Sure, I know beer is a more typical pairing choice for chili. Some folks even swear by milk! But wine is definitely my beverage of choice to enjoy with a meal, so I've been working on getting chili and wine pairing down to a science.
During my latest chili and wine pairing adventure, I started with the wine I wanted to serve. I had another bottle of the 2012 Halter Ranch Syrah from Paso Robles waiting in the wings. It paired nicely with this grilled tuna, which was served with a mix of grilled eggplant and spicy peppers. I had a notion that it could also do very nicely with a chili.
One key that I've found to chili and wine pairing is to make a chili that is flavorful but not overwhelmingly hot. You start making 5 alarm style chili, then you are going to need to defer to beer. I made this chili with some healthy ground turkey, and a nice blend of spices to give it plenty of flavor without overwhelming heat. Though I prefer wine with the chili, I did use some beer in recipe. And yes, a little bit of chocolate goes in to deepen the flavor.
Here are the details:
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 jalapeno peppers, chopped, most of the seeds removed (a few left for a bit of extra kick!)
1 carrot, chopped
1 lb. ground turkey
2 cups canned tomatoes
1 tbsp tomato paste
2 cups red kidney beans, cooked (I started with dried)
1 1/2 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp each of cumin, coriander, and paprika
1/2 tsp oregano
generous pinch cinnamon
juice from 1/2 lime
about 1/2 cup beer
1 tsp bittersweet chocolate
for toppings: grated cheddar, chopped avocado, sour cream
Heat the olive oil in a large pot. Add the vegetables through carrot as they are chopped.
Next, add the ground turkey and brown, about 10 minutes.
After the turkey has browned, add the tomatoes, tomato paste, and beans. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Add the dried spices, cover and simmer for at least an hour.
After an hour, add the lime and beer simmer, and simmer for 1 more hour.
Serve the chili in bowls with the toppings. Avocado is a very nice touch here! I found we needed less cheese and sour cream with the healthy fruit in the mix. Enjoy!
Wine Pairing: The Halter Ranch Syrah has a big fragrance of violets and forest floor. I got blackberry jam and white pepper taste. The Syrah opens nicely and shows a lot of finesse on the long finish. There's a depth and complexity to the wine that works nicely with the lively flavors of the chili. This wine definitely qualifies as a good pairing for a flavorful, mild to medium chili. Give it a try!
Full disclosure: I received a complimentary sample of the wine from the winery. As always, the opinions and recipe are entirely my own.