BoozyFoodie (she said):
Okay, picture the scene: a select group of foodies and wine lovers taking part in a virtual food and wine pairing challenge. Their quest – use a “secret ingredient” (provided by Backsberg) in a dish to be paired with the brand new 2017 Backsberg Pinotage Rosé.
Keep the surprise ingredient and the food pairing recipe secret until the ‘big reveal’ during an exciting Tweet-up event, where all the ‘chefs’ share their various dishes on Twitter. How exciting does this sound! Yay!
[Enters from left stage: the one who wears the apron in our household, my dearest Noble Savage]
Noble Savage (he said):
I love surprises. Except when they’re a bit shitty. Luckily this time it was a good surprise. The concept is very simple: receive a secret ingredient, and build a recipe around it to pair with the Backsberg 2017 Pinotage Rose. And the surprise ingredient is…
Cranberries! Initially I was taken aback a bit. The only thing I know about cranberries is Americans apparently put it on turkey.
Which I’m sure is fine for them, but I don’t need that sort of negativity in my life. I’m sure it’ll work in a dessert, but again, not really my thing. So what is my thing? Pizza!
As you might remember, we embarked on an epic pizza pairing some time ago (click here). The pizza dough and sauce recipe couldn’t be easier, so what better way than this to try and put a spin on cranberries. We decided to try two recipes: brie and cranberry, and a cranberry and duck. (Check out the link above for the dough and sauce recipe – I used it exactly as I did before.)
First off, the cranberries were dried, so the first step was to soak them a bit to rehydrate them. You don’t want to do this for too long, as you don’t want it to go all soggy. We covered them in water, and left it for about four hours.
The first pizza is very easy. You literally just cover the base with chunks of brie and cranberry, and then lightly sprinkle some mozzarella over the top (not too much, as the brie is already quite rich). Then bake for a bit, and you’re done. You can garnish it with some roughly chopped nuts of your choice for a bit of crunch – we used cashews and almonds.
The duck and cranberry takes a bit more effort. Start with two duck breasts (hee hee). Score the skin diagonally with a sharp knife, and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. On a fucking hot skillet, place in the breasts skin down.
You don’t need oil or butter – the duck’s fat will take care of it. You can leave it in the pan for a bit – about three minutes – and then flip it. The other side needn’t be in contact with the pan for that long, so just keep an eye on it. Flip it about twice more, and then pop it skin down in the skillet into a 180℃ oven for eight minutes. The skin should be nice and crispy, and the meat still slightly pink.
When the meat has cooled a bit, shred and cover the pizza base together with some cranberries. Sprinkle over some mozzarella, again lightly, and bake ‘till done. Once it’s done, garnish with some fresh rocket. And there have a classy AF pizza done with minimal effort.
Both these pizzas worked tremendously with the Backsberg Pinotage Rosé. The fruity flavours of the wine worked well with the cranberries, and the brie balanced out the berry notes of the wine quite well. I was unsure if the duck would work with the Pinotage Rosé, and was pleasantly surprised. The flavour of the duck, together with the pepper of the rocket, didn’t overpower the Rosé; rather the pizza complemented the fruitiness of the wine. Another pleasant surprise!
I loved the concept of being given a simple ingredient, and having to figure what recipe would best complement both the wine and the ingredient. Kudos to Liquid Pulse PR and SA Vine Share for an awesome concept – can’t wait for the next one!