 tablespoon oil
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ginger, Ground
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Cinnamon, Ground
2 cups frozen Asian stir-fry vegetables
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook lo mein noodles as directed on package. Drain well.

2. Toss beef with oil and spices in medium bowl. Set aside.

3. Heat large skillet on medium heat. Add beef; cook and stir 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Add vegetables; cover and cook 2 to 3 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Add cooked noodles, hoisin sauce and soy sauce; cook and stir 2 minutes. Serve immediately.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Hot and Sour Soup

Mushrooms for a long life, onions for cleverness, bamboo shoots for a new start. Simply delicious.

Hot and Sour Soup
Servings: 6 (1 cup)

PAIRS WITH: Moderna 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon

INGREDIENTS: 

4 cups Kitchen Basics® Unsalted Vegetable Stock
8 ounces shiitake mushroom caps, sliced
1 can (4 ounces) bamboo shoots, drained
1/4 cup rice vinegar
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Red Pepper, Crushed
1/8 teaspoon McCormick Gourmet™ Organic White Pepper, Ground
1/4 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
1 egg white, lightly beaten
1 green onion, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet™ Organic Sesame Seed, Toasted

DIRECTIONS:

1. Bring stock, mushrooms and bamboo shoots to boil in large saucepan. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer 5 minutes. Stir in vinegar, soy sauce, sugar, red pepper and white pepper.

2. Mix cornstarch and water in small bowl until smooth. Stir into saucepan with wire whisk. Gradually whisk in egg white; simmer until cooked through.

3. Ladle into soup bowls. Sprinkle with green onion and sesame seed.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Egg Drop Noodle Soup

Fragrant bowls of broth, noodles and golden egg drops (for fertility) also bring good luck.

Egg Drop Noodle Soup
Servings: 6 (1 cup)

PAIRS WITH: Joy Cellars 2017 Gewürztraminer

INGREDIENTS: 

1/3 package (from 14-ounce box) Simply Asia Chinese Style Lo Mein Noodles
4 cups (1 quart) Kitchen Basics® Original Chicken Stock
1 cup water
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon McCormick® Garlic Powder
1 teaspoon McCormick® Ginger, Ground
1/4 teaspoon McCormick® Black Pepper, Ground
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup finely chopped green onions

DIRECTIONS:

1. Cook noodles as directed on package. Drain. Set aside.

2. Bring stock, water, soy sauce, garlic powder and ginger to boil in large saucepan on medium heat. Add noodles; cook 2 minutes.

3. Slowly whisk eggs into the broth, stirring the whole time until egg is cooked. Sprinkle with green onions.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Confetti Fortune Cookies

The fortune cookie gets dolled up for the new year. All good things await.

Confetti Fortune Cookies
Servings: 20 cookies

PAIRS WITH: le Cadeau Semi-Seco Sparkling Wine

INGREDIENTS: 

20 fortune cookies, unwrapped
2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips, melted
Sprinkles for decorating

DIRECTIONS:

1. Line a medium cookie sheet with parchment paper. Dip cookies halfway in chocolate. Decorate with sprinkles and place on cooking sheet.

2. When all cookies are decorated, place in refrigerator to harden, 10 minutes.

*Recipe Courtesy of Delish.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Chocolate Peanut Butter Bao

Traditional bao gets a festive, unconventional makeover with fluffy peanut butter filling and a chocolate drizzle.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bao
Servings: 16 buns

PAIRS WITH: Revel Vin Rouge

INGREDIENTS: 

Chocolate Bao Buns

1 cup Thai Kitchen® Coconut Milk
3 ounces semi-sweet baking chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
3 1/3 cups self-rising flour, such as Gold Medal® Self-Rising Flour

Peanut Butter Cream

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
1 tablespoon McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
1/2 cup heavy cream

Topping

1/4 cup chopped salted peanuts
1 ounce semi-sweet baking chocolate, melted

DIRECTIONS:

1. For the Bao Buns, microwave coconut milk in medium microwavable bowl 1 minute on HIGH or until hot. Stir in chopped chocolate until melted. Add granulated sugar, coconut oil and vanilla. Gradually stir in flour until combined. (Work in flour by hand as dough gets stiffer.) Form into a ball. Cover and let rest 30 minutes.

2. Roll out dough on lightly floured surface to 1/4-inch thickness. Cut out 16 rounds (3- to 3 1/2-inches in diameter) with cutter. (Re-roll scraps and cut out rounds just once. Overworking dough may cause Bao Buns not to rise properly.)

3. Brush dough rounds lightly with additional coconut oil. Fold over each round without pressing down. Cover with damp kitchen towel. Let rest 10 minutes.

4. To cook the Bao Buns, pour 1 inch of water into large pot. Bring to boil. Line a steamer basket with parchment paper. Place some of the bao buns in steamer basket. (Do not overcrowd steamer as buns will expand during cooking.) Insert steamer basket in pot. Cover. Steam on medium heat 10 minutes or until buns have expanded. Transfer buns to wire rack to cool. Repeat with remaining Bao Buns.

5. For the Peanut Butter Cream, beat peanut butter, cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until smooth. Add heavy cream and vanilla; beat until light and fluffy.

6. To assemble, gently split Bao Buns. Dollop a spoonful of Peanut Butter Cream into each Bao Bun. Top with peanuts and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

Let’s Toast the Year of the Pig! Chinese Food & Wine Pairings - Chinese Almond Cookies

Lovely crunchy almond cookies represent coins and bring success, so make plenty. 

Did you know: Chinese Five Spice is a unique spice blend that dates back thousands of years. It’s believed to have come about when trying to create a “wonder powder” incorporating all five tastes of Chinese cuisine – salty, sweet, sour, bitter and spicy.

Chinese Almond Cookies
Servings: 18 cookies

PAIRS WITH: Somersville Cellars 2016 Red Meritage

INGREDIENTS: 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2/3 cup sugar
1 2/3 cups flour
2/3 cup finely chopped almonds
1 tablespoon McCormick Gourmet™ Chinese Five Spice Blend
1 tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon McCormick® Pure Almond Extract
Sliced almonds

DIRECTIONS:

1. Beat butter and sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add remaining ingredients, except sliced almonds; mix well. Refrigerate dough 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place on ungreased baking sheets. Press each dough ball to 1/4-inch thickness with bottom of drinking glass. Top each with 2 sliced almonds.

3. Bake 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

*Recipe and Photo Courtesy of McCormick & Company, Inc.

 

For much more about the history, traditions and significance of Chinese New Year, please go here.