Savor Soul Food with Wine

30 Jun

In wrapping up National Soul Food Month, I hope you’ve eaten your fill and enjoyed it all. I kicked off the month with collard greens, and continued to savor an assortment of savory soul items at Sweet Home Café at the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC). Of course I had help from family at the museum—our table included pan-fried Louisiana catfish, buttermilk fried chicken, plantains, steamed cabbage, creamy stone ground grits, macaroni and cheese, cornbread and there was no room for dessert!

Now if you haven’t had a chance to celebrate and connect with the foods of the African diaspora during National Soul Food Month I have a couple of suggestions with wine pairings that you can include in summer menus.  Though I’ve stirred my share of pots, I asked Brian

Brian Duncan one of America's leading wine experts.

Chicago native Brian Duncan, shares his expertise as a winemaker and wine educator with ChowChow & Soul™.

Duncan, founder of Down to Earth Wine concepts, LLC for his suggestions on best pairings with traditional soul food items. Before uncorking anything, Duncan shares his philosophy —“Wine is for everyone.” That said; let’s get started with his pairings, showcasing wines from African American winemakers with good things to eat.


Black-eyed Pea Hummus (recipe below)

Serve Black-Eyed Pea Hummus with fresh vegetables and pita wedges.

Domestic and imported rosés are great versatile companions to most appetizers and starters. The savory garlicky and earthy flavors of hummus need a refreshing contrast that rosés provide. They are particularly versatile and complementary with salty and spicy nuances.

  • Mouton Noir, Love Drunk Rosé, Oregon

Fried Chicken & Potato Salad

As a fan of sparkling wine, Duncan pairs Prosecco and Champagne with fried foods. The crisp effervescence and bubbles simultaneously clarify and exaggerate the richness and decadence frying lends to the food. Still wines like Chardonnay and Pinot Gris are also workhorses with fried dishes including shellfish, seafood, poultry and vegetables

  • NV Brut Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc, Bodkin Vineyards, North Coast, CA

Fried Catfish

  • 2016 McBride Sisters Chardonnay, Central Coast, CA
  • Mouton Noir, O.P.P., Pinot Gris, Oregon

BBQ Ribs

No matter what regional version of BBQ you choose, your wine choices must take into account assertive flavors and ingredients such as spicy seasonings and dry rubs, sweet and sour, tomato, mustard and vinegar based marinades and sauces, etc…

The best wine matches contain ripe flavors and lower ripe tannins such as California red Zinfandel, Syrah, southern Australian Shiraz, fruitier still and sparkling rosés.

  • 2016 McBride Sisters Brut Rose, New Zealand
  • The Alex Cooper Project, Doug Rafenelli Vineyard, California
  • Brown Estate Zinfandel, Napa Valley, California
  • Horseshoes & Handgrenades, Red Blend, Oregon & Washington

Black-Eyed Pea Hummus

1⁄4 cup olive oil, divided

1 green onion, cut in half lengthwise

1 large garlic clove

1 15-ounce can black-eyed peas, drained and rinsed

1 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon smoked  cumin

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


Preheat oven to 400°F. Place onion and garlic clove on parchment paper in baking pan. Drizzle onion and garlic with 2 teaspoons olive oil. Place baking pan in oven and roast for 15 to 18 minutes or until onion is crisp and browned. Remove from oven and cool.

In food processor with slicing blade, puree black-eyed peas, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, roast onion and garlic, until mixture is smooth. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of reserved olive oil; process to desired consistency. Spoon hummus into serving bowl; drizzle with remaining olive oil and sprinkle with paprika. Serve with fresh vegetables and pita bread. Makes approx. 1 cup.  Store any remaining hummus tightly covered in refrigerator three to four days.  


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