It’s well-known that Malbec is an excellent accompaniment to meat but restaurants at Argentine wineries also offer a range of vegetarian options. In this article, three renowned chefs share their favourite veggie recipes featuring Malbec.
‘At Tapiz I work with Malbec grown at 1000 metres above sea level from different parts of the Uco Valley. Because of the extreme variation in temperatures and the proximity to the Andes, these wines are intense in colour, aroma and structure. They’re made to last and age so in cooking they’re ideal for preserves.’
Blanche the peeled cloves from 2 heads of garlic in plenty of water with 2 bay leaves and pepper grains for 5 minutes. Make a reduction of 500cc of Malbec, 100ml sugar and 150ml water. Once the sugar has dissolved, add the garlic cloves and place over a low heat until a light but substantial syrup has formed. Keep in sterilized jars and serve to accompany vegetables and salads.
‘The Malbec from San Patricio del Chañar in Neuquén is generally quite fruity with a nose of red berries and plum. The colour and aroma make it very versatile. I use it for savoury and sweet dishes; sauces and reductions, sautéing meat, cooking vegetables but also desserts: creams, panna cotta, jams and with fruits like pears, which take on its colour.’
Cut off the tops of four mini-squashes and remove the flesh, which should be chopped and kept. Blanche the squashes for 45 seconds in boiling water. Remove from the water and place in iced water to stop them cooking. Remove and keep. Chop 3 onions julienne-style and 3 leeks in thin rings. Fry the onions, leeks and squash flesh in a pan with olive oil and butter. Season with salt, pepper and three teaspoons of sugar. Add 225ml of Malbec and reduce until the mixture caramelizes and takes on the colour of the wine.
Place the onion mixture in a bowl with 100g of chopped almonds, 200g of blue cheese and mix together.
Fry 15 whole button or Portobello mushrooms with olive oil. Remove from the pan and brown 3 sliced plums in the same oil. Keep. Fill the squashes with the cheese mixture and roast in an oven at 180°C until the filling is quite golden.
Serve with the mushrooms and plums.
‘What I most like about our Malbec is the sweet tannins one typically finds in Gualtallary, Mendoza. I often use it in cooking or to accompany red meats as a reduction. In this case, I’m making it the protagonist of the vegetarian risotto.’
Soak 100g of dried mushrooms (less if they’re pine mushrooms) in vegetable stock and keep. Brown brunoise-chopped mushrooms in a pan for 5 minutes. Add 200g of short grain rice and stir until it changes colour. Add a glass of Malbec and let the alcohol evaporate. Then cover the rice with 1 litre of vegetable stock, add a grated beetroot and the hydrated mushrooms and simmer slowly. Once the stock has been absorbed and the rice is cooked, add 50g of butter, grated parmesan cheese to taste and stir in a figure of eight until the rice is properly creamy.
Serve in a deep dish with the toasted almonds, blue cheese and fresh rocket.