Monday, December 17, 2007

Hearty Seafood Potage and a Weird Wine

I wanted soup.

So, Karl and I braved the impending ice storm and horrible drivers and went to the store to gather all the necessary ingredients. It was well worth it. One of the ingredients was wine, so we stopped by the Wine & Spirits shop to pick up an irresistible Italian Pinot Grigio/Chardonnay blend ($6.99) and a Bandit boxed-liter Pinot Grigio ($9.99) as a backup.

Check out that bottle! Supposedly, this bottle, which I have mixed feelings about, is an homage to the glass-blowing traditions of the region. It just looks weird to me. The wine itself is a really yellowy gold color. It almost looks like melted butter. It smelled nice to me, like melons and white grape juice. Karl said it smelled like pears and that was it! I didn't smell any pears.

It did taste like pears, though! I really didn't know what to expect from this blend. I'd never heard of a Pinot Grigio and Chardonnay blend. This was clearly not aged in oak, so that was a blessing.

We concluded it was good but not awesome, and we did get what we paid for. I've had worse white wines, but we probably won't buy it again. I just had to try it, if only because of the ridiculous packaging!

On a side note: try Bandit boxed wine!! Great value, eco-friendly, simple-but-delicious wine (at least the pinot grigio). Check it out!!

The soup recipe follows: try it! It's simple, hearty, and pretty decadent for a $15-20 effort (depending on how much shrimp you put in).

Hearty Seafood Potage
(serves 3-4)

2-3 TBSP Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 onion, chopped
1 14-oz. can of quartered artichoke hearts
1 14-oz. can chicken broth (or vegetable broth)
1/3 cup dry white wine
2 TBSP fresh, flat-leaf parsley, chopped
3/4 cup half-and-half (or light cream)
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste
1/2 lb to 1 lb raw, peeled shrimp

Heat the oil in a heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the chopped onion, and cook until softened (about 5 minutes). Add the artichoke hearts, broth, and white wine, then increase the heat to bring to a boil. Cover, and reduce the heat. Simmer for about 10 minutes.
Remove the pot from the heat, and, using an immersion blender, puree the soup. If you don't have an immersion blender, you can use a food processor or a regular blender, but do it in batches and be careful to take the necessary precautions!
Return the pureed soup to medium heat, and slowly whisk in the half-and-half. Add the parsley, nutmeg, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring the soup to a simmer, and let simmer for 5-10 minutes.
Add the raw shrimp to the soup and cook just until the shrimp are done (about 3-5 minutes). If you let them cook too long, though, they'll be tough and rubbery, so remove the pot from the heat the earliest you dare!

Enjoy hot with fresh parsley as a garnish.