Spooky Wine and Fancy Dinner: A Halloween Treat for the Adults

It will be easy to keep the vampires away with all the garlic on top of this easy-to-make roast! Keep the Halloween theme going by pairing this meal with Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile.

It's a Halloween treat for adults! Keep the vampires away with roasted garlic over roast beef and pair with Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. Click to get the recipe! CaretoPair.com

My Pinterest feed this time of year gets bombarded with Halloween-ified food: deviled eggs that look like spiders, meat loaf that looks like rats, spaghetti that looks like brains...

That's good and all for Halloween parties, but I'm not too fond of intentionally making my food look like bugs, rodents, or anything else I would normally never consume. So in today's post I bring you a little bit of a fancier way to celebrate Halloween (and to make it an excuse to drink wine).

It's a Halloween treat for adults! Keep the vampires away with roasted garlic over roast beef and pair with Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. Click to get the recipe! CaretoPair.com

This Halloween I am protecting you from vampires with a dish with plenty of garlic! Roasted garlic, that is. So if you feel like getting into the Halloween spirit while having some friends over on a Friday night, but aren't going all "Halloween Party" crazy, this is a fun way to incorporate the holiday into your evening.

Word has it that garlic wards off evil spirits. If you're afraid of spirits, hang some garlic on your front door like people have done for centuries. It'll keep them away from your house. In the middle ages. it was common to wear garlic braids around your neck to protect yourself from werewolves. And then of course...there's vampires, who despise garlic. Why do all things evil seem to hate garlic? The best explanation is perhaps because blood-sucking insects also hate garlic, so naturally, vampires will too...

It's a Halloween treat for adults! Keep the vampires away with roasted garlic over roast beef and pair with Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. Click to get the recipe! CaretoPair.com

As a garlic-loving foodie, I believe in eating as much garlic as possible to ward off evil spirits. Those vampires won't want to come near me with my lovely garlic breath! Garlic is really good at fighting off illness, so with this cold weather coming in, we have even more reason to eat plenty of it.

The Pairing

A Halloween-inspired dish deserves a Halloween-inspired wine! Naturally I've chosen one of the spookiest out there--Concha y Toro's Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. Translating to "the Devil's Cellar", Casillero del Diablo takes its name from an old legend in Chilean wine country. Back in the day, the winery's wines were kept under lock and key at night. But somehow, bottles still went missing. To keep thiefs away, a rumor was spread that the Devil resided in that cellar, and was taking the wine for himself. People believed it and stayed away..those that dared to enter claimed they even saw the Devil himself.  It was a great way to keep those wines safe, but who knows? Maybe the Devil did want a little good grape juice from time to time.

Anyway, that's the spookiest wine story you'll ever hear from me. There are many wines made under the Casillero del Diablo lineup, but for this roasted garlic and pot roast pairing I chose to feature the Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a simple dish to make but will certainly wow the crowd. Steak and Cab are best friends in the wine world (I did a whole post on it here) so this dish was quite a no-brainer. The Casillero del Diablo isn't a pricey wine (retailing right under $15 usually) and boasts big, ripe black-fruit flavors, making it perfect for a hearty dish like this pot roast. The subtle oak and earthy components in the wine will also match well with all that roasted garlic, too. Mmmmmm....

It's a Halloween treat for adults! Keep the vampires away with roasted garlic over roast beef and pair with Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon. Click to get the recipe! CaretoPair.com

The Recipe

This is a terribly easy recipe that may make you feel guilty to serve to your guests...but they don't need to know how little effort it takes! The roast just takes some time in the oven...and make sure you give it plenty of time! Low and slow equals amazing flavors in this one, friends. Be sure to make the roasted garlic first...you can easily heat it back up when it comes time to serve dinner. I suggest accompanying this meal with simple mashed potatoes and a vegetable like green beans. Easy peasy and perfect  for company!

Beef Roast with Roasted Garlic

Author: Dani (CaretoPair.com)

Prep time: 15 mins

Cook time: 3 hours

Total time: 3 hours 15 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 3 heads of garlic
  • olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 tbs butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, sliced.
  • 1 4 lb boneless beef chuck roast
  • red wine

