Posted: Jul 27, 2011 11:28 AM
Chef Savage Stuffs a Chicken, and I Help to Wash it Down
Executive Chef Scott Savage of the Cliff House at Pikes Peak has shown how to prepare a simple, flavorful alternative to the ubiquitous baked or fried chicken. Utilizing a free-range, airline chicken breast, and a forced meat stuffing of sun dried tomatoes, chicken tenders, and egg whites; Chef Savage details a light, fresh, and vibrant way to oven-roast your fowl. My purpose is to recommend some additional seasoning by way of libation.
Most important - I believe - is to choose a wine, white or red, with medium to high acidity. When oven roasting, it is easy to over-cook your protein, creating a dry at best, hard to swallow at worst, textural sensation (especially true with poultry). To mitigate this possible outcome, as well as to compliment a tomato's natural tartness, choose a wine that makes you salivate.
For a white wine, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc is a great choice. With mouth-watering acidity, explosive citrus fruit, and a viney, grassy quality, Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand assures a juicy bite every time, with complementing savory aromatics, and a pleasant taste of citrus. Try Grove Mill or Craggy Range for some exemplary New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc expressions.
For a red wine, look no further than Italy. The Italians have been cooking tomatoes and making wine for thousands of years - and they've worked out a detail or two. My first choice is Barbera from Piedmont. With light tannins (i.e. it won't make something dry even dryer) and tangy acidity, Barbera not only complements Chef Savage's stuffed chicken, it adds a layer of complexity with its interesting earthy notes wrapped in boisterous cherry and red plum fruit. Some top producers to try are Mattei, Giacomo, and Tenaglia.
Please remember, these recommendations are the tip of the iceberg - there are myriad wines from around the world that will complement this chicken dish, or a host of other oven roasted poultry preparations. Sticking to a wine with light tannins and fresh acidity is your best bet. As always, feel free to join us at the Cliff House where we will be glad to go into greater detail - to help with your home cooking or to present a beautiful meal, with, of course, an appropriate wine.