The Holiday Flavors of Rioja: Spanish Spiced Turkey
The holiday season is in full swing. Before you know it your kitchen will be pumping out glorious platters of food and your dining room will be bustling with friends and family from near and far. But let’s not forget the drinks!
To pair with your favorite holiday fare, consider Rioja wines. Hailing from North-Central Spain, Rioja refers to the wine as well as the region it comes from. Made mainly from the Tempranillo grape, Rioja wines are one of only two D.O.C regions in Spain and all Rioja wines are always regulated so you can be sure you are buying a quality bottle every time. Why Rioja wine when there is Burgundy’s Pinot Noir or Piedmont’s Barbaresco? It’s simple. Rioja wines are versatile and affordable. You don’t have to break the bank on wine for your holiday dinner and no need stress out about ten different bottles of wine to pair with each course. Choose from juicy rosado wines, crisp blancos, or elegant reds ranging from lighter to robust with spice.
Celebrate the holidays and take your usual turkey recipe and add some beautiful Spanish flair inspired by Cosecha and Crianza Rioja wines. Take your basic turkey and rub it with a blend of warm spices and smoked Spanish paprika. Then, stuff the bird with dried fruits soaked in an orange sauce and use the same sauce to baste the meat as it roasts.
Cosecha wines act as a beautiful starter glass to your dinners. Fresh, fruity, and not too heavy, they pair well with appetizers, white meats, and simple pastas without overweighing the palate with rich flavors. Rioja’s Crianza classification lets you know that each and every wine is at least three years old and has been aged in casks for a year or more.
Lighter Rioja red wines often have hints of smoke, only slight notes of oak aging, and plenty of ripe berry flavors. Dishes, like this turkey recipe, with orange zest and warm baking spices are natural pairings with these Rioja wines.
Check out the video below for holiday inspiration with Rioja wines.
4 quarts water
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
Carrots & Onions for roasting
2 Cups OJ
1 sml yellow onion
4 cloves of garlic
Salt, to taste
4 cups stock
Smoked Spanish Paprika
1. Bring to a boil the water, sugar and salt. Cool and then immerse turkey in the brining liquid for about an hour.
2. Toast pine nuts until golden on the stovetop.
3. In another pan, saute onions & garlic until soft and fragrant.
4. Add orange juice and stock and reduce by ⅓, stirring frequently.
5. Season with honey and salt according to your preference. Pour over the apricots and prunes and allow fruit to soak.
6. Strain fruit, reserving the liquid, and stir in the toasted pine nuts. Using cheesecloth and string, wrap and tie the prunes, apricots and pine nuts into a bundle.
7. Combine spices in a bowl.
8. Stuff bird, sitting in a roasting pan, with bundle and rub with spices. Arrange onions, carrots, and fresh thyme around the turkey.
9. Roast at 375F for about 2 hours, or until done, depending on the size of the bird.
10. Baste occasionally with the strained orange sauce while roasting.
11. When serving, remove the cheesecloth insert and arrange its contents around the turkey with the carrots and onions. Garnish with fresh thyme.