Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders & Savory Pumpkin Sage Waffles with Brown Butter Maple Syrup

Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines N/V Blanc de Noirs

 

THE RECIPE:

Buttermilk Fried Chicken Tenders & Savory Pumpkin Sage Waffles with Brown Butter Maple Syrup

 


INGREDIENTS

For the waffles:

2 cups all purpose flour

2.5 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon brown sugar

3 tablespoons canola oil

2 eggs

1.5 cups buttermilk

1/2 cup canned pumpkin puree

1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage

For the fried chicken:

1.5-2 lbs chicken breast tenders

1.5 cups buttermilk

1.5 cups all purpose flour

2 teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the brown butter maple syrup:

1 stick butter (salted or unsalted, your preference)

1 cup real maple syrup

pinch of nutmeg

pinch of salt


PREPARATION

1. Sift together all dry ingredients for the waffles and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs, oil, buttermilk and pumpkin puree until smooth and completely incorporated. Whisk all of the dry ingredients into wet ingredients, 1/2 cup at a time until completely smooth. Set aside to rest while waffle iron heats. About 15 minutes.

2. Scoop 1/4-1/3 cup of batter into the center of your waffle iron and cook about 1.5-2 minutes until golden. Waffle irons vary, so gauge your time accordingly. As waffles finish, place them on a rimmed baking sheet in a 200F oven to keep warm and continue to crisp slightly.

3. Meanwhile, in a medium sauce pot, melt butter over medium-low heat until milk solids begin to brown and the butter gives off a nutty aroma. Carefully add maple syrup and whisk well to completely incorporate. Add salt and nutmeg. Remove from heat until ready to serve.

4. Heat a large, heavy-bottomed pot with about 3” of canola oil (use any oil you prefer to fry with). While oil heats, mix flour, salt, pepper, nutmeg and cayenne pepper. Create a dredging station with chicken in one dish, flour mixture in another dish, and finally the buttermilk in a third dish.

5. Place each chicken tender (only a few at a time) into dry ingredients and coat completely. Shake off excess flour, dip into buttermilk, allow excess liquid to drip off, place chicken back into dry ingredients to coat completely (this is adequate for a light crispy coating. If you like extra crunch, repeat the process one more time).

6. Fry chicken tenders in batches of no more than 6 to keep the oil hot. Fry for 6 minutes, flipping half way through, until completely crisp and golden. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate to drain excess grease. Place fried chicken tenders into oven with waffles until all chicken is cooked and you are ready to serve.

7. Warm the syrup before pouring over the chicken & waffles. Enjoy!

Piggy Pasta

Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines 2017 Grey Palm Zinfandel

 

THE RECIPE:

BUCATINI WITH SAUSAGE, MUSHROOMS, WHITE WINE + PARMESAN,

A.K.A. PIGGY PASTA


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes
Yield: six servings

INGREDIENTS

1 package of bucatini pasta (linguine is a close 2nd)

1-lb bulk spicy italian sausage (use sweet italian if you are sensitive to heat)

1/2-lb cremini mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

1 shallot, minced

2 cloves garlic, minced or grated

1-cup dry white wine

1-cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

salt + freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 teaspoon red chili flakes (optional)

fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish


PREPARATION

1. Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a rapid boil.

2. Heat a heavy-bottomed 12”-skillet (use the largest straight-sided skillet you own). Add Italian sausage and cook over medium-low heat until sausage is cooked and fat is well rendered.

3. Add shallot and quartered mushrooms to pan with sausage and cook in rendered fat, until mushrooms begin to brown, about 8 minutes.

4. Add pasta to boiling water. Be aware of directed cooking time on package, as you will want to remove pasta 2 minutes shy of package instructions.

5. While pasta cooks, add garlic to sausage & mushrooms and sauté just until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add wine and scrape up any brown bits from the bottom and sides of the pan. Simmer over medium-low heat for 5-7 minutes.

6. Reserve 1-cup of the starchy pasta water just before draining pasta. Once drained (do not rinse!), add pasta to the pan with the sausage and mushrooms. Add 1/2 of the reserved pasta water, toss to combine and continue to cook over medium heat for 2 minutes.

7. Add cheese and stir thoroughly. Add salt + pepper to taste. **If your pasta seems very dry (which should not be the case) add a little more of the starchy pasta water until it has reached your desired moisture level.

8. Garnish with parsley, more cheese and optional red chili flakes.

9. Enjoy!

Calabrian Clams

Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines 2019 Barrel-Aged Sauvignon Blanc

 

THE RECIPE:

SEVEN-INGREDIENT CALABRIAN CLAMS


Prep time: 20 minutes
Cook time: 15-20 minutes

Servings: two generous appetizer servings


INGREDIENTS

2 lbs littleneck clams (1 lb per person)

5 oz diced pancetta

2 cloves garlic, grated

1-2 tablespoons calabrian chili paste (depending on heat preference)

1 cup dry white wine

1/2 cup fresh (or frozen) peas

1 lemon, halved


PREPARATION

1. Place clams in a bowl and submerge completely with cool water. Let sit for 20-minutes (1-hour max) to allow clams to filter out any sand. This process is called “purging” and you’ll thank yourself later for not skipping this step. Remove from water, drain and rinse well just before cooking.

