For a rich and savory dish such as this one, depending on what you’d like to highlight or tone down, you could rely on the smoky nature of a Sicilian red blend from Italy, the dense fruit of a Rhone blend from France, or the bright acidity of a pinot noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley.
Heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add 1 pound boneless cooked ham, cubed; 1 onion, chopped; and 3 cloves garlic, chopped. Cook until ham browns lightly and onions are soft and slightly caramelized, about 6 minutes. Add 3 cups low sodium beef broth, 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard, 1 tablespoon dry vermouth, 3 sprigs fresh thyme and 1 bay leaf. Stir in 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice; heat to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low; simmer, 15 minutes. Remove from heat; rest 5 minutes, covered. Stir in 3/4 cup sliced green olives and 1/4 cup chopped parsley. Makes: 8 servings
Recipe by Lisa Schumacher
Pairings by sommelier Rachael Lowe of Spiaggia, as told to Michael Austin:
2014 I Custodi Pistus Etna Rosso, Sicily, Italy: A red blend sourced from the volcanic soils of Mount Etna, this wine has aromas of cranberry-apple, tart raspberry, dried thyme and a hint of smoke. It will work perfectly with the smoky nature of the ham and the savory component that the Dijon mustard adds to the dish.
2015 Anne Pichon Sauvage, Ventoux, France: This 80/20 blend of syrah/grenache offers herbal aromas of sage and tarragon intermingled with savory notes of boysenberry, cassis, cinnamon and black plum. The wine’s sultry, dense fruits and balanced tannin will stand up well to the fat and rich texture of the ham and onion.
2014 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, Oregon: This wine has multiple layers of red cherry, strawberry preserves, tobacco, five-spice blend and a touch of leather. Its bright acidity will balance the rich parts of the dish and the olives, while the wine’s savory components will add spiced nuance to the meal.
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Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com