Instructions

  1. First, make the roasted garlic: Preheat the oven to 375 F. Cut the tops from 3 heads of garlic, just enough to expose the garlic cloves inside.
  2. Place 1-2 Tbsp of olive oil in a small baking dish and swerve around so that the oil covers the entire bottom. Place the garlic heads cut-side-up in the pan. If they don't fit flat, just slice the bottom of the head a little bit.
  3. Drizzle the garlic heads with a little more olive oil (to prevent burning!) and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with aluminum foil. Place in the oven and cook for about 40-45 minutes. Your kitchen is going to smell amazing!
  4. When they are roasted and a little browned, remove from the oven and let cool. When cooled enough to handle, squeeze the bottom of the garlic heads to pop out the garlic cloves. This may get a little messy (your hands will get oily), but it is super easy!
  5. Chop garlic cloves into smaller pieces and place in a dish. Set aside until ready to reheat and serve.
  6. Next, make the roast beef: preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 Tbs of butter over medium-high heat in a large dutch oven. Once melted, brown each side of the roast. Remove from the pan. Add the sliced onion and saute for 5 minutes.
  7. Add the roast back into the pan and pour enough wine over it to fill the pan about an inch above the bottom. Place into the preheated oven and cook for 3 hours, or 45 minutes per pound. The roast will be ready when a thermometer placed in it reaches 130 degrees. Remove from oven and slice. Serve with the chopped roasted garlic, reheated over the stove or microwave if needed.

 

Roast Leg of Lamb Wine Pairing

You just bought a glorious leg or rack of lamb for dinner tonight and you need a bottle of wine to go with it. Lucky for you, this is one of the greatest dishes to pair with wine! Here is my all-time favorite wine to drink alongside roasted lamb.

Friends, you are looking at our Easter dinner right there. For 2 of us. (We had shepherd's pie and scotch broth afterwards for daaaays.) I apologize for the lack of pictures but...this lamb needed to be eaten pronto. And lets be honest, I was a little limited on finding appealing angles to photograph that ginormous leg. So on that note, let's get right to the pairing!

The Wine Pairing

Lamb is one of those meals that BEGS for wine. Beer will do well too, but wine is better! Lamb is a relatively easy dish to pair with wine. No matter what kind of cut you are roasting, you're probably seasoning it with these ingredients: salt, pepper, garlic, and rosemary. Amiright? So naturally, as long as you're using these seasonings, the same kind of wine will apply to any cut of lamb meat (like lamb chops, rack of lamb, lamb shoulder, etc.)

Its no surprise that lamb is a bit gamy...old-tasting, if we want to be frank. Naturally, in my opinion, the best wine to match with a gamy piece of meat is an old-world, funky Bordeaux blend. Left bank, right bank, you choose...just make sure it is "old-worldy". What do I mean by that? Think about these flavors in wine (in a good way)...wet leaves, tobacco, old leather, dried fruit...if you have never tasted these flavors in wine and think I'm being totally crazy, don't be alarmed. Just go get yourself a bottle of Bordeaux and drink it with your roasted lamb. You'll see what I mean.

Choosing a Wine for this Meal

Bordeaux can totally be an intimidating region when it comes to wine. We all know its famous and expensive for some reason, but many of us have no idea what a Bordeaux blend actually is. So lets break that down:

Bordeaux can be split into two distinct regions: Left Bank and Right Bank. We say "bank" in reference to being on "the left bank of the river" that flows through the region.

Bordeaux blends from the left bank are generally based on Cabernet Sauvignon with Merlot and Cabernet Franc as support. Many Cab-based Bordeaux blends taste much like the Cabs we are used to from the rest of the world...plus an added old-world funkiness perfect for pairing with lamb. Look for a wine from these regions which are all "left bank":

  • The Medoc or Haut Medoc
  • St. Estephe, St. Julien, Pauillac, or Margaux (these will most likely be the best in quality/most expensive)
  • Graves
  • Pessac-Leognan

Bordeaux blends from the right bank are almost always based on Merlot and Cabernet Franc. These wines in comparison tend to be super funky and old-worldy if you're not used to them...perfect for lamb! But if you're afraid of getting a wine that's too funky, maybe stick with left-bank. Look for wines from these right-bank regions:

  • St. Emilion
  • Pomerol

If you Are Afraid of Bordeaux...

I get it. If you're not ready to take on a Bordeaux blend to pair with lamb, there are plenty of other options. A Cabernet Sauvignon from anywhere in the world will pair well with this dish. General red blends will also do well as long as they are not ridiculously fruity/sweet. I also love a good Syrah or Grenache blend from the Rhone Valley in France for this meal.

Still confused on what to do? Feel free to leave a comment below or for a faster response, drop a note on the CaretoPair Facebook Page!

Hungry for More?

What Wine to Pair with Steak--and the Reverse-Sear Cooking Method

how to make perfect steak in the oven! And what wine to pair with that steak | CaretoPair.com

Ready for a date night in? This steak wine pairing is surprisingly one of the easiest meals you can prepare to impress your honey. And great for beginners, too!

