What to Drink with Spicy Food
There are two ways to look at pairing wine
with spicy food: You either want a clean, refreshing
wine to counteract the spiciness and put out the
fire, or you want a spicy wine that can take the
heat. While it’s hard to generalize when spices
and preparations vary so widely, here are a few
helpful hints from David Andrew, Costco’s global
Whites should be cold; reds often benefit
from being on the cooler side of room temperature.
Keep the wine fairly simple, as fine, delicate
wines may be overpowered. Keep in mind that
some dishes—certain curries, for example—
are extremely difficult to match with wine, so
if all else fails, have a nice cold beer!
Gewürztramineris a classic accompaniment for
Asian foods—it has a little spiciness of its own.
The best comes from the Alsace region of France.
Grenachewines, mostly from the south of France,
are spicy themselves without being heavy. Try a
Côtes-du-Rhône or Gigondas, among others.
Pinot Grigiois pretty neutral, which makes
it a refreshing choice that doesn’t interfere with
Dry Riesling,especially those from Alsace and
Australia, can be an excellent foil for spicy food.
Australian Riesling has delicious, mouthwatering
lime-juice acidity to refresh the palate between
Sauvignon Blanc,especially Sancerre and
Pouilly-Fumé, as well as those from New Zealand
and Australia, has bright, zesty gooseberry and
lemongrass flavors that make it a lively, refreshing
partner to many spicy dishes.
Zinfandel,big, juicy and spicy, can go several
rounds with the most intense foods. Zin tends to
be higher in alcohol than most, so go easy. It’s
a specialty of sunny California.
FROM THE MEMBER’S KITCHEN
Carolyn suggests serving these with your favorite
crusty bread and a good bottle of wine.
olive oil, divided Worcestershire sauce
1 small onion, diced 11/2 cups long-grain rice
or turkey breasts, cut in Salt and pepper
6-8 green bell peppers or
dried thyme, oregano, or 12-16 Anaheim chiles
marjoram and tarragon*
8 thin slices Monterey
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Heat 1 tablespoon
oil in a large skillet over medium heat; cook
onions, garlic and jalapeño until onions are
soft. Remove from pan.
Carolyn Foster, Pleasant Hill, California
2. Cook chicken or turkey in remaining oil over
medium heat until opaque but not browned.
Stir in onion mixture. Add herbs, mushrooms,
Worcestershire sauce and rice. Mix thoroughly and
cook for 5-7 minutes, or until the rice is browned.
3. Stir in chicken broth. Cook over low heat for
10 minutes, or until rice begins to soften. Stir in
raisins and pine nuts. Season to taste with salt
and pepper. Cook until rice is almost done but
the mixture is still moist.
4. Blanch bell peppers or chiles for 1 minute. If
using peppers, cut off tops, clean out seeds and
membranes, and stuff with meat mixture. If using
chiles, leave the stems on, slit down one side,
clean out seeds and membranes, and carefully
stuff with meat mixture.
5. Arrange stuffed peppers or chiles and any
remaining rice mixture in a large baking dish and
cover. Bake for 1 hour, or until peppers are soft
Add more chicken broth if rice becomes dry.
Top each pepper with a slice of cheese and put
the cover back on until the cheese melts.
6. Arrange a bed of steamed spinach on each
plate. Add a pepper or two and a scoop of the rice
mixture if any remains. Makes 6-8 servings.
*If fresh herbs are available, use twice the
amount specified for dried herbs.