My two favorite things during the the winter are good comfort food paired with a bottle of awesome wine. One of my favorite easy meals for the winter are Steamed Mussels paired with a Gruner Veltiliner.
Gruner Veltiliner is typically an Austrian wine but one of my favorites is made in Michigan. Gruner Veltiliner is easy to pair with many different foods. It is a refreshing medium bodied, peppery white wine with stone fruit flavors. Gruner goes well with anything from green salads to cold poached salmon, roasted chicken and seafood.
Here is my recipe for Steamed Mussels with Fennel:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 shallots, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bulb of fennel-trimmed cored and thinly sliced
1 large tomato, cubed
½ cup white wine
¼ cup ouzo
½ cup heavy cream
4 pounds mussels, cleaned and debearded
1/3 cup fresh basil leaved, torn
Salt to taste
1. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in shallots and garlic, and cook until tender. Stir in fennel and tomato, and continue cooking about 5 minutes.
2. Mix white wine, ouzo, and heavy cream into the saucepan, and bring to a boil. Gradually stir in mussels, ½ the basil, and salt.
3. Cover saucepan, and continue cooking about 5 minutes, until the mussels have opened. Garnish with remaining basil to serve. Serve with crusty bread.
Excellent Gruner Veltiliners currently in stock at the Eden Prairie Liquor location next to Rainbow Foods include:
Lagler (Austria) $20.99
Wimmer Czerny (Austria) $19.99
Chateau Grand Traverse (Michigan) $17.99
Wolfgang Concerto (Austria) $14.99
Pratsch (Austria) $13.99
Hugl (Austria) $12.99