This is a relatively basic wine pairing. Some can get really confusing, but this one is pretty straight forward. Steak's best friend is Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. There are other great wines out there that will work with steak (like this awesome Chimichurri-Steak Wine Pairing I did), but Cabernet is happiest with the simplest of steaks. There's nothing quite like the bite of a juicy steak with the sip of a juicy cab.

The Pairing

Today's pairing might be specifically for Cabernet from the Napa Valley, but if you don't have one from there, that's perfectly fine. Great Cabs come from all parts of California. Washington makes some beautiful ones too. Get out of the US and there are delicious Cabernet Sauvignons grown everywhere: France, Italy, Australia, Chile...

But Napa Valley is the king of New-World Cabernet Sauvignon. There's just something about them--each sip tastes like you bit into a juicy ripe plum. Or blackberry, or black cherry. They are quite rich, with big structure and tannin that will stand up to the weight of the steak. Cabernet from anywhere will most likely work with this recipe, but Napa Cab will carry the complexity needed to match it.

Napa Cabernet Suggestions

There are over 400 wineries just in the Napa Valley alone today. So you've got a lot of choices! I have what seems to be a million favorites (which is impossible, I know), but if you're looking to purchase a more expensive bottle for a special celebration, here are my go-to's:

  • Inglenook (Cask or Rubicon, both amazing)
  • Schraeder (RBS is my favorite, but they're all amazing)
  • Trinchero
  • Robert Mondavi Winery (Reserve)
  • BV (esp. Georges de Latour)
  • Hall
  • Chappellet
  • Spottswoode
  • Bennett Family

Need something a little less expensive? I think the offerings from Franciscan Estate and Charles Krug are two of the best values in the market. If you need a bottle under $20, go outside of Napa. Washington and Chile have some great Cabs for the price.

Side Note: the ones I listed above can get pretty pricey. Find new favorites at the price point you're comfortable with, but generally expect to pay a little more for Napa Cab since there is such a high demand for it!

The Recipe

Now that you know what wine to open, its time to learn how to make steak...in the oven?? Its a crazy concept that even I was skeptical about the first time the hubby brought it up, but honestly, this is our new favorite way to cook steak. Previously, we were on the bandwagon of grilling it outside for a few minutes on each side. But sometimes it would overcook. And the steak always picked up that smoky grill taste, which is great occasionally, but not every time.

The reverse-sear method consists of cooking the steak internally first in a low-temperature oven. Then you just finish it off by pan-searing it on the stove. This method cooks the steak more evenly than if you were to first sear then place it into the oven, or simply grill it. And although you can put whatever seasonings you want on it, we prefer to keep it simple with just salt and pepper.

To make this recipe and pairing into a meal, cook up some garlic mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts as an accompaniment. Enjoy your date night in with an incredible meal you cooked yourself! Happy Pairing!

Cooking a Steak in an Oven

Ingredients

  • Steak of your choice (ribeye, new york, filet, etc.) This method works best with a steak at least 1 1/2 inch thick
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 275 F
  2. Prepare your steak: Generously coat both sides of the steak with kosher slat and course black pepper. Be sure to get all edges of the steak as well.
  3. You can either place the steak directly onto the oven rack with a foil-lined baking sheet underneath, or place a steak on a cooling rack with the baking sheet directly under it. Either way, the steak needs to be on a rack to allow the heat to circulate around it correctly. Placing it directly on a baking sheet or pan will cause it to cook unevenly.
  4. Cook the steak until it reaches an internal temperature of 120 to 125 F (for medium-rare). Depending on the thickness of your steak, the timing will vary. Be sure to check the steak as it progresses in cooking.
  5. After the steak has reached the minimal internal temperature, remove from oven and let rest for 15 minutes. After the steak has been resting about 10 minutes, heat a cast iron pan over high heat and let if get VERY HOT. After the 15 minute of rest time place the steak in the hot, dry cast iron pan and sear between 60 and 90 seconds (Andrew says it depends on how frisky he's feeling).
  6. Flip the steak and sear the other side for an additional 60-90 seconds. Remove immediately from the pan and serve.

Happy Cooking! 

Chimichurri Steak Wine Pairing

A few years ago I had the bright idea of having "wine pairing" parties. Since most of my friends at the time did not know too much about wine or didn't care for it, I thought this would be a great way to introduce them to wines in a fun party atmosphere. In theory, this was a great idea. In reality, it was so unbelievably fun and crazy that I had to vow it would be the first and the last wine pairing party of its kind.

Lets put it this way. The year prior I had planned a "chocolate and wine" party where I supplied all the wine and food and just asked everyone to pitch in $5 for the wine (these were the post-college days where we were all still pretty poor). It was awful going around asking everyone for money that I desperately needed to pay for the wine. I told myself never again.

Now for this new party, I decided to have everyone just bring their own bottle of wine. The theme of the party was "Argentina" and thanks to a cool cookbook I found, Andrew and I made a slurry of different Argentinean dishes we had never tried. I gave everyone suggestions of buying malbec, cabernet sauvignon, or torrontes from Argentina under $20 so that at the party, everyone could try the different wines of Argentina.

The next morning, I counted 26 bottles of empty wine. 26! We only had 20 people come to that party. Woops! That's right, so much wine was drank that everyone at least had a whole bottle to themselves. As the blurriness from the prior night started to become clear, I remembered how much fun, yet how crazy, it got after a few hours. The problem with wine is that it doesn't fill you up like beer, so people having a great time don't really know when to stop. Oh, then I remembered, when the wine ran out that everyone bought, I started opening up my personal collection (which is always a bad idea). And then when I went to bed (yes there were still people over when I went to bed...classy), everyone went to the local bar and continued the party. Needless to say, despite the great time we had at this Argentina wine pairing party.... for safety's sake...I haven't planned any more.

Moral of the story: wine pairing parties can be really fun, but proceed with caution (I fully plan on doing some posts in the near future about how to have wine pairing parties).

Now that my hubby and I are all grown up and much classier than those days of  crazy drunken parties (yeah, right), I'd like to share with you this Argentinean staple that was quite the hit at our original party. Argentina is on my wish list of countries to visit; mainly for visiting wineries, but also to sample all of their delicious food. Apparently they eat beef, beef, and beef. And then more beef. Sometimes with a side of beef. And Chimichurri sauce, that delicious looking green condiment you're looking at in all of this post's pictures.

The Pairing

Luckily for you, steak has a lot of friends in the red wine world--cabernet sauvignon, syrah, merlot, zinfandel, red blends...they all pair really well with steak. In the top picture I actually have a bottle of cabernet showcased. But when it comes to Argentinean-style steak with chimichurri on top, I suggest keeping up with the theme and pairing it with the country's most prized grape: malbec.

Malbec is a pretty purple grape; put it next to a glass of cabernet sauvignon and you'll see what I mean. Its big, fruity, and usually well-oaked. It's a heavy-bodied wine (think whole milk compared to water), so it needs a heavy meal to pair with it. Enter a juicy, peppered steak. Match made in heaven. Since the chimichurri has a great deal of garlic aroma and flavor to it, it pairs nicely with a fruit-forward red like malbec.

Other wines you can pair with Chimichurri Steak:

  • Cabernet Sauvignon (Argentina makes some great ones at great values)
  • Merlot
  • Syrah/Shiraz
  • Zinfandel
  • Red blends (think: cab-based, syrah based)

In the Mood for Beer?

  • Amber ale will work best with steak
  • California Common (Anchor Steam)
  • Pilsner
Chimichurri Steak Wine Pairing | CaretoPair.com
Chimichurri Steak Wine Pairing | CaretoPair.com

 The Recipe

I'm not used to putting sauce on my steak, but gosh-darn-it this was delicious. Chimichurri is based on garlic, parsley, and vinegar. Most recipes state to serve it with flank steak, but really, it can go on anything. The steak we used in the pictures was a NY strip and it was delish. Grill it, pan fry it, prepare your steak your favorite way and enhance it with this chimichurri sauce (and some malbec). Chimichurri can also go on chicken, pork, veggies...pretty much anything you want. And side note, if you're a garlic lover, this sauce will make you go crazy just by the way it smells. It was hard for me not to eat it before the steak was even done!

Ending Fun Fact: Argentineans eat their steak well-done. I was told by an American that lived there that he would have to tell restaurants to serve him his steak blue (raw) and even then it would still come out medium. Crazy!


Chimichurri Sauce

Author: Dani (CaretoPair.com)

Prep time: 5 mins

Cook time: 5 mins

Total time: 10 mins

Serves: 4

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup chopped flat-leaf parlsey
  • 5 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp fresh oregano (optional but worth it)
  • 2 Tbsp minced onion or shallot
  • 3/4 C olive oil
  • 3 Tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 Tbsp freshly sqeezed lemon juice

Instructions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor or blender until well mixed but not pureed. Serve on top of your favorite prepared steak.
  2. Enjoy with Argentinean Malbec or any red Argentinean wine!

Happy Pairing!