In celebration of the 2018 Tour de France, well-known wine-and-food-pairing expert Katinka van Niekerk has devised a series of French-inspired recipes to reflect cuisine and ingredients authentic to the regions through which the cyclists will ride. This “flight of fancy” culinary journey following the route of the 2018 Tour de France showcases 11 yummy recipes, each presented with a matching Nederburg wine.
The Tour de France is known as the world’s most iconic road cycling race. Now in its 105th year, the 2018 race is made up of 21 stages and covers a gruelling distance of 3 351 kilometers. It runs from 7 to 29 July.
Auvergne-Rhȏne-Alpes region (16 and 17 July)…
A classic French bistro dish often served in the Alps is Tartiflette. There is no definite recipe for it although rural French villagers will argue otherwise; that theirs is the “proper” way. This is how the Bornandins in Le Grand-Bornand prepare it.
2 medium waxy potatoes, about 350 grams
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, sliced
175 grams rindless, smoked back bacon, cut into 1-cm strips
100 grams Reblochon cheese (the cheese that is traditionally used, but if you cannot find it, use a ripe Brie). Cut the cheese into 1½-cm cubes (including the rind)
100 ml double cream
25 grams fresh, white bread crumbs (easily prepared in a food processor)
Peel and thickly slice the potatoes into about 1½-cm slices. Boil them in salted water for 6 to 8 minutes until just tender, then drain and set aside. Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Fry the onion over medium heat for 5 minutes until it becomes transparent. Add the bacon to the pan and carry on frying for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally until the onion turns lightly golden.
With a slotted spoon, remove the onion and bacon from the pan to a bowl, leaving as much fat in the pan as possible.
Heat the grill to high. Add the potatoes to the pan and brown briefly in the fat. If your potatoes are on the floury side they may break up or stick a bit, but it is not a problem; just keep everything moving to avoid burnt bits. Return the onion and the bacon to the pan and lightly mix everything together. Nestle the cubes of cheese among the potatoes and bacon, then drizzle with the cream. Evenly scatter over the breadcrumbs. Protect the pan handle with foil if necessary, and grill for 5 minutes until lightly browned and just on the point of bubbling. Dish up with a wide spatula.
This is a filling dish that needs only a crisp green salad and fresh, crisp wine. Serve it with a glass of Chenin blanc from the Nederburg 56Hundred range.
While still in the Auvergne-Rhȏne-Alpes region (18, 19 and 20 July)…
Many people assume that French food is quite fiddly. And yes, there are certainly some recipes that require an enormous amount of time and attention to fine detail. But the vast majority of French cooking is actually quite simple – and very wine friendly. And hearty. And, with big flavours, like this onion soup that is enjoyed all over France, also in the Auvergne-Rhȏne-Alpes region.
Gratinée Lyonnaise (or Soupe à l’oignon Lyonnaise)
50 grams butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 kilogram onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 teaspoon sugar
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons plain flour
350 ml dry white wine
1¼ litre hot, strongly-flavoured beef stock
Sea-salt flakes and freshly-ground black pepper to taste – that is, if necessary
½ loaf French bread, cut into 2-cm slices
140 grams Comté, Gruyère, or Jarlsberg cheese, finely grated
Melt the butter with the oil in a Dutch oven or other large, heavy-based pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and fry with the lid on for 10 minutes until just soft. Lower the heat, sprinkle in the sugar, and cook uncovered for 20 minutes more until caramelised, rich and really tender. The onions should be golden, full of flavour, and soft when pinched between your fingers. Take care towards the end of the cooking that they do not burn. Add the garlic in the final few minutes of the onions’ cooking time, then sprinkle in the flour and stir well.
Increase the heat and keep stirring as you gradually add the wine, followed by the hot stock. Cover and simmer gently for 15 to 20 minutes. Taste to see if it needs a bit of salt and pepper as your beef stock would have been salty, which may be just enough.
To serve, turn on the grill and toast the bread on a baking sheet. Ladle the soup into heatproof bowls. Put a slice of toast on top of the bowls of soup, and pile on the cheese. Place the bowls on the baking sheet and grill until the cheese has melted. Serve immediately.
Note: If you do not have soup bowls that are ovenproof, simply sprinkle the cheese on the toast and melt under the grill on the baking tray. Place the toast with the melted cheese on top of the bowls of soup and serve straight away.
French onion soup is probably one of the most epic soups in the world. It needs a wine that is smooth and fruity, such as Nederburg’s 56Hundred Pinot Grigio.
Now we journey to Cité de Carcassonne (21, 22 and 23 July)…
The restored medieval citadel or fortress known as the French city of Carcassonne in the Languedoc region calls for a formidable dish such as Daube Languadocienne.
2¼ kilogram boneless beef chuck, excess fat trimmed, and cut into 2-cm cubes
1 bottle of Nederburg dry red wine (750 ml)
1 medium carrot, scraped, and cut in half
1 large onion, quartered
8 fresh thyme sprigs
1 long, fresh rosemary sprig, cut into 4 pieces
2 garlic cloves, halved
2 bay leaves
1 (one) 15×2-cm strip orange peel (orange part only)
5 strips smoked, streaky bacon, cubed
1 large onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
5 tablespoons all-purpose flour
Chopped, fresh parsley
Combine the first nine ingredients in a large bowl. Cover and let it stand at room temperature for 2 hours. Remove the beef cubes from the marinade, pat dry, and put aside. Reserve the marinade.
Cook the bacon in a large, heavy-based pot over medium-low heat until the fat is rendered, about 5 minutes. Add the chopped onion and chopped garlic. Sauté until the onion is translucent, about 6 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer to a large bowl.
Heat the oil in the same pot over high heat. Sprinkle the beef cubes with salt and pepper. Working in batches, add the beef cubes to the pot until they start to brown, about 5 minutes per batch. Transfer to the bowl with the bacon and onion mixture.
Reduce heat to medium high. Add the flour to the pot. Whisk until the flour browns, about 4 minutes. Gradually whisk in the reserved marinade. Bring to a boil, scraping up the brown bits at the bottom of the pot. Add the beef and onion mixture and any accumulated juices to the pot. Cover tightly and simmer until the meat is just tender, about 2 hours, stirring occasionally. Uncover. Simmer until meat is very tender and the liquid is reduced to sauce consistency, about 45 minutes longer. (The daube can be prepared up to this point a day ahead. Let it cool to room temperature, refrigerate, and reheat, stirring frequently, when ready to serve.)
Remove from the heat. Remove the carrots, quartered onion, herb sprigs, bay leaves, and orange peel, and discard. Spoon the fat off the top of the daube. Taste to see if it needs any salt and pepper. Reheat gently before transferring to a warmed serving dish. Sprinkle with the chopped parsley and serve with cooked noodles of your choice.
The word daube comes from daubière, a covered casserole. Almost every region of France has its own daube. This one from the Languedoc-Roussillon region is a savoury, country-style daube, an informal main course that would be brilliantly paired with Nederburg The Winemasters Shiraz.
On the way to, and while in Lourdes, travelling through the Pyrenees (24, 25, 26 and 27 July)…
The Pyrenees range of mountains forms a natural border between France and Spain, and is home to mouth-watering Pyrenean lamb! Prepare it with sherry and paprika and serve it with rosemary-roasted potatoes.
Pyrénées-style slow-cooked lamb with sherry and paprika
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
3 bay leaves (fresh, if possible)
1 tablespoon thyme leaves
3 red peppers, seeds removed, finely chopped
4 large tomatoes, about 800 grams, blanched, peeled, seeds removed, coarsely chopped
500 ml dry sherry (fino)
30 grams (¼ cup) sweet paprika
2 cups of hot water
1½ kilograms lamb shoulder, trimmed and cut into 3-cm cubes
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 150˚C.
Heat the olive oil in a large casserole over medium heat. Sauté the onion, garlic, bay leaves and half of the thyme leaves until the onion is soft (10 to 15 minutes). Reduce the heat to low medium, add the red pepper, cover with a lid, stir occasionally, and sauté until soft (10 minutes). Add the tomatoes and stir until the sauce thickens and start to catch on the bottom of the pan (25 to 30 minutes). Add the sherry and bring to the boil over medium heat (3 to 5 minutes). Add the paprika and the hot water and return to the boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook, skimming the scum from the surface (10 to 15 minutes).
Spread the lamb in a single layer in a roasting pan. Scatter with the remaining thyme leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spoon over the sauce, cover with aluminium foil, and roast until the meat almost falls apart (2 ½ to 3 hours). Serve the lamb with its sauce and rosemary-roasted potatoes (see below).
¾ kilogram medium red or white potatoes
5 tablespoons good olive oil
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
½ teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon minced garlic (3 cloves)
2 tablespoons finely-chopped rosemary leaves
Cut the potatoes in half or quarters and place in a bowl with the olive oil, salt, pepper, garlic and rosemary. Arrange the potatoes in a single layer on a baking sheet. Slow-roast it until crisp, on a lower rack while the lamb is cooking, or in a separate oven. Flip twice with a spatula during cooking to ensure even browning.
There is ultimately only one really compatible match with roast lamb that has been seasoned with rosemary and/or thyme, and that is Cabernet Sauvignon or blends comprising Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Nederburg’s The Winemasters Cabernet Sauvignon has the perfect weight for this dish.
Leaving Aquitaine in Espelette (28 July)…
This is Basque Country, so now would be the time to cook with the famous Espelette pepper from the region.
Calamari with potatoes and piment d’Espelette
250 grams potatoes, cut into small cubes
Salt to taste
200 grams pancetta or streaky bacon, cut into lardons
500 grams small, cleaned calamari, thinly sliced into rings
1 teaspoon piment d’Espelette (or use hot paprika if you cannot find the real thing)
¼ cup clam juice or fish stock
In a small saucepan, cover the diced potatoes with 3 centimetres of cold water and bring to the boil. Lightly salt the potatoes and cook them until just tender, about 8 minutes. Drain and put aside.
In a large skillet, cook the pancetta over moderately high heat, stirring occasionally until almost crisp, about 7 minutes. Add the potatoes and cook, stirring occasionally until lightly browned, about 5 minutes. Add the calamari and cook until it turns milky white, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the piment d’Espelette and clam juice and cook for 30 seconds longer. (Take care not to overcook!) Season with salt and serve immediately
Enjoy this dish with Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Young Airhawk Sauvignon Blanc (partially wooden). The piment d’Espelette used here is not too spicy but has enough kick for you to know that it is there. Generally, spices are not a problem for wines, whether in savoury or sweet dishes, as they (contrary to popular belief) do not alter the taste of wine.
Concluding the culinary journey in Paris, the capital of France (29 July)…
When Le Tour de France ends in Paris, there should most definitely be a celebration with the quintessential French dish, Coq au Vin (chicken in red wine with onions and bacon)!
Coq au vin
200 grams rindless bacon, cut into lardons
3 tablespoons butter
1¼ to 1½ kilograms cut-up chicken pieces, dried thoroughly
Salt and freshly-ground black pepper to taste
¼ cup warm brandy
3 cups dry red wine (any dry red will do, but Pinot Noir from the Nederburg 56 Hundred range would be perfect)
1 to 2 cups brown stock
½ tablespoon tomato paste (concentrate)
2 cloves mashed garlic
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
12 to 16 pearl onions (the baby ones used for pickling)
2 tablespoons butter
20 button mushrooms
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons softened butter
Sprigs of fresh parsley
In a heavy casserole, fry the bacon in the 3 tablespoons of butter until it is lightly browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside. Brown the chicken pieces in batches in the hot fat in the casserole. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Return the bacon and all the chicken pieces to the casserole. Cover and cook slowly, for 10 minutes, turning the chicken once. Uncover and pour in the warm brandy. Averting your face, ignite the brandy with a lighted match. Shake the casserole back and forth for several seconds until the flames subside.
Pour the wine into the casserole. Add just enough stock to cover the chicken. Stir in the tomato paste, garlic, and herbs. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook gently for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken is tender. Remove the chicken with a slotted spoon and set aside. Remove the casserole with the cooking liquid from the heat.
While the chicken is cooking, prepare the onions and mushrooms:
In a large frying pan, brown the small onions in the 2 tablespoons of butter with a dash of sugar. Add a little water, cover, and cook until the onions are almost tender. Set aside. (You can also roast them in a 200⸰C oven, shaking the pan often, till the onions are barely tender.)
Give the frying pan a quick rinse (or use another one if you own more than one large frying pan) and sauté the mushrooms in the 3 tablespoons of butter and 3 tablespoons of olive oil until browned. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside.
Back to the casserole in which the chicken was cooked:
Skim the fat off the chicken cooking liquid in the casserole, then bring to a boil over high heat and cook rapidly, reducing the liquid to about 2¼ cups. Correct the seasoning, remove from the heat, and discard the bay leaf.
Blend the 3 tablespoons of flour and the 2 tablespoons of butter together into a smooth paste (a beurre manié). Beat the paste into the hot liquid with a wire whip. Bring to a simmer, stirring, and cook for a minute or two. The sauce should be thick enough to coat a spoon lightly.
Arrange the chicken in the casserole and baste with the sauce. Place the onions and mushrooms around it, and serve straight from the casserole or on a hot platter. Decorate with sprigs of parsley – the old-fashioned way! In France, coq au vin is usually accompanied only by parsley potatoes, but if you wish, add a buttered green vegetable of your choice.
This dish calls for a Bordeaux-style blend such as Nederburg Heritage Heroes The Brew Master which features a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. This choice of wine falls right in with the old French saying: “You cook coq au vin in Burgundy but serve it with Bordeaux!” The reason? All the ingredients added create a weighty dish which demands an equally heavy wine. Pinot Noir from Burgundy is often not full-bodied enough for this stick-to-the-ribs dish.
Nederburg, established in 1791, is the exclusive premium wine partner of Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka, Africa’s pro-cycling team who will again be competing in this year’s Tour de France, for the fourth consecutive time.
They pedal to raise awareness and funds for Qhubeka, a non-profit organisation that uplifts communities via the distribution of custom-built bicycles through affiliate programmes. Qhubeka is an Nguni word that means “to progress”.
Show your backing for Team Dimension Data and Qhubeka during this year’s Tour de France by picking up a bottle of Nederburg from your local liquor outlet, and enjoying these with Katinka’s flavour-packed Tour de France recipes.
That’s not the end of the story. You can also help raise support for Qhubeka by participating in the “ForQhubeka” fundraising drive. The five unique fundraising categories, each offering a range of tools to support the chosen fundraising activity, are: Party ForQhubeka, Climb ForQhubeka, Movie ForQhubeka, Play ForQhubeka and Sweat ForQhubeka. To get involved and register your own personal ForQhubeka fundraising initiative, go to https://www.givengain.com/cc/forQhubeka/.
Team Dimension Data for Qhubeka’s 2018 Tour de France cyclists:
- Mark Cavendish
- Edvald Boasson Hagen
- Mark Renshaw
- Reinardt Janse van Rensburg
- Serge Pauwels
- Julien Vermote
- Tom-Jelte Slagter
- Jay Thomson