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    Notes - March 2, 2016

    Photo: (L to R) Mark Donaldson, Chris Churchill and Brad Barker pontificating on all things wine and music

    Once a month, Chris Churchill, Mark Donaldson and Brad Barker educate and entertain us as they talk about what is happening in the world of fine wine and music. And of course, they drink while they entertain. On this episode, Chris, Mark and Brad talk about Tiki Pinot Gris, Gran Feudo Rosada, Altano, and Vale do Bomfim.

    Have a listen!

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    This classic chicken liver paté recipe comes from Fine Cooking magazine. We serve this by itself with most types of red wine and whites like Rueda, Pinot Grigio and Cava. The only additions we ever make are a few brined green peppercorns on top for a little bite and a bit of crunch. This recipe is also part of the ‘Mount Everest’ of Christmas dinners, Classic Beef Wellington. It’s quite a bit of work, but the result is spectacular and delicious. In case you are curious, here’s the full recipe.

    Portuguese Sausage and Bean Stew

    This flavourful dish is served with crusty bread. It’s relatively easy to prepare and you can substitute ingredients easily.


    1 pound dried kidney beans or great Northern beans, rinsed and picked over or 2 (15- ounce) cans or kidney beans

    8 ounces sliced Toucinho (Portuguese-Style Smoked Bacon) or ‘regular’ smoked bacon, optional

    8 ounces Spanish chorizo or Portuguese chouriço (cured spicy pork sausage), kielbasa or other spicy sausage, cut into 1/4-inch-thick coins

    1 large yellow onion, roughly chopped 

    4 medium garlic cloves, thinly sliced

    1/4 cup tomato paste

    2 medium Yukon gold potatoes - cut into 1/2-inch pieces 

    4 cups water

    1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes 

    2 tablespoons honey

    1 tablespoon sweet paprika

    2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more for seasoning

    1 medium bay leaf


    If using dried beans, add the beans to a large bowl, cover by 2 inches with cold water and let soak for at least 8 hours, or overnight. Drain and set aside. If using canned beans, drain and rinse.

    Add the bacon, if using, to a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat and cook until browned and crisp, about 10 minutes. Remove the bacon and set aside. Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat and return the skillet to the stovetop. Add the sausage and cook until browned. With a slotted spoon, remove the sausage to a bowl and reserve.

    Discard all but 1 tablespoon of the fat from the skillet and return to the stove over medium heat. When the fat shimmers, add the onion and garlic, stir to coat in fat, and cook until golden brown, about 4 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

    Add the potatoes and stir to coat in the tomato paste. Add the beans, chorizo, and all remaining ingredients, except the bacon, and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer until the flavours have melded and the dried beans are cooked through, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Crumble the bacon into beans, and season with additional salt, if needed. Remove the bay leaf, transfer the beans to a serving bowl and serve.

    Remember…don’t eat the bay leaf!

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