Friday, February 14, 2020

A Special Wine for A Special Night #Winophiles

Happy Valentine Day.  Do you go out for dinner or make a special dinner at home for your love?  I much prefer spending Valentine's Day in and avoiding the crowds.  If your are with me then I have just the meal for you.

To be completely honest with you, this was not the meal I had planned to pair with the wine I chose for our French Winophiles event this month but life with a Teen is unpredictable......

When Cam of Culinary Adventures with Camilla asked us to continue her theme of Godforsaken Grapes to French Wines this month I ordered up a bottle of Old Vines Carignan from Domaine Lafage Tessalae.

You can learn more about today's event at Cam's preview post.  You can learn more about this interesting book and idea in my Wine Pairing Weekend Post, Godforsaken Grapes; The Book, The Wine, The Pairing.

The grape I chose to share with you today is not listed in the 101 grapes to try in the back of this book.  The author is quick to acknowledge that those 101 grapes are just a drop in the bucket as there are over a thousand from which to choose.

While researching ancient and indigenous grapes of France, I came across this article from Wine Folly.  In this article, I learned that this red grape is grown in Southern France.  It used to be considered a low quality wine grape however that is changing as producer reinvigorate old vineyards.

I found this bottle of Carignan at for $17.99.  It comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon area.  I have enjoyed wines from this area before.  That, along with this winemaker note from, made my decision an easy one.
"Carignan has had a rather tumultuous history in the south of France. Once seen as a necessary grape to spur the recovery of the region after the plague of phylloxera in the late 19th century, primarily for its ability to produce high yields, it has been largely replaced with “nobler” varieties such as Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. This is unfortunate – for as challenging as the variety is to love when the vines are young, they are superb with half a century under their belt. Jean-Marc Lafage luckily resisted the call to uproot and replace this variety, and he possesses Carignan vines well over 70 years old on schist with which he makes the Tessellae Carignan."
When this wine arrived, I put it in my wine fridge and decided that, since this post was going live on Valentine's Day, I was going to pair it with a special dinner for two.  Frank loves a good seared Filet Mignon with Zip Sauce.  I sent my title for today's post to Cam and looked forward to planning this special dinner.

The Teen had plans to spend the night at a friends house and I was anticipating a quiet date night at home with Frank.  I was going to pick up some nice steaks when I dropped her off and serve them up with all of his favorite side dishes while we enjoyed this bottle of wine.

Then the Teen announced that instead of her spending the night at her friend's they were going to stay at our house and a couple more friends were joining them.  So much for our quiet evening alone.....

I went into the freezer, pulled out some short ribs, put them into the microwave to defrost and then into a marinade for a couple of hours, intending on braising them nice and slowly in the oven as I curled up with a book on the couch.

Then the gang decided that they wanted to go to a trampoline park.  I live in a very small town in a mostly rural area.  The Trampoline park is an hour drive each way.  Allowing them an hour and a half to jump, I could plan on being gone most of the afternoon.  Frank decided to go with me.  We dropped off the girls and then went and had a drink and appetizer at the bar across the street while we waited.

It is days like this that I thank Frank for buying me an Instant Pot a couple of years ago.  When we got home I started dinner and we were eating in less than an hour and a half.

There was plenty of delicious food for 3 hungry teens and 2 hungry adults.  Frank and I still opened the bottle of Carignan to enjoy with this dinner.  And enjoy it we did.  The wine pours a dark, deep red. I was taken aback when I took a smell.  I was expecting a much heavier nose than I got.  It smells almost of tea...very light with a touch of spice.

Then we took a sip and were, once again, surprised at the lightness of this wine.  Very smooth with a hint of dried fruit and an almost musky earthiness.  It was a very pleasant surprise.  The pairing was successful but this wine was lighter than I expected so in the future I will look to pair it with a lighter dish.  I think it would be perfect with Roast Turkey, Chicken or even Pork Roast.

We are all getting together tomorrow morning at 11 AM ET for Twitter Chat.  We would love for you to join us.  You will find us by following #Winophiles.  Here are the topics we will be discussing.

When I started this recipe, believing I was going to braise in the oven, I was following a recipe found in Celebration a cookbook from Cooper's Hawk Winery and Restaurant.

