A GOOD WITCH BRINGS WINE – Mabon
Many Witches consider Mabon to be their “Thanksgiving”! We give thanks for the bounty we’ve received from our Harvest. It also happens to be ruled by the “Wine Moon” which is another great reason to write this blog!
When I think of September, I think of Apples, root vegetables, hardy herbs and honey. One of the Mabon traditions we carry in my family is to visit the local Orchards in search of ripened fruits, jars of honey, homemade goods such as fresh baked pies and even Bees Wax candles. We’ll use our orchard finds to help with the sabat meal and table setting.
First I’ll gather some of the late vegetables and herbs from the garden. I’ll be digging up some small potatoes, a few onions and a couple of carrots. Now for the hardy herbs, we’ll need a good cutting of Thyme, Rosemary and Parsley.
The Recipes and Wine
Although we may think of this time of year as Thanksgiving, my palate is still focused on the end of Summer and not quite ready for the heavy foods of the colder months. I’m hoping the wine selection will commensurate with the subtle change of seasons. At first I was going to use apples for the dessert, however, we decided to keep it savory and forego the dessert, concentrating on the main meal and three bottles of wine.
Our meal will begin with a roasted fig and arugula salad with vinaigrette. Then on to the main course of seasoned pork loin with apples & vegetables served with parsley potatoes and savory zucchini bread.
THE RECIPES AND WINE
ARUGULA SALAD AND DRESSING
1/3 cp cider vinegar
1 tbsp honey
2 tsps extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp salt
4 large fresh figs, halved
Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 425°, combine first 4 ingredients, whisk. Add figs to coat, remove figs reserving vinegar mix. Place figs in cast-iron or ovenproof skillet coated with olive oil. Bake for 8-10 mins. Remove figs from pan, place on plate. Add reserved mixture to hot pan, scraping browned bits, pour into bowl. Cool figs & vinaigrette to room temp. Place arugula on platter, arrange figs on top, sprinkle with goat cheese (or any sharp tangy cheese) season with pepper, add chopped nuts if desired, drizzle with cooled vinaigrette and serve.
WINE: A crisp cold Sauvignon Blanc will match well with the green flavor of arugula and the tanginess of the dressing and cheese.
PORK LOIN WITH APPLES & VEGETABLES
Boneless Pork Loin (tied)
The following veggies cut thick – 1 onion, 2 carrots, 2 stalks celery
3 Garlic cloves, smashed
3 sprigs ea. fresh thyme and rosemary
4 tbsp butter
2 apples – peeled, cored and sliced
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1 cup apple cider
2 tbsp course grain mustard
In oven-proof skillet heat oil, season pork with S&P, sear in pan until all sides are nicely browned, transfer meat to plate.
Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, sprigs of herbs and butter to pan, stir for about 8 mins.
Add sliced apples, stir. Spread out mixture, place pork in middle.
Place skillet in a 400degree oven, cook for about 40 mins or until pork is thoroughly cooked through (use cooking thermometer to reach correct temperature)
When done, remove meat from skillet and place on cutting board, cover with foil.
Remove sprigs of herbs and discard, arrange mixture on a platter. Add vinegar and cider to skillet, whisk, then add mustard and one tbsp of butter, whisk again. Uncover meat, remove string, place on platter with apple & veggies, pour vinegar mixture over meat and serve.
WINE: Here’s the surprise. Both the Pinot Noir and the Riesling are wonderful partners for a nicely cooked pork loin, and I wouldn’t even discount the blanc! The Riesling has a fresh acidity that balances out the sweetness of the pork. The Pinot Noir is a light enough Red not to overbear the mellow meat, add the earthiness of savory herbs and veggies to make Pinot Noir a perfect pair. Now for all you adventurous spirits out there, try the Blanc with the pork and a good helping of the apple pieces. The ciders and vinegars used in the sauce assures that the blanc will balance itself out and may just prove to be an interesting match (don’t be scared, just try it!).
Peel potatoes and cook until tender. Drain and cool slightly, cut to bite size pieces (or use fingerlings or new potatoes). Heat up a frying pan with olive oil and butter, add potatoes, fresh chopped parsley, salt and pepper, toss to coat.
WINE: I prefer the Pinot with this dish. Potatoes and fresh parsley are down to earth and savory. A smooth Pinot will complement the texture and flavors.
SAVORY ZUCCHINI BREAD
I use different variations of this recipe all the time. Sometimes I add chocolate chips, sometimes nuts, today we are adding ground savory herbs.
3 eggs, 1 cup veg oil, 2 cups shredded zucchini, 2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour, ½ cup regular flour (or buckwheat flour), 1 tsp each of salt, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda, 1 cup sugar, ½ cup brown sugar, plus ground savory herbs such as rosemary, thyme and sage. Make sure they are dried not fresh. Try and ground them in a food mill, nobody wants to bite into a hard rosemary needle. You don’t need much to season the bread, probably no more than a tablespoon.
Combine eggs, oil and zucchini with spoon, mix well. In separate bowl, mix all other ingredients. Add zucchini mixture and stir. Bake in greased bread tins (3x4x8) for 1 hour at 350⁰.
WINE: Both Riesling and Pinot will pair well with this bread.
OTHER TIPS: A nicely dressed table will always compliment the food and wine. I know all you Witches out there already have your Mabon ideas in place. This is your time to really go rustic! Display woven baskets full of fruits and vegetables, make a centerpiece with the hardy herbs and flowers still growing in your garden and incorporate the colors of the season. Don’t forget the candlelight, cream or honey colored candles will bring a warm glow to your Mabon table.
You all know what’s next, it’s what we’ve been waiting for all year! Next wine blog we’ll be digging deep into the wine cellar and pulling out the heavies. Till then,
MAY YOU NEVER THIRST!
MERRY MEET AND BLESSED BE!