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How to Pair Wine and Root Vegetables

Posted by: Erin September 24, 2020 No Comments
How to Pair Wine and Root Vegetables

Autumn is in the air – and on the table. Here are our no stress tips on how to pair wine with root vegetables.

by Erin

At the best of times, wine and food pairings can stress out most of us. And, when cozy fall rolls around with all its root vegetables in tow, wine pairings are a nightmare.

The notoriously difficult flavours of the pungent cruciferous family, the earthy and slightly sweet of the squash and tuberous clans, not to mention whatever cheeses, creams, and spices you add to them, can make for a head scratcher of a wine pairing.

But fear not fall food-loving winos. We’ve picked up some insights along the way during our 10 years in the wine business. The first rule is not to stress about it. The second is to pair you wine to the strongest flavours of your dish (conveniently, we have a fun food and wine lab that teaches you how to do this). And lastly, if the above two recommendations don’t work for your particular dinner, here are some easy, grab and go wine pairings to make your root vegetables sing. 

Earthy, slightly sweet root vegetables

Butternut squash, carrots, parsnips, sweet potatoes, beets of any colour all fall into this category.

White

Riesling, Pinot Gris, Viognier, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc

Red

Pinot Noir, Spanish Rioja, Chianti, Gamay

Green, slightly pungent root vegetables

Here we have the much-maligned Brussels Sprouts, cabbage, turnip and broccoli family. These can have distinct flavours that offer challenges to wine pairing, but rest assured there are a few vinous gems that make great table mates for these love ‘em or leave ‘em polarizing veggies.

White

Sauvignon Blanc, Chablis, dry Riesling, Grüner Veltliner

Red

Cabernet Franc, Côtes du Rhône

Versatile wines

When in doubt wines with medium body, no oak, and crisp acidity can be a get-out-of-pairing-jail free card. They certainly won’t be a terrible pairing and will at least hold their own.

White

Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Soave, Sauvignon Blanc

Red

Barbera, Chianti, Gamay, Rioja crianza, Pinot Noir

Rosé

opt for dry pink wine from places like Provence, Ontario, or even some delicate Italian rosés.

Creamy Root Vegetable Stew

When I was in university, the Dairy Farmers of Canada put out a calendar of recipes and a root vegetable stew was one of them. On my own for the first time, I was a budding cook who didn’t know the different between a garlic bulb and a garlic clove (I quickly learned), and found the recipe to be comforting, easy, and for my basic culinary level, shockingly tasty.

I have no idea where that calendar is anymore, but this is a dish I still make when the weather turns a bit chilly. It’s evolved over the years into sort of a stew, sort of a chowder – a stewder? A chew?

Falling steadfastly in line with my cooking ethos, this is less of a recipe than a put on some music, pour a glass of wine and throw what you’ve got in pot.

I use whatever I find at the market: red onion, rutabaga, turnip, fennel, parsnip, potato, celeriac… any combination works, though I lean more to the savoury over the sweet root vegetables. If you aren’t in the mood for vegan, use whole milk, chicken stock and butter with the oil to sauté the veg.

Paired with big hunks of crusty bread, or even a lighter salad, this is a satisfying lunch or dinner. Or breakfast. You’re an adult, do what you want.

Makes: 2 liters

Total Time: About 90 minutes all in  

  • 1 large red onion
  • 1 large turnip
  • ½ rutabaga
  • 1 small celery root
  • 4 medium Yukon Gold potatoes
  • 1 small fennel bulb
  • 2 small parsnip
  • 1 garlic bulb, half the cloves diced, the other half left whole
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 1 large leek
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 2 litres vegetable stock
  • ½ can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 2 medium bay leaves
  • 1 spring rosemary
  • Salt and pepper
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  1. Pre heat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Peel and cube all the vegetables into bite size chunks (you should have enough to fill two baking sheets).
  3. In a large mixing bowl, place the vegetables (leaving out the diced garlic) and liberally season with salt and pepper and olive oil.
  4. Mix to combine and pour evenly onto the baking sheets.
  5. Place in the oven to roast for an hour, mixing every 15 minutes or so.
  6. While root vegetables roast, slice and thoroughly wash the leek and celery.
  7. In a large soup pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat and when warm add the leek and celery stirring until soft, about 3-5 minutes.
  8. Add the diced garlic, stirring to combine and heat until fragrant, about a minute.
  9. Lightly salt and pepper and then add in the white wine, stirring to get any stuck bits off the bottom of the pot.
  10. Add in the bay leaf and rosemary and let the wine boil until reduced by half or so.
  11. Add in the roasted root vegetables.
  12. Add in the stock and let simmer for 15-20 minutes.
  13. Turn down the heat and add in the coconut milk.
  14. Remove the rosemary twig and the bay leaf and throw away.
  15. Portion out about 2 cups of the soup and blitz in a blender to create a puree, adding it back into the soup to thicken. (If you like it more brothy, puree less, if you prefer more of a hearty soup puree more. But I would do this in small amounts and taste as you go as sometimes the vegetable combo can make for a less attractive colour and texture.)
  16. Add in the vinegar and adjust salt and pepper seasoning if required and serve.

Wine Pairing

In the photos you can see I chose an Ontario Chardonnay for the pairing, but you could just as easily pair a dry Riesling for an uplifting contrast or an Austrian Grüner Veltliner to compliment that earthy/vegetal note.

 

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