Winter White Feast Menu

Apple Salad in Endive Leaves with Gewürztraminer Vinaigrette

Butternut Squash Risotto

Chicken with Chardonnay and Forty Cloves of Garlic

Apple Salad in Endive Leaves with Gewürztraminer Vinaigrette

These light-as-a-feather starters are fresh, crunchy, floral, spicy. The flavors of the wine are intensified in the dressing, so choose a rich, full-bodied Gewürztraminer, like the Alsatian-style Gewürz produced at Bel Lago Vineyard and Winery.

  • 2 cups Gewürztraminer
  • 6 tablespoons good-quality extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
  • Pinch cayenne, to taste
  • 1 medium head Belgian endive, leaves separated
  • 1 stalk celery, thinly sliced on diagonal
  • 2 granny smith apples, thinly chopped
  • 1/2 cup pecans, toasted and chopped (optional)
  • 1/3 cup shaved Parmesan cheese

Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper and a pinch of cayenne, to taste.Boil wine in heavy medium saucepan until reduced to 3 tablespoons, about 10 to 15 minutes. Pour into small bowl and let cool. Whisk in oil and vinegar. Toss apple and celery in large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Spoon dollops of apple mixture into endive leaves and top with pecans and Parmesan shavings. Serves 6 to 8 as a starter.

Butternut Squash Risotto

A little extra stove time is worth it for this luscious dish – enjoy a glass of the white you’ve uncorked for the recipe while you stir. We like Good Harbor Vineyards’ Pinot Grigio.

  • 1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 7 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 teaspoon minced peeled fresh gingerroot
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/4 cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Pinot Gris
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 2 leaves fresh sage, chopped
  • Grated or shaved Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450°F. Halve squash lengthwise and discard seeds. Bake squash in middle of oven until tender and browned lightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Holding halved squash in a kitchen towel, scoop out flesh and chop coarsely.

In a saucepan bring stock and water to a simmer and keep at a gentle simmer. In another saucepan cook onion, garlic, and gingerroot in butter over moderately low heat, stirring until softened. Stir in rice and cook over moderate heat, stirring constantly, about 1 minute. Add wine and cook, stirring until absorbed. Stir in 1/4 cup stock and stir constantly at a simmer until absorbed.

Continue simmering and adding stock, about 1/4 cup at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each addition to be absorbed before adding next, until about half of stock has been added.

Stir in diced and chopped squash and continue simmering and adding stock in same manner until rice is tender and creamy but still al dente, about 18 minutes. (You may not need to use all of the stock).Stir in chives, sage, and salt and pepper to taste.

Spoon risotto into a serving bowl and garnish with chives and Parmesan. Serves 4 to 6 as a side dish.

Chicken with Chardonnay and Forty Cloves of Garlic

All those cloves will mellow and sweeten as they simmer. Buttery Chardonnay gives the sauce its rich depth. Try Shady Lane Cellars’ 2004 Chardonnay or Peninsula Cellars’ 2004 Chardonnay, which made the “Top Most Exciting Wines” list in Tom Stevenson’s book The Wine Report: 2007.

  • 3 whole heads garlic, about 40 cloves
  • 6-8 chicken pieces, skin on, mix of breasts, drumsticks and thighs
  • Sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons Cognac, optional
  • 1 1/2 cups Chardonnay
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 3 tablespoons heavy cream
  • 1 tablespoon fresh chopped flat-leaf parsley

Separate the cloves of garlic and drop them into a pot of boiling water for 60 seconds – this quick blanching makes them easier to peel. Drain the garlic and peel. Set aside.

Dry the chicken with paper towels (this will help it to brown nicely) and salt and pepper liberally on both sides. Heat the butter and oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. In batches, sauté the chicken skin side down first, until browned, about 4 minutes on each side. Turn with tongs or a spatula without piercing the skin. When first batch is done, transfer it to a plate and continue to sauté all the chicken in batches. Once the last chicken batch is removed, add all of the garlic to the pot. Lower the heat and sauté for about 7 minutes, turning often so the garlic doesn’t burn and turn bitter. Add the Cognac and the wine, return to a boil, scraping the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Return the chicken to the pot with the juices and add the thyme leaves and nutmeg. Cover and simmer on low for about 30 minutes, until all the chicken is cooked and tender.

Remove the chicken to a platter and keep warm. In a small bowl, whisk together 1 1/2 cup of the sauce and the flour and then stir it back into the sauce in the pot. Raise the heat, add the cream, and boil for 3 minutes. Add salt and pepper, to taste. Pour the sauce and the garlic over the chicken, sprinkle with parsley and serve with crusty bread. Serves 6 to 8.

Emily Betz Tyra is associate editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s Magazine.

Photo(s) by Todd Zawistowski