2. **Important: Examine your clams and discard any that are open and won’t close with a few taps to the shell.

3. Heat a 6-8 quart heavy-bottomed pot and add pancetta. Cook pancetta over medium-low heat until fat is well rendered and meat has crisped nicely.

4. Add grated garlic and Calabrian chili paste. Stir to quickly cook, just until garlic becomes fragrant. Add white wine, stir well, and let simmer for 3-4 minutes to allow the alcohol to cook off.

5. Add peas and clams to pot, stir once and cover tightly with lid. Let cook for 4-5 minutes, then uncover and stir clams again.

6. As the clams begin to open, use long tongs to remove open clams and place in serving bowl. This process will go quickly. If you have a few stragglers, give them a few more minutes and stirs. If a clam does not open after 10-minutes of cooking, discard it.

7. Pour broth over clams and squeeze one half of the lemon over top.

8. Garnish with remaining lemon cut into wedges and some (optional) flat leaf parsley for more color.

9. Serve clams on their own or with some crusty bread to soak up the broth. Enjoy!

French Cassoulet

Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines 2016 Estate Petite Sirah

 

THE RECIPE:

FRENCH CASSOULET


INGREDIENTS

duck confit – 6 legs (if you plan to make your own, see previous recipe for duck confit, “cassoulet: part one”)

For the beans:

1.5 lbs dried cassoulet beans, such as Tarbais or cannellini – Locals: Rancho Gordo Heirloom Tarbais Cassoulet Beans were excellent!

1/2 lb slab pancetta (ask your local Italian deli!)

2 slices thick cut bacon

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 cup crushed tomatoes, canned=OK

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 onion, halved

4 whole cloves

1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

6 sprigs fresh flat leaf parsley

4 sprigs thyme

1 head garlic, halved

2 bay leaves

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the Pork Ragout:

1.5 lbs boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1“ cubes

3 tablespoons rendered duck fat or olive oil

4 cups chicken stock

2 cups water

1 cup crushed tomatoes

2 carrots, peeled and cut into 2” chunks

1 onion, quartered

4 cloves garlic, crushed

1 bay leaf


ASSEMBLY

1.5 lbs Toulouse sausage (garlic, white wine, pepper, nutmeg, allspice) – Locals: Avi de Seghesio from Journeyman was the perfect sausage here!

1 lb cooked garlic sausage (we used Evergood)

1 clove garlic, cut in half

2.5 cups breadcrumbs

1/4 cup rendered duck fat or butter

reserved ragout and bean cooking liquid

duck skins, removed from confit right after cooking


PROCEDURE

Two days ahead:

1. Cure duck, if making your own duck confit (see Duck Confit recipe in previous post)

2. Soak beans overnight

3. Rinse beans in colander, careful to remove any pebbles or debris (unlikely, but possible). Place in a large bowl and cover with water by 2”. Refrigerate overnight.


The Day before:

Beans + Duck

1. If making your own duck confit, begin the cooking process (see recipe here).

2. Drain soaked beans and transfer to a large pot. Cover with water by 2” and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes, drain and rinse beans. (This process helps to eliminate foamy scum that can be a byproduct of the cooking process).

3. Return beans to pot and add chicken stock, water, tomato, vinegar, garlic, onion, cloves (pierced into onion), salt, pepper, nutmeg, and bouquet garni (parsley, thyme + bay leaves tied into a bundle). Stir and cook over medium heat for 1.5 hours, periodically scraping any gray scum off of the top.

4. Remove beans from heat and let cool completely, 2 hours. Discard bouquet garni, onion and garlic. Remove any obvious chunks of pancetta and bacon fat, leaving the meaty bits in with the beans.

5. Meanwhile, heat another large, heavy-bottomed pot with 3 tablespoons of duck fat or olive oil. Season cubed pork shoulder with salt and pepper and brown in batches until golden. Add onion, garlic cloves and carrots to pot and sear in fat with pork, 2 minutes. Add chicken stock, water, tomato and bay leaf. Cover and simmer over medium-low heat for 3 hours, until pork is tender and liquid is reduced.

6. Meanwhile, if making your own duck confit, carefully remove skin from duck legs and lay on a plate in a single layer. Refrigerate overnight. Pick duck meat off of the bones leaving nice, bite-sized pieces.

