R found four Riojas at Grocery Outlet, and we decided to taste them all with a meal of ropa vieja.
I looked around the web for recipes, and found one on About.com that was apparently well received, and had an author whose name could actually have been Cuban, so I decided to try it. The recipe suggests serving with “a rice dish” and following the link, I found black beans and rice, and decided on that. This required “recaito” which is alternatively “sofrito” depending on the locale. I chose this recipe, which is just “clean it, chop it into pieces, and puree in the Cuisinart” easy. I asked R to make up his collards and bacon dish – we turned out to have too little bacon in the freezer, and he added in some pancetta, which worked well. That was dinner. It sounds easier than it was 😉
I used 2+ pounds of flank steak – Estancia grass fed beef from Uruguay – and cooked it as directed in water with savory elements for 2 hours; but then I covered the pot and left the beef in it till time to use it. Also, the recipe (this almost made me not consider it) says to discard the cooking liquid. Excuuuuse me? You just cooked beef, onion, garlic, and celery in water. You made STOCK. You do NOT discard it! The tomatoes were plain old Romas. Nothing else of note.
D cooked the black beans, after I gave him the sofrito, which I did after D gave me the parsley and R gave me the cilantro (which I washed earlier in the day). Collaboration 🙂 I cooked 2 cups (dry) of basmati rice in 4 cups water till it was done. Worked fine.
Here are the four wines. We liked all four of them, but had favorites. The 2007 Bodegas Palacio Crianza Rioja was our favorite overall. We were less enthralled by the Bodegas Palacio 2009 Tempranillo. The Fincas de Landaluce Crianza (2007) was less interesting by itself, but R especially lauded it as a food wine. And the most expensive of the lot was really striking by the end of the meal – again Bodegas Palacio, Glorioso Rioja, Reserva Especial 2006. We’re definitely going to buy a bunch (if they’re still there) of the first wine above, and probably also the last (though fewer bottles b/c more $$) and some of each of the others, too.