Food and Wine Pairing: Chenin Blanc with (and in) Lemon Herb Sautéed Vegetables

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What’s the best way to know you’ve got a good food-and-wine pairing? When the wine is an ingredient in the recipe!

We’ve got just such a dish for you, with a recipe for Lemon Herb Sautéed Vegetables that takes advantage of the abundant fruit and lively acidity of the protea Chenin Blanc.

But first, a few words in general about cooking with wine, a topic that does raise some questions now and again.

Wine has long been used in food preparation, of course – in marinades, for deglazing the pan and making sauces, for poaching. A market for wine products marketed for use in cooking even developed, and you can still find “Cooking Wine” or “Cooking Sherry” in many supermarkets. Most of you know this already, but just to be sure: Steer well clear of these products. They’re just cheap wine with salt and preservatives added.

Instead, always cook with a good solid wine, one that you wouldn’t mind drinking. Especially if the dish calls for a lot of wine, the bottle doesn’t have to be expensive, but you do want a wine that isn’t obviously flawed.

Sometimes recipes will be very specific about what type of wine to use; other times they might just say “white wine” or “red wine” – pretty broad categories! In these cases, the nature of the dish can help guide you. Something rich and deeply flavorful like braised pork shoulder, say, can be great with a robust wine, like a Zinfandel, while a quick sauce for a roasted chicken breast could work better with a more delicate Pinot Noir. In general, really tannic or oaky wines can dominate a dish, so be aware of that.

People are often curious – or concerned – to know how much of the alcohol might be retained in the dish. Testing shows it can vary quite a bit. For instance, for “baked/simmered dishes with alcohol stirred into the mixture,” 40 percent of the alcohol will be retained after 15 minutes of cooking, but only 5 percent after 2.5 hours of cooking. Check out this well-sourced information if this is something you’d like to learn more about.

Now on to the recipe for a dish that can work on its own with rice or polenta maybe, or as a side dish, or under salmon or lemon chicken. And by the way, if you’ve got someone in the house who’s never been fond of zucchini or squash, insist that they try this. It could very well change their view!

Lemon Herb Sautéed Vegetables

1 stick butter
½ cup heavy cream
½ cup Protea Chenin Blanc (or a bit more if you’re feeling adventurous!)
1 sliced lemon
1 juiced lemon
5 cloves garlic
½ small red onion, sliced
1 tablespoon onion flakes
2 – 3 sprigs rosemary
Salt and pepper to taste
1 zucchini, julienned
1 yellow squash, julienned
2 large carrots, julienned

For the lemon and herb sauce base:

  1. Melt butter in a large skillet.
  2. Add heavy cream, Chenin Blanc, sliced and juiced lemons, garlic, red onion, onion flakes, rosemary, and salt and pepper. Let simmer for two minutes or until well combined.

To sauté the vegetables:

  1. Add all chopped vegetables to the sauce base. Saute for 3-4 minutes, or until vegetables have softened.
  2. Serve as a side dish, or as a base for salmon or lemon chicken. Don’t forget to drizzle the rest of the lemon herb base onto your dish!


Still hungry? Check out these other Chenin Blanc pairings:

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