10 Foods Made to Pair with Cabernet Sauvignon
Cabernet Sauvignon is a food-world favorite, and it’s easy to see why.
“Its ripe black and red fruits, tannic structure and herbaceous notes tend to brighten up already hearty and rich dishes,” says John Mitchell, sommelier of The Grill Room in New Orleans.
If you’re seeking dishes to pair with your favorite King Cab, these 10 tasty ideas are easy enough to make, and they match the full range of this rich red.
Port Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs
Why it works: “The marinade includes bay leaf and thyme, two savory notes you can pick up in some Cabernets,” says Summer Haines, Nine-Ten’s director of food and beverage. “Plus, the rich and delicate meat calls for a wine with structure and tannin, but not astringency.”
Recipe courtesy Jason Knibb, chef, Nine-Ten Restaurant and Bar, San Diego
3½–4 pounds boneless beef short ribs
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced carrots
½ cup diced celery
2 cloves garlic, diced
½ bunch thyme
1 bay leaf
1 bottle red wine
2 cups ruby Port
4 cups veal or chicken stock
Trim short ribs of excess fat, then season with salt and pepper. In large sauté pan over medium-high heat, sear short ribs until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Remove ribs from pan and place in crockpot or ovenproof pot. In same sauté pan over medium heat, place onion, carrots, celery and garlic. Sauté until golden brown. Add wine, and reduce by half. Add thyme and bay leaf to wine mixture. Pour over ribs, and marinate at least 2–3 hours, or overnight.
Preheat oven to 325°F. Warm veal stock or chicken stock and pour over ribs. Cover ovenproof pot with foil or lid. Cook for 3–4 hours, or until fork tender, checking every 45 minutes.
Remove from oven and let cool. Remove and reserve short ribs. Strain cooking liquid into same pot. Return liquid to stove and skim fat from top. Simmer over medium heat. Reduce to thick, saucy consistency. Return ribs to pot, glaze and serve. Serves 6.
Why it works: “The heartiness and structure of most Cabernet Sauvignons support these hearty meatballs, while deep fruit and notes of cassis uplift the dish,” says Jonathon Sawyer, chef at Trentina in Cleveland.
Recipe courtesy Jonathon Sawyer, chef, Trentina, Cleveland
1 Vidalia onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and diced
2 cups, plus 2 tablespoons, cold-pressed, extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 cups diced bread or breadcrumbs
2 large organic eggs
¼ cup ricotta cheese
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons sliced Italian herbs (like parsley, oregano and basil)
1 pound ground pork
Pinch of salt
Pinch of pepper
Dusting of organic all-purpose flour, as needed
2 cups favorite tomato sauce
In small saucepan over low heat, sauté onion, garlic and red pepper in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Cook slowly, covered, stirring occasionally.
In a large bowl, soak breadcrumbs in enough water to cover for 1 minute. Strain out excess liquid.
In a separate large bowl, beat eggs, then add ricotta, Parmesan, sautéed onion mixture and herbs. Mix thoroughly. Add meat and soaked breadcrumbs. Wearing gloves, mix meat and breadcrumbs with hands. Season with salt and pepper.
Shape mixture into balls slightly larger than golf ball. Refrigerate meatballs until chilled to ensure more even searing.
In large sauté pan over medium-high heat, heat remaining 2 cups olive oil. Preheat oven to 350°F. Dust meatballs lightly with flour. Spread tomato sauce in baking dish.
Working in batches, brown meatballs on all sides in olive oil. Once browned, transfer meatballs to baking dish. After sautéing all meatballs, discard olive oil, reserving any pan drippings or browned meat remaining in pan and add to baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes, until cooked through. Serves 4.
Roasted Duck Breast with Pecan Purée
Why it works: “Cabernet is a perfect pairing wine for duck,” says John Mitchell, sommelier at The Grill Room. “The black fruits present in Cabernet will help strengthen the presence of the jus against the nutty, astringent backdrop of pecan purée. Cabernet tannins will further break down the already tenderized duck breast, releasing a more pronounced flavor.”
Recipe courtesy Daniel Causgrove, chef, The Grill Room, New Orleans
For the pecan purée:
4 ounces unsalted butter
2 pounds pecans
8 ounces brown sugar
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon hot sauce
32 ounces duck or chicken stock, divided
Pinch of salt
For the duck breasts:
2 cups orange juice
2 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon coriander
1 teaspoon allspice
1 cinnamon stick
4 duck breasts, 5–8 ounces each
1 tablespoon cooking oil
1½ teaspoons salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
Place heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and heat until frothing subsides and solids turn light brown. Add pecans, and stir to coat. Add brown sugar and cayenne pepper. Stir to combine. Mixture should begin to stick to pecans. If needed, add a bit more brown sugar to tighten mixture. Deglaze with hot sauce. Add 8 cups of duck stock, and bring to boil over high heat. Reduce to simmer. Cook until pecans are soft and fully cooked, about 30 minutes. Transfer mixture to blender and purée until smooth. Pass though a fine mesh sieve. Season with a pinch of salt. Set aside.
For spiced jus, combine orange juice, cardamom, cloves, coriander, allspice and cinnamon in saucepan. Reduce over medium heat until orange juice is darkened and syrupy. Add remaining duck stock. Reduce until about a cup of liquid remains and sauce is slightly thickened. Reserve.
Place sauté pan over high heat. Add 1 tablespoon cooking oil. Season duck breasts with salt and pepper. Place breasts in pan, skin-side down. then reduce heat to low. Slowly render fat from skin, occasionally draining from pan. When skin is fully rendered, turn breasts over. Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the pan and baste until duck is cooked medium-rare, about 2 minutes. Rest duck for 2–3 minutes. Reheat pecan purée, and divide among 4 plates. Slice breasts thinly and place atop purée. Spoon jus over breasts and serve. Serves 4.
Cabernet-Braised Venison Cheeks
Why it works: “These braised venison cheeks beg for a wine with a good tannic structure, and a Cabernet Sauvignon will prepare your palate for the next bite,” says Ivo Couto, Triomphe’s food and beverage manager and wine director.
Recipe courtesy Florian Wehrli, executive chef, Triomphe, New York City
25 venison cheeks, trimmed
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
¼ cup all purpose flour
1½ tablespoons canola oil
1 onion, diced
½ carrot, diced
1 celery rib, diced
2 garlic cloves
2 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
5 black peppercorns
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon
2 cups good veal stock
1 tablespoon butter
Preheat oven to 325°F. Season venison with salt and pepper, and dredge in flour. Heat oil in a Dutch oven or frying pan over medium-high heat. Sear venison in batches until nicely browned. Remove from pan.
In same pan, reduce heat to medium. Add onion, carrot and celery. Sweat vegetables for 5 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns. Add wine and reduce for several minutes. Add veal stock, and bring to boil. Remove pan from heat. Return venison to pan.
Cover and bake for 1 hour (or place in slow cooker for 3 hours on high heat). Venison cheeks are done when fork tender. Carefully remove venison from pan. Strain solids and return liquid to pan. Vegetables used to braise meat can be served on side, if desired, removing thyme sprigs, bay leaf and peppercorns. Over medium heat, reduce sauce to about ⅔ cup. Stir in butter, but don’t boil once added. Plate venison with sauce poured atop. Serves 5.
Beef Tagliata, Arugula and Trevisana Salad
Why it works: “I like the pairing of a bold Cabernet with roast meat and the intense flavor of trevisana and arugula, along with the sharp flavor of Parmesan cheese,” says Schenardi.
Recipe courtesy Fabrizio Schenardi, executive chef, Four Seasons Resort Orlando, Orlando, Florida
¼ cup balsamic vinegar, plus extra to drizzle
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
1½ pounds beef tenderloin
1 tablespoon sea salt
2 tablespoons coarsely ground black pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
2 cups baby arugula
2 cups sliced trevisana
1 lemon, halved
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese shavings
Preheat oven to 350°F. Whisk vinegar, olive oil, rosemary and thyme in small bowl to make marinade. Place beef on platter. Spoon marinade over meat, turning to coat completely. Let stand 2 hours. Sprinkle meat all over with salt and pepper. Heat canola oil in heavy, large ovenproof skillet over high heat. Add beef and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Transfer skillet to oven. Cook beef to desired doneness, about 30 minutes for rare. Transfer beef to platter. Let rest 10 minutes.
In a small bowl, toss arugula and trevisana. Slice beef thinly and divide among 4 plates. Drizzle any juices from platter over beef. Sprinkle with salt. Top with arugula and trevisana