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Butter Chicken + Non-Buttery Chardonnay from Donkey & Goat


We've been making a version of Priya's Famous Butter Chicken for years...ever since I got the recipe out of her. It's a family favorite though the boys tell me that mine is not quite as good as Ms. Priya's. Well, I try. This time I decided to grate fresh ginger and fresh turmeric into it instead of using ground versions. I'm not sure if that made a difference, but they didn't actually remind me this time that my butter chicken isn't as good as hers. That's progress!


Ingredients
  • 2 lbs organic chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized cubes
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1 t chili powder
  • 1" knob fresh turmeric, grated
  • 6 T unsalted butter, cut into 2 T chunks
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced (approximately 1-1/2 C)
  • 1 T garam masala
  • 1 t ground chili powder
  • 1 t ground cumin
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
  • 1-1/2" knob fresh ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3” stick cinnamon
  • 1 C tomato sauce
  • 1 C chicken stock (I used my Homemade Ramen Broth)
  • 1 T chile flakes
  • 1 C organic heavy cream
  • cooked potatoes for serving (I did have rice!)


Procedure
In a large mixing bowl, massage the salt, pepper, 1 t chili powder, and turmeric into the chicken. Let stand for 15 minutes.

In a large, flat-bottom pan, cook the onions, ginger, and garlic in 3 T butter until softened and the onions begin to turn translucent. Add in the remaining butter and melt. Stir in the garam masala, chili powder, cumin, cayenne, and cinnamon stick. Cook until fragrant.

Add the chicken to the spiced paste and brown until cooked through, approximately 10 to 12 minutes. Pour in the tomato sauce and chicken stock. Add in the chili flakes, if using; we like our butter chicken a little bit spicy. Whisk to combine. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes - until the sauce is beginning to thicken. Pour in the cream, whisk to combine, and simmer until that it thickened to your liking.

Serve garnished with cooked rice. Enjoy!

Wine Pairing

I decided to pair the butter chicken with a decidedly non-buttery Chardonnay from one of my favorite vintners - Donkey & Goat. This is the Chardonnay that had me changing my mind about Chardonnay. I tend to steer clear of this varietal because I don't usually care for the buttery, oaky flavor profiles of many Chardonnays. This one is crisp and fabulous.

The grapes for this wine are planted on a side of a mountain in Mendocino at an elevation over 2000 feet. The Perli Vineyards are remote and nestled between the redwoods on one of my favorite stretches of the Pacific coastline. I read that these slopes are comprised of more rock than soil and sit at a more than 60 degree slope. That's a farming feat, isn't it?

I have tried the 2015 which was intriguing enough for me to buy a bottle at the tasting room. And this 2016 version is just as alluring. Think citrus plus salinity...like smelling a lemon tree enveloped in a heavy marine layer of salty fog. This wine is juicy, but more of a biting into a tart apple way not a jammy way. 'Savory' would be the first word that comes to mind, followed by 'amazing.' Again, Donkey & Goat has surprised and delighted me. Cheers!

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