Chicken Recipe: Coconut, Lime and Cilantro au Jus Chicken Paired with Ziraldo Riesling

| February 21, 2014 | 0 Comments

unnamedI’m a devoted fan of Riesling, especially Ontario-born versions.  The winemakers of our province produce world class Riesling, in fact. If you love to pair wine with food, this is certainly a variety worth exploring.

Riesling (pronounced ‘rees-ling’) was born in the Rhine River region of Germany and its history stems back to medieval times to 1546.  German botanist, physician and author, Hieronymus Bock, mentioned this grape in his book called Herbal.  Today, Germany continues to produce delicious Riesling.  But so does Ontario and its nice to know we have world-class gems grown in our own back yard available for purchase.

The wine’s aromas and flavours can resemble fruits ranging from lemon and lime to peaches and apricots,  tangerine and pineapples.  Sometimes Riesling can be more petrol in character, as well.

What I love most about this grape is its versatility, producing white wines that can be bone dry, to off dry to late harvest to Icewine.  Riesling has enough character to stand alone with screaming and refreshing acidity as its predominant taste sensation.  Or it  can swirl with an tanginess and sweetness in several levels.

I often see articles praising Riesling as a wine that works with spicy and Asian dishes.  This is only partly true.   It depends on the wine’s level of  sweetness.  The sugar code is key, determining whether Riesling will work with a particular spicy or ethnic dish.

If the dish has sweetness, one’s Riesling must be more sweet.  If the dish is spicy, this white requires even more sweetness.  But don’t be alarmed.  When vinified correctly Riesling doesn’t taste sweet.  That’s because of its backbone of acidity.  When made be masters, the wine’s sweetness will show up on the forefront of your palate, but only to suddenly disappear as it dances with the sweetness.  A tango of taste sensations.

Some of us cherish the bone-dry versions that complement foods offering similar tanginess or saltiness as primary bridging ingredients in the dish.

Dry Riesling works with yogurt and sour cream based dips and salty cheeses and charcuterie and cured meats.  Pair Riesling with Parmigiano-Reggiano DOP, Grana Padano Aged, Pecorino Romano, Asiago, prosciutto, capocollo, Pancetta and Parma Ham, to name but a few.  If you want to highlight Riesling with an entrée, choose one that uses lemon or lime as an accent flavour.  Sole drizzled in lemon complements bone dry Riesling.  Perfect partners.

I was so excited to learn that Ziraldo Riesling, VQA, CSPC 357640, $19.95 is now available in Peterborough, 879 Lansdowne  Street West.

This is an exciting wine with aromas bursting with lime and apricot flavours.  The palate is delicate yet sophisticated and rich with forward flavours of lime and tangerine.  Hints of minerality lurk behind.  And ever so gently, just a smidgen of honey creeps in to soften the acidity at mid palate.  It’s a bone dry wine, but with just enough sweetness for balance before it lingers a while on the finish.

Ziraldo Riesling offers excellent value and sophistication for $19.99.  It’s also organic.  Former owner of Inniskillin Wines, planted the vineyard on his property adjacent to Inniskillin in 2007 with an aim to produce organic Icewine. Ziraldo is the king of Icewine.  He and former partner Karl Kaiser put Canadian Icewine on the wine world map by receiving the Grand Prix d’honneur in 1991 for their 1989 Vidal Icewine.  This vineyard consists of Riesling planted on 5 different rootstocks.  Its Ziraldo’s experiment to determine which stock is the most suitable to the microclimate of the vineyard and ultimately to the Niagara region to produce world-class organic Icewine.

But due to an extremely hot summer, the grapes matured and ripened early, so Ziraldo was forced to pick them in mid-November.  The result is this juicy table wine.

There are only 100 cases of this wine.  In Peterborough, we are certainly not overstocked.  So I highly suggest you pick up a few bottles to hold you over until the summer.  Please save 1 bottle for summer dining. A glass of Ziraldo Riesling to refresh the palate and cool the body in the summer heat would be nothing short of a vacation-at-home.

I decided to create a chicken recipe to complement Ziraldo Riesling’s predominant lime flavour and zesty acidity.   Pair this wine with Rustic Chicken with Coconut, Lime and Cilatro Jus.  I use in the recipe coconut infused rum.  Adding a spirit to the dish increases its level of roundness and depth of flavour called umami.  The fresh lime flavour in the jus bridges perfectly with the wine’s lime acidity as well.

Here is the recipe:

Coconut, Lime and Cilantro au Jus Chicken

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 to 4 cloves of garlic minced, depending on preference

¼ cup of coconut infused dark rum

1 cup chicken broth

Juice from 2 limes

4 chicken breasts

4 small carrots, chopped

1 leek (white part only), sliced

½ bulb of fennel, sliced

½ sweet onion, sliced

½ yellow or orange pepper

½ cup fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 F.  In a skillet over medium heat, heat oil.  Saute garlic until aromatic.  Sear chicken breasts.  Set chicken breasts in oven proof baking dish.  Deglaze pan with rum, scraping up browned bits.  Add 1 cup chicken broth.  Let simmer for 2 minutes.  Pour vegetables mixture over chicken.  Add cilantro.  Add broth.  Pour juice from 1 lime over vegetables.  Set in middle of oven.  Roast for 45 minutes or until chicken is desired doneness and white inside.  Transfer chicken and vegetables to plate.  Wrap with foil and keep warm in oven.  Place juice in sauté pan.  Bring juice to a boil.  Reduce to medium and let simmer until reduced by half.  Transfer chicken to serving tray with vegetables, drizzled in jus. Squeeze with fresh lime juice just before serving.


Discover the 3 secrets that 90% of people don’t know about pairing wine with food.

Click the book cover.


Discover the secrets that 90% of people don’t know about pairing wine with food.



About the Author ()

Shari Darling is an award-winning and best-selling author and columnist, educator and speaker specializing in wine, food and the partnership between them.

Leave a Reply