All recipes paired with wine, Fish and Seafood, Poultry

Chicken Shrimp Scampi on Steroids

Are you just like me, enjoying the combination of different proteins in Chinese meals? So you don’t have to decide if you feel more like shrimp or chicken today, because you can combine the two? I had some of each at home, and realized that I can combine the two with even crazier combo – gnocchi. So this is my own Italian-inspired-twist-on-Chinese-Chicken-and-Shrimp… or my Scampi on Steroids. It doesn’t have much from either cuisines but that’s what makes it fun.

IMG_5758WChicken Shrimp Scampi on Steroids

(this recipe is for 4 portions)

  • 8 largest shrimp (I used Costco 11-15 count per 1.5lb)
  • 4-6 chicken tenderloins
  • 1/2 cup baby Portobello mushrooms (cleaned and sliced)
  • 1 leek
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 2 carrots (peeled and chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 turnip (peeled and chopped into small pieces)
  • 1 cup of sweet corn (fresh or from can)
  • gnocchi (yes, I took a shortcut here and used the ones already made in Italian market. They cook in 1 minute in boiling water.)
  • olive oil
  • butter
  • 2 tablespoons Pellago Pollo Vesuvio Seasoning
  • pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 cup of crisp dry white wine
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • parsley

In the large pan melt tablespoon of butter in 1/4 cup of olive oil. Clean and slice leek – the light part and light green part only. Add to the pan, and saute on medium until nice and caramelized.

In the meantime,  bring 4 cups of water to boil in another pan, add salt and when boiling, add gnocchi. They are done when they float to the surface (about a minute or two). Drain the water, sprinkle little bit of olive oil, so they don’t stick together and put them aside.

IMG_5748WPeel and chop carrots, mushrooms and turnip. The trick with turnip is to cut around the hard middle part – I usually cut lengthwise from each sides, so it leaves out the hard middle part that I don’t use. Turnip adds an interesting flavors to this dish. And, when cut into small pieces, you can fool your kids into eating some veggies. Because when this becomes the sauce for the gnocchi,  accommodating that yummy chicken and shrimp, they wouldn’t even notice they eat vegetables.


IMG_5745WAdd chopped veggies to the leeks, stir, season with salt and pepper and continue sauteing on low.

IMG_5746WWhen the veggies are sauteing on low, clean the meat and cut chicken tenderloins into bite sizes about the same size as the gnocchi.

IMG_5747WDe-vain and peel the shrimp and do the same. I know – right now you are thinking – why is she wasting the large shrimp when she cuts it into pieces anyway? Well, it’s because the thickness will be about the same as the chicken, and then you get a perfect composed bite of chicken, shrimp and gnocchi. Trust me on this one.

IMG_5750WBy now the veggies are softening, so go ahead and introduce the white wine to the party. At this point I also added pinch of red pepper flakes, because I like it. It’s totally up to you, you can skip the step.

Is the other pan, you used for cooking the gnocchi, still sitting on the counter? Add olive oil to it, turn the heat back on medium hot and quickly saute chicken tenderloins cut into pieces. Season the meat with Pollo Vesuvio Seasoning directly in the pan, stirring it until the pieces are brown from all sides, and add the chicken to the veggies.

IMG_5751WUsing the same pan, add a little bit of oil if needed, and saute shrimp, stirring it so it get cooked from each side. I didn’t season the shrimp because there was still a little residue from the Pollo Vesuvio seasoning left in the pan, but you can add a little bit of salt, if preferred. As soon as the shrimp turns pink, don’t overcook it and throw it to the large pan to join the chicken and veggies.

IMG_5752WIMG_5754WPress all the garlic and mix into the dish. Now it smells amazing. You don’t have to worry to be too garlicky – it will cook out, and also, when you later mix it with gnocchi, the garlic will have much softer flavor.

Now all the veggies are nice and soft and created a sauce that will coat the gnocchi beautifully. If it’s too dry, add a little bit more white wine, and/or butter. OK, I promised it’s delicious, I didn’t promise diet food! What do you think makes all the restaurant dishes soooo delicious? You guessed it! B.U.T.T.E.R.! You need a sauce to coat the gnocchi, so the composition will be perfect.

At this point I added the sweet corn and cooked gnocchi. Stir everything together, a quick check tasting for the seasoning, and it was perfect! The crunchiness of the freshly cooked sweet shrimp, combined with the sweetness of caramelized leeks and corn, that just burst in your mouth, soft chicken and a touch of heat from peppers… and the garlic that reminds me of shrimp scampi…. but this meal is so much more. The veggies that you wouldn’t even notice at this point created this wonderful composition of flavors for the sauce and all that yumminess wrapped around your soft gnocchi like cashmere scarf.


Sprinkle with freshly chopped parsley and all that’s left to do is open a great bottle of white wine (I had Gruner Veltliner with it since it was already opened – remember? I used it in the sauce), and just dig in! I certainly hope you will enjoy this as much as we did. Please let me know!

All recipes paired with wine, Poultry

Chicken Thighs in Red Wine Garlic Sauce

I just recently made this recipe for one of my regular clients. He loves chicken dishes and as far as I am concern,  there are never enough chicken recipes, are there? This one I originally found in Wine Spectator magazine and since it involved wine, I was in!

• 6 chicken thighs (about 2 1/2 to 3 pounds)
• Salt and freshly ground pepper
• 2 cups beef broth or chicken stock
• 1 cup red wine, preferbaly Zinfandel (I used leftover Malbec, it worked too)
• 4 to 6 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
• 1 small onion, peeled and finely chopped
• 2 tablespoons soy sauce
• 1/4 teaspoon dry thyme or oregano
• Pinch of red pepper flakes
• 1/3 to 1/2 of a day-old baguette (long thin loaf of French bread)

1. Preheat the oven to 500°F. Place the chicken thighs skin-side down in a nonstick roasting pan and season them lightly with salt and pepper, then roast in the oven until brown, about 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, turn them skin-side up, season again, and return them to the oven to brown, about another 10 minutes. (I have to admit that my client’s oven wasn’t cleaned for awhile, so I created quite a smoke house with such a high temperature. Make sure you check on your oven if it’s clean).

2. Remove the pan from the oven and reduce the heat to 325°F. Pour off any accumulated fat and add the remaining ingredients, except for the bread, tucking the solid ingredients under and around the chicken. Cover the pan lightly with foil and return it to the oven. Roast for about 40 minutes, or until the meat is very tender and cooked through. (I forgot to cover the dish, but it was OK either way).

3. Increase the heat in the oven to 425°F. Remove the chicken from the pan (use the foil to line a plate and hold the contents of the pan) and strain the contents of the pan into a bowl or fat separator. Skim as much fat as possible from the pan liquid and place it in a blender or food processor. Add the bread and puree until smooth. Strain this mixture into a saucepan and bring it to a simmer. (The bread thickens the gravy without adding extra fat.)
Serve the chicken and sauce with potatoes, noodles, rice or polenta. Serves 6.

chicken in red wine garlic sauce

I made this recipe with just 3 chicken quarters – but left the rest of the ingredients as it was, so I have a lot of sauce. It created really delicious, rich sauce that allows to pair this chicken dish with rich, fruity wines, such as American Zinfandel, Cotes du Rhone or perhaps Garnacha from Spain. Perhaps my favorite Juan Gil will do! I hope you enjoy it as much as I and my client did. Bon Appetite!

All recipes paired with wine, Beef, Poultry, Recipes with leftovers

Have plenty of holiday’s leftovers? Try my yummy Meat spread !

You guessed it. Few days past Easter, or Thanksgiving, and some of us try to come up with more and more creative ways to use all the leftover ham, turkey, brisket (you name it).
It’s perfectly good meat, but it gets tiresome after a while. We had ham’s steaks with asparagus and local corn the other day, and another dinner with some brisket and sauerkraut.  All yummy. But I still had a little bit of meat left, and being the “saving type” I would hate to waste perfectly good food. Yet, I couldn’t get myself to make another dry, turkey breast sandwich (of course, we never have the dark meat leftovers). So, I became creative.

And, we loved, loved our bagel sandwich with this meat spread! Here’s the recipe:

Leftover meat spread2

Meat spread


½ lb combined turkey and brisket meat
4 table spoons of mayonnaise
1 table spoon Dijon mustard
1 table spoon high quality olive oil
1 table spoon hot relish (optional)
1 stick leek, sliced and slowly sautéed
½ small onion, chopped, sautéed
3 cloves of garlic, mashed
Salt and pepper
Handful chopped parsley and oregano fresh herbs

First, I cut all the meat to small cubes, while checking for bones or fat I didn’t want in my spread. Added mayo, mustard and relish, seasoned with salt and pepper and pulse the food processor. If you like it chunkier, just pulse for seconds at the time. If you turn it on running, you’ll have a pate consistency. The spread looked dry (depends how much and what kind of meat you use), so I drizzled the mixture with high quality extra virgin olive oil instead of adding more mayo,.

In a frying pan, on medium heat, I sautéed chopped onion and leek in a little bit of olive oil and butter. When the leek is sautéed slowly, it became such a tasty, caramelized ingredient – so I cooked on low heat for about 20 minutes, until totally soft. Season with salt and set aside to cool.

Chop bunch of fresh herbs based on your taste. I picked parsley and spicy oregano to add some bite to it, from my back yard herbal garden. Added to the processor with the cooked leeks and onion, and pulsed it until smooth. Seasoned with more salt and pepper. Taste it and make sure it’s to your own liking. Adjust the seasoning if required. It was almost perfect to me, but it was still missing something. Oh, garlic! Of course! 3 cloves of garlic smashed and pressed into the mix. I took another taste – and yes, that was it!

We had a delicious lunch and still had more for the next day. This was a good transformation of meat that would be kind of “boring” on its own.

Leftover meat spread

All recipes paired with wine, Poultry

Italian turkey thighs with roasted veggies

Italian turkey thighs with roasted veggies


Ok, who wants to hear anything about turkey for at least another week? I do, I do! Didn’t you just finish all the leftovers from Thanksgiving? Well, to my excuse, I didn’t make turkey on Thanksgiving for just two of us – we would have to eat it for a month!Then I saw all those turkeys on sale and I realized – why don’t I buy turkey, butcher it, save some in freezer and make a little bit at the time? So I did just that.

I have de-boned the turkey (I know it sounds scary, but it wasn’t that bad. All you need is good nerves and sharp knife). Now I have several packages in my freezer. I have divided it to four packages of just turkey breast meat and some bones with wings, when I feel like making a good stock. I was still left with 2 large legs and the entire bone rib cage – with some meat on it. I let that cook with some root vegetables and made a very rich soup. Since both me and my husband love dark meat, I baked the thighs first.

One of the reasons was that I was anxious to try the new seasoning I got from Pelago Valley – and picked the Italian flavors Rosa’s Savory Italian Turkey Seasoning. I loved the aroma as soon as I opened the package. It’s full of rosemary, sage, garlic and who know what else. I didn’t have a need to add anything to it. The preparation of the meat couldn’t be easier – I just dripped a bit of olive oil on each of the turkey’s thighs, rubbed in the seasoning and added about 1/2 cup of water to the pan. That’s all to it! The result was more than delicious!!!

Italian turkey thighs with roasted veggies

2 turkey thighs
1/4 cup of olive oil
2-3 table spoon of Pelago Rosa’s Savory Italian Turkey Seasoning
1/2 – 1 cup of water
1 zucchini
1 red onion
6 medium sized mushrooms
1/2 eggplant
6 medium red potatoes

Clean your turkey thighs and drizzle with olive oil. Place it in baking dish, put the spices into your palm and rub it on the entire meat. Add water to the baking pan and let bake for about 1,5 – 2 hours (it depends on the size of thighs). Just to give you some estimate,
I baked mine for about 2 hours and it came from 10lb turkey. Nothing compare to the time spent when you bake whole turkey. You can tell by the smell and color of the meat when it’s done. The inside temperature should reach about 180F, if you want to be sure it’s done.

While the turkey was baking, I cleaned my vegetables and cut it into similar size pieces – zucchini into thick slices, mushrooms into halves, eggplant into cubes and onion with potatoes into wedges. Spread it in the large baking dish or a baking sheet, drizzle with olive oil and use about 2 tablespoon of the Rosa’s Savory Italian Turkey Seasoning again. Mix together and since the oven is already running, stick it in there for about 25 minutes towards the end of turkey baking.

The smell of this dish was incredible. And the taste – I have never had this juicy turkey meat before. It was nothing like Thanksgiving – we didn’t have all the sides, nor the cranberry sauce – I prepared veggies the way I would make them on the grill. But let me tell you, we couldn’t stop eating! And yes, the one thigh was enough for both of us for dinner. My mouth is still watering when I am writing about it.
Super delicious!

Wine pairing suggestion:
I have paired this dish with Austrian Grüner Veltliner from Weingut – Groiss, a young winery from the hills of Wagram. I was glad to discover this wine in my local wine shop – since I loved this variety in Europe. This one is very well made, a lot of fruit on the palate, yet nicely dry and crisp. The best part is that it comes in 1L (which is about 1/3 more wine than regular bottle) for $ 9.99! Don’t think twice if you see this on the shelf. It’s a great wine and it worked with our turkey perfectly!

All recipes paired with wine, Poultry

Leftover turkey miniburgers

Leftover turkey miniburgers