New Year’s Eve food and wine pairings

Happy New Year: Food and Wine Pairings

Happy New Year: Food and Wine Pairings

Susan Ward Tarner, host of a featured cooking show on Helena Civic Television called Cooking with Susan, Slow Food, Montana Style, has paired Villa del Monte wines with some of her favorite holiday recipes.  We’re publishing this a few days early so you can get your shopping done before the holiday! Enjoy and Happy New Year!

Ginger Glazed Chicken
Enjoy with your favorite Villa del Monte Chardonnay

New Year Cheer Pound Cake
Complement with our beautiful Syrah Rosé

Sugar Spiced Pecans
Serve a bowl of these pecans with Merlot Reserve Carneros

Smokehouse Garlic Clam Sauce
Pair with a hearty red such as a Villa del Monte Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon

Ginger Glazed Chicken
Serves Two

2 boneless chicken breasts

Glaze
½ cup chopped crystallized ginger
¼ cup to ½ cup ginger ale
2 tablespoons coarse stone ground mustard
½ cup light brown sugar
½ to ¼ teaspoon of ground cloves 

Mix all ingredients for glaze in a bowl. Broil chicken breasts under low heat for about 15 minutes each side. Once chicken juices start to run clear (no pink or red in juices), then spoon the glaze on top of each chicken breast in equal portions. Let the heat from the broiler warm the ginger glaze to bubbling, but make sure it does not burn, about 2 to 3 minutes.

Remove chicken from oven and serve one chicken breast with a pine nut couscous or rice pilaf on the side. Great paired with Villa Del Monte Chardonnay.

New Year Cheer Pound Cake
2 sticks of butter, softened
2 cups of sugar
2 cups of cake flour
5 eggs
1 teaspoon of bourbon vanilla
1 teaspoon of orange liqueur

In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in flour. Add one egg at a time mixing until well incorporated. Add in vanilla and orange liqueur mixing well. Grease and lightly flour a tube pan. Pour cake batter into pan and bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Cool in pan for 10 minutes before turning cake out of pan.

While cake cools, mix up the following to add the “New Year Cheer”:

1 bag fresh cranberries
½ cup sugar
1 cup orange juice
zest of one orange or to taste
¼ cup orange liqueur

In saucepan, mix 1 cup of orange juice and 1 bag of fresh cranberries. Cook until cranberries start to pop. Add ½ cup sugar and cook until mixture thickens and cranberries are very soft and broken down. Once mixture is thick, then add in orange zest, and if you like, add in ¼ cup orange liqueur.  Remove from heat and push mixture through a medium-sized sieve to remove any skins from the cranberries in to serving bowl. Let cool.

Serve slices of pound cake with New Year Cheer glaze poured over the top of the pound cake. Top with whipping cream or vanilla ice cream if you choose! Villa del Monte Syrah Rosé Pasha Vineyards wine is the perfect complement!

Sugar Spiced Pecans
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg
½ teaspoon ground cloves or allspice
½ cup water
4 cups pecan halves

Combine first six ingredients in casserole or glass bowl. Mix well and microwave for 4 minutes. Stir well and then microwave for another 2 minutes.  Add pecans and mix until pecans are well coated. Be sure to continue to stir until the sugar becomes a thick frosted consistency on the pecans. Once this happens, spread pecans on waxed paper.  Separate with a fork or leave in clusters. Place in bowls for your guests to nibble along with a glass of Merlot Reserve Carneros.

Smokehouse Garlic Clam Sauce
Serves Four

1 can of chopped clams in clam juice
1 can of Cherrywood smoked clams in oil
4 cloves of garlic pressed or chopped
½ cup of beef broth or more clam juice
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tablespoons butter or 50/50 blend
½ cup chopped smokehouse almonds for garnish
angel hair pasta – boiled and strained and coated lightly with olive oil

In a skillet on your stove top, heat about 2 tablespoons of butter or 50/50 blend until melted at about medium high heat. Add in your chopped clams and clam juice and stir. Add in can of smoked clams (drained of oil as best you can) to mixture. (You can chop these as well, but I like the fact that these clams are larger and add variety in the size of the clams.)  Once the clams have been added, add pressed/chopped garlic cloves and pour in beef broth for a rich taste to bring out the smoky goodness. Season to taste.

Turn the heat down to simmer. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. Do not let the entire liquid cook off.  Add remaining 2 tablespoons of butter to the skillet with the clam mixture and stir to slightly thicken the sauce.

Serve clam sauce over angel hair pasta or pasta of your choice. Sprinkle chopped smokehouse almonds on top for an extra smoky flavor. Add a side salad and nice crusty bread and, of course, a delicious Villa del Monte Pinot Noir or Cabernet Sauvignon.


Susan Ward Tarner enjoys combining food history and culture with locally grown and produced ingredients. She hopes to inspire everyone to challenge their cooking abilities and palates! Susan is originally from Georgia where she learned to cook from an expert, her “mama”! She has lived in Montana for 28 years with her husband and teenage daughter.

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