7. Remove cubed pork shoulder from cooking liquid. Place duck and pork on top of beans, cover and refrigerate overnight.

8. Strain pork cooking liquid and save in refrigerator for baking cassoulet the following day.


The big day:

1. Remove pot of beans and meat from refrigerator and let come to room temperature, 1-2 hours.

2. Heat oven to 375F.

3. Meanwhile, lay reserved chilled duck skin into a cold 9” cast iron or non-stick skillet, and slowly warm over low-medium heat to gently render fat. Gently cook skin, flipping occasionally until completely crisp, about 12-15 minutes. Remove skin to drain on a paper towel. Set aside.

4. In the same pan, add your Toulouse-style sausage (prick the skin prior to cooking to keep them from bursting). Cook over medium-low heat until golden, about 12 minutes. Remove to cutting board to cool.

5. Meanwhile, add the final 1/4 cup of duck fat or butter to same pan used for sausage and duck fat. Add breadcrumbs and cook over low heat, stirring frequently until toasted and golden, 6-8 minutes. Remove breadcrumbs and set aside.

6. Gather your cooking vessel (I used a large, heavy bottomed soup pot). Rub the entire interior surface of cooking vessel with a halved clove of garlic.

7. Slice pre-cooked garlic sausages into 1/4” coins and layer on the bottom of the cooking vessel. Slice Toulouse-style sausages into 1” chunks and add to pot atop garlic sausage. Using your hands, gather the meat from the top of the bean pot and evenly scatter duck and pork shoulder over sausages. Scoop beans on top of meat in an even layer. Moisten with reserved ragout broth until liquid reaches the top of the beans.

8. Place 1/2 cup of toasted breadcrumbs into small food processor. Add crispy duck skin, broken into smaller pieces. Pulse until a uniform, sand-like mixture is achieved, about 6 pulses. Cover beans with a smooth, even layer of plain toasted breadcrumbs and finish with the final layer of duck fat breadcrumbs.

**Processing duck skin is optional. You can also crumble duck fat on top of cassoulet when you are finished cooking it.

9. Cook cassoulet, uncovered for 30 minutes until a golden crust forms. Remove pot and gently scrape breadcrumbs up with a spoon. Press them back down into a smooth layer, allowing them to absorb a little liquid. Bake until another crust forms, 25-30 minutes and repeat the process. Repeat 2 more times, for a total of 4 crust scrapings. **If at any point the cassoulet seems dry, add more liquid, even if you have to use plain chicken stock.

10. Remove from oven, let stand 20 minutes. Serve + Enjoy!


Schaer Engagement  – 07.09.2020

Schaer engagement celebration

What better place to spend that very special moment to be remembered for the rest of your life other than Sonoma Wine Country!

We have been fortunate enough to be a part of some very special engagements and always look forward to making these moments truly unique and unforgettable.

The happy couple Amanda and Andrew actually did not get engaged here at Cast, but Andrew popped the question at Lake Sonoma (minutes away from us) and came straight here to celebrate with their closest friends and their awesome pup!

This will certainly be unforgettable for us as well and we look forward to their next visit where we can make them feel just as they did that day.

Congratulations to the happy couple, from all of us at CAST!

Schaer group engagement celebration

 

Night Picking

Night picking – It’s what the cool kids do.

Cooler temperatures keep sugar levels stable, and acid levels are better. Cool fruit means better control over the fermentation process. Night picking (or should we say early morning picking) happens during the coolest time of day, which is around 3AM.

Safe to say the pickers prefer the night as well. The lower temperatures not only mean less sunburns from the sweltering sun, but bees and snakes are sound asleep as well. All in all, it is worth the early wake up call.

Additionally, we prefer a good cold soak after pick. Grapes are cooled to below 55 Degrees for several says before fermentation. Cold soaking gives us more color, and more flavor!

 

Flowering

Flowering usually happens about 4 to 6 weeks after bud break, depending on weather. This can be a stressful time, as this stage will determine the amount of berries on each grape cluster, and the delicate grape flowers are vulnerable to damage from wind, rain, or even late frost.

Precautions can be taken – the use of giant fans to circulate the air, or sprinkling the vines with water to shield them in ice (yes, really!). Fortunately, frost is rarely an issue for us here in beautiful Dry Creek Valley.

On April 14th, we noticed the very first signs of flowering in the Zinfandel Vineyard this year. No, bees aren’t needed here, as the grape vines take care of the pollinating process on their own!

 

Bud Break

Bud break marks the beginning of the grape vine’s annual growing season. After a Winter of dormancy, warmer soil conditions push water and nutrients up through the root system. Buds developed in the previous growing season swell and begin to push tiny shoots, and the first sign of green emerges in the vineyard.

 

The Barrels

Bottling started around July 27th this year.

The tasty juice has been sitting in barrel, just waiting for its moment to shine. We feel that French Oak gives the grapes the best opportunity to show their true personality. From the Barrel Aged Sauvignon Blanc (6 months in barrel), to the inaugural Bordeaux Blend (24 months in Barrel), they all took different paths until finally settling again in the bottle.