A few recommendations for different soups, from chunky, rustic soups like minestrone to rich, creamy chowders. Here’s what to drink with your next bowl.
You’ll always find people argue about shepherd’s pie but in my view it should be made with lamb rather than beef (that’s cottage pie) and with very little, if any tomato – apart from maybe a dash of ketchup for sweetness.
Traditionally it was a frugal dish to finish up the Sunday roast, made with leftover lamb and gravy – and and any leftover vegetables that were going. I personally think it’s better made with fresh lamb mince but still like it kept simple and old-fashioned – a little onion, a little carrot, maybe a few peas, a touch of gravy or roast lamb pan juices and some nice creamy mash.
In terms of the ideal pairing it’s a toss-up between beer and a dry medium-bodied red wine:
* a classic English ale like Timothy Taylor’s Landlord is great with shepherd’s pie – possibly my top choice
* Stout or porter also works well, particularly if you’ve used it to make the gravy
* Red rioja is always good with lamb. I’d go for a reserva with this plain kind of dish rather than a younger, more vivid crianza. The same applies to other oak-aged Spanish reds such as Valdepeñas.
* Inexpensive red Bordeaux – what used to be called a ‘lunchtime claret’ – is a great pairing. Again I’d opt for a more traditional style rather than one with higher alcohol and a lot of ripe fruit. It won’t do any harm to a more expensive mature claret either. Simple food is best with special wines.
* A southern French red like the ever-versatile Côtes-du-Rhône Villages or a named village wine like Vacqueyras is always a good match – with shepherd’s or cottage pie.
PS Look, I’m not saying you need a totally different type of wine for cottage pie but the filling often tends to be more like a bolognese sauce – or more tomatoey, at any rate. So check out my recommendations for spag bol or, if you go for one of the above wines maybe choose a more fruity or full-bodied version.
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More Mango you say?
I’m not exactly an expert on when certain fruits are “in season”, so I rely on my local grocery store to let me know. This week when Mangos reappeared (taking up half an aisle and reasonably priced) I knew we were in luck!
This week’s cocktail is an attempt to play with mango flavor by creating a simple mango syrup. With such a sweet fruit to start with, I was curious to see how the syrup came out.
The cocktail is definitely sweet – and I’d be tempted to convert it to a highball next time by adding ginger beer or soda water (or half an half) to cut the sweetness and lighten it up. It’s syrupy and tropical with a very subtle hint of Mango.
What do you think?
I’d be curious to hear from you – have you had success with Mango in cocktails? How have you used it? Syrup? Puree? Juice? I think next time I’d definitely try juice or puree to see if the flavor comes through, and because the mango is such a sweet fruit to start with.
Meanwhile, this drink still came out delicious! I really liked how the orange bitters reinforce the orange flavor in the syrup, and the Green Chartreuse adds some depth and character. A tad too sweet, yes… but certainly not going down the sink (if you know what I mean!)
Tropical Mango Sour
Unlike your usual bright, fruity drinks, this “sour” is rich and syrupy with an herbal note to give it depth.
Add all ingredients to a cocktail shaker and shake well with ice.
Strain into a bucket glass with ice
(Optional) Garnish with a lime wheel
Macerate the mango and mandarin orange skin with sugar for two hours.
Strain through a fine strainer or cheesecloth and discard the mango chunks.