We’ve got some recipes that pair comfort food and wines from award-winning Texas winery Messina Hof.
California’s wine regions get most of the press, but Texas is no slouch when it comes to the fruit of the vine. The Lone Star State is home to nearly 600 wineries, and its wine industry has become one of the fastest growing producers in the U.S., increasing production more than 870 percent from 2007 to 2017 and growing its economic impact from $1.35 billion to $13.1 billion.
Founded in 1977, Messina Hof is one of Texas’ first and most-award-winning wineries. The winery’s name is derived from Messina, Sicily, and Hof, Germany, where the families of founders Paul and Merrill Bonarrigo come from.
For Texas Wine Month this October, Messina Hof has provided some pairings of their bottles and comfort-filled recipes: pot pie, mac and cheese, apple tartlet, and prosciutto-wrapped peaches.
“Comfort foods are dishes that warm our souls, remind us of happy and safe experiences, and bring joy and relaxation,” says Karen Bonarrigo, co-owner of Messina Hof. “Taking the first bite of a comfort food transports us back in time to memories that we admire. Oftentimes, the food reminds us of family, friends, and our childhood when we felt secure. The foods themselves often match the feelings we have for them: richness, goodness, contentment. Regional influences add an additional element of unique nostalgia and connection to places you have been and experiences you might have had.”
Comfort wines, she says, bring the same joy and ethereal satisfaction. “They can be wines that we love — our “go-to” wines — or wines that we had at special moments in our lives that bring back all those warm and fuzzy feelings (such as your wine selection on your first date with your true love or the wine bottle you bring home for Thanksgiving dinner each year). Combining our favorite comfort foods with wine creates long-lasting wine pairings that we remember for a lifetime.”
Salud! And be comforted.
Messina Hof Bacon Macaroni and Cheese
½ pound cooked bacon chopped — reserve the fat from cooking
1 small yellow onion diced
1 tablespoon chopped garlic
2 pounds cooked elbow macaroni
1 quart chicken stock
1 quart milk
½ pound roux
1 pound shredded cheddar cheese
½ pound smoked Gouda
½ cup Messina Hof Papa Paulo Port
Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy-bottom rondeau pan, heat the bacon fat, add the onion and garlic, and sauté till the onion is translucent. Add the bacon, chicken stock, milk.
Whisk in the roux; cook till the liquid starts to thicken. The sauce can be relatively thin as it will absorb into the pasta.
Next add the cheddar and stir till completely melted. Fold in the macaroni. Adjust with salt and pepper.
Pour into a lightly oiled ovenproof pan and bake for 30 minutes to heat through. You can garnish with extra cheese and bacon crumbles.
Messina Hof Prosciutto Wrapped Peaches
Thinly sliced prosciutto
Cracked black pepper
Messina Hof Angel wine
First, quarter the peaches and remove the pits. Cut each quarter in half again. Using thinly sliced prosciutto, tightly wrap each slice of peach and tuck the end underneath.
Place the peaches on the grill and allow to (mark) or caramelize each side, 1 to 2 minutes on each side depending on the size of peach. The prosciutto should be crispy.
Simmer the Messina Hof Angel wine in a saucepan until reduced by half. Crack fresh black pepper over top of the peach and drizzle delicately with Messina Hof Angel sauce.
Messina Hof Jalapeno Apple Tartlet
2 pounds Fuji apples (peeled and cut into sections)
½ cup sugar
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Messina Hof Jalapeno Blush Jelly
1 small jalapeno, diced, with seeds and pith removed
Toss the apples in cinnamon and sugar and bake in a 350-degree oven till soft — about 20 minutes.
Cool and rough chop.
1 cup flour
1 cup oats
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup unsalted butter
1 tablespoon cinnamon
Pulse ingredients excluding butter in food processor for 1 minute. Slowly add cold butter in cubes till you have pea-size crumbs.
Brush bottom of tart shells with Messina Hof Jalapeno Blush Jelly.
Fill prebaked tart shells with apple filling; then top with minced jalapenos ½ teaspoon per tart. Finish with crumb topping and bake until top is crispy.
Messina Hof Chicken Pot Pie
1 pound small diced onion
½ pound small diced celery
½ pound small diced carrot
½ cup chopped garlic
1 pound small diced potato
½ pound green peas
½ gallon chicken stock
½ gallon milk
3 cups Messina Hof Chenin Blanc wine
1 pound roux (½ pound butter with ½ pound flour)
1 cup fresh chopped parsley
½ cup diced fresh chives
6 sprigs fresh thyme tied with a string
1 cup blended oil
Salt and pepper to taste
In a heavy-bottom rondeau pot, heat the blended oil. Add the onions, celery, and carrots cook for 5 to 10 minutes on low heat till onions are translucent.
Add the garlic and cook another 2 to 3 minutes. Add potatoes, stock, milk, and wine and bring to a simmer. Add bound thyme sprigs.
Whisk in roux; cook for 10 to 15 minutes till thickened. At very end add peas and herbs and adjust with salt and pepper. This filling can now be set up in cups and baked with a crust.