I adapted the recipe to go into the Instant Pot when my plans changed and it was amazingly delicious.  Cooper's Hawk recommended pairing this dish with their Petite Sirah.  I am linking up with Foodies Read so other's can learn about this cookbook that I am enjoying.

Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs

Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs

Yield: 6 servings
prep time: cook time: total time:
Short Ribs and Vegetables marinated in seasoned wine before searing and cooking to a fork tender deliciousness. Create a light gravy with the braising liquid and serve over egg pasta for an amazing one pot dinner.


  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 5 lbs. beef short ribs
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3-4 carrots, scraped and cut into 1" pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, washed and sliced
  • 2 t. dried Italian Herbs
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 c. red wine
  • 3 T. tomato paste
  • 2 c. beef stock
  • 2 T. cornstarch
  • 1/4 c. cold water
  • 1 lb. egg noodles, cooked per package directions.


How to cook Instant Pot Beef Short Ribs

  1. Season the ribs with salt and pepper.  Place the onion, garlic, carrots, celery, Italian Herbs, bay leaf and wine in a large shallow container.  I used a 9x13" baking pan.  Add the short ribs to the marinade, cover and leave at room temperature for a few hours.
  2. When ready to start dinner, heat oil in an instant pot set to saute.  Remove the ribs from the marinade and pat dry.  When the instant pot shows hot, sear the ribs, in batches until browned all over, about 5 minutes for each batch.  Remove to a plate and set aside.
  3. With the instant pot still set to saute, remove the vegetables from the marinade with a slotted spoon and cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pour the marinade in with the vegetables.  Stir in the tomato paste, scraping up any browned bits still stuck to the bottom of the instant pot insert.  With setting still on saute, bring to a boil and cook until liquid is reduced by half, 10-15 minutes.  Turn the instant pot off.
  5. Return the short ribs and any collected juices to the instant pot.  Add the beef stock.  Seal the instant pot to pressure, and press the meat/stew setting.  It will prepare to cook for 60 minutes.  
  6. When the cycle is done,  quick release the pressure per manufacturer's directions.  Remove the ribs to a  cutting board and remove any fat or gristle, placing the chunks of meat onto cooked egg noodles.  
  7. Using a slotted spoon, remove the vegetables and place with the short ribs on the noodles.  Discard the bay leaf.  Turn the Instant Pot back to saute and bring the juices to a boil.  Make a slurry by combining the cornstarch and cold water.  Whisk into the boiling juices, cook and stir until thickened.  Season with salt and pepper.  
  8. Using a gravy separator to remove the fat, pour the gravy over the beef ribs, vegetables and pasta and serve immediately.


Recipe adapted from one found in Celebration provided by Gary Baca, Exec. Chef of Joe's Seafood, Prime Steak & Stone Crab in Chicago, IL.
#instantpot, #shortribs, #beef, #pasta,
Entrees,Beef, Instant Pot
Created using The Recipes Generator


  1. Life with teens is unpredictable, but you roll with it like a magician! Thanks for joining me. That wine and that meal sound amazing.

  2. Enjoyed your story about the Teen and changing plans. So typical! You're very good at switching gears. A good wine helps, too. :)

  3. I love how you paired this post with Valentine's Day. So fun to read and just the kind of meal I would do on this holiday too. Hearty, comforting, makes itself in the instant pot, and pairs so nicely with red wine. Nice choice of carignan!

  4. Sounds like your crazy ended with a fabulous meal. I have to say that I've also been enjoying interesting versions of Carrignan lately. I guess it's time for a comeback.

  5. I would love that meal after a crazy night like yours. Anything with beef and noodles says love to me.

  6. I just recently got an Instant Pot, still need to put it into use. This is a good idea for it! I definitely like a good Carignan too.

  7. I love everything you did with this pairing, especially the Carignan from Languedoc-Roussillon. I'm a big fan of using instant pot too.

    1. I am surprised how much I love having the Instant Pot Pinny.

  8. Flexibility is the key! I really need to get an Instant Pot (and then also stock my freezer with short ribs! LOL). The wine sounds lovely!


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