Even though we’re not freezing yet, cool windy days in Colorado can really spark an appetite for a hearty stew and a wine to match. My partner and I are determined  to take “dress for the weather” as a lifestyle suggestion rather than just a fashion choice. This month, that means we’ve picked a couple of new books, cooked some stews, always had a red open and each took turns reminding the other not to complain about the weather.

After my recent return from Spain I asked Jenny to help me try and recreate some of the  delicious, potajes (Spanish for stew), served at the local workers cafeteria in Catalonia. Even though the fare was cheap, the portions were as ample as a workers appetite and I was blown away by the range of flavors each bowl of earthy goodness contained. My favorite was garbanzos con espinacas, a potent mix of garbanzos, spinach and tomatoes as a base. Left alone, it would have been sufficient, but Jenny really woke the whole dish up with the addition of smoked Paprika, fresh ginger and some Spanish Saffron. As always, Jenny’s temperance with the spices allowed the subtle notes of the saffron, ginger, and paprika to tease out the fresh greens and lentils.

But what to drink with something so warm, spicy and intriguing? There are so many options. Hearty high acid dishes, with some exciting spices will always pair well with any red wine assuming it has good body, a little wood, and medium alcohol. High acid food really compliments high acid wine and the heartier the dish the heartier the wine. Tempranillo from Rioja fills all the characteristics and it even has a bit of spice to match! My favorite at the moment comes from the La Calle family, 2014 Artadi, Vinas de Laguardia! Bone apple tea on this crisp fall evening.



Feeds two hungry millennials, with leftovers.

·       1 can whole peeled tomatoes

·       1 1-inch knob ginger, peeled

·       2 cups of Spinach

·       1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil (Spanish for authenticity)

·       1 medium onion, finely sliced

·       4 cloves garlic, finely sliced

·       1 teaspoon smoked paprika (normal paprika works)

·       2 (14-ounce) cans garbanzo beans

·       2 teaspoons soy sauce

·       Kosher salt

·       1 pinch of Spanish Saffron (not paramount)

Step 1

Blend half  the canned tomatoes with half their juice, saffron, and the ginger. Drain the other tomatoes and chop them up into bite size chunks.

Step 2

Over medium heat put, olive oil, onion, garlic, paprika, and stir it occasionally. Once, onions are a little brown, add the tomato-ginger puree and slowly add handfuls of spinach. Then tomatoes and garbanzo beans (with liquid) and soy sauce.

Step 3

Serve with a little old or fresh red wine and some olive oil.

Want more?

Add chorizo sausage, blood sausage, replace water from beans with vegetable/beef stock, potatoes, kale, chard or bacon. Add, in small amounts, with spinach.  Or, come ask me a question at the shop!