Moroccan Inspired Chicken and 2009 Vin de Pays du Vaucluse selected by Kermit Lynch   Leave a comment

Recently I found myself in a wine shop I had never visited before.  I love new wine shops– always full of the possibility of some great find, a new name I had not heard of before, a new varietal, an up and coming region.   As I trolled my way through the store, at the back, on a shelf marked “Recommended”, I spotted a 2009 Vin de Pays du Vaucluse selected by Kermit Lynch.  Normally I would walk past something like this.  Nothing against Kermit Lynch, but Vin de Pay generally isn’t worth the trouble.  But at $11 a bottle with the endorsement of the establishment right there how could I go wrong?  Let’s see: I bought two bottles.

First tasting: The wine has some nice cherry flavors, tannins are not particularly strong.  However, it felt slightly unbalanced because of the acidity.   Still it was attractive enough that none of the bottle remained at the end of the evening.  With that kind of acidity, I though it would do better with food.  Rated **

For the second tasting of this wine, I paired it with a Moroccan inspired dish.  On my travels to Morocco back in early 2001, I was impressed by the ubiquitous lemon chicken.  I have come up with my own variation of the dish that requires very little actual cooking time though it does require a little bit of  patience while it marinates. 

Second tasting: Even though I decanted the wine this time, my initial impressions were the same as on the first tasting.  However, the magic of a good pairing should never be underestimated.  This budget beauty started to sing.  A little more about this wine: it is a predominantly grenache based wine from the Southern Rhone.  55% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 15% Merlot, 10% Marselan.  The wine never sees the inside of an oak barrel– it’s all about stainless steel and cement cuves*– which helps explain the more pronounced acidity I picked up in the two tastings as well as the minimalism of tannic structure.  And yes, with only 13% alcohol and at $11 a bottle, I am buying more of this juice!  I don’t mean to gush, but this wine is all about delivering value.  Though my heart wants to go higher, my head says hold the rating to ** 1/2

Here is the recipe for Simple Moroccan Inspired Chicken which I made up on the fly earlier this morning before I left for work:

Simple Moroccan Inspired Chicken ©

Ingredients

  • 10-12 Chicken legs and/or thighs, seasoned with salt

Marinade Ingredients

  • Zest of one lemon minced
  • Juice of the same lemon squeezed into a mixing bowl (remove seeds)
  • 1 tsp. dried Thyme
  • 1/2 tsp. ground turmeric powder
  • 1/2 tsp. ground coriander seed
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • Medium sized shallot thinly sliced
  1. Place seasoned chicken in a zip lock bag.
  2. Whisk together all if the marinade ingredients in a bowl and pour into the bag with the chicken. 
  3. Close the bag and toss chicken pieces with the marinade till coated.
  4. Refrigerate for at least 8 hours.  This is easy since you can do this in the morning before you leave for work and it will be waiting for you when you come home.
  5. Preheat oven to 350°.
  6. Remove chicken from refrigerator 1/2 hour before cooking and place in roasting pan.
  7. Bake for 35 minutes.
  8. The chicken should be done at this point.  However an optional step to ensure browning of skin, is to place the chicken under the broiler for 3-5 minutes until the skin turns golden brown.

Serve this with a simple buttered couscous and a rocket salad.  You’ll be living large baby!

Sybarite Sauvage ©

Cheers y Salud!

*Cuve is the French word for a vat or tank.  A cuve may be made of any material including wood, concrete or stainless steel.
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Posted May 16, 2011 by Sybarite Sauvage in Food-Wine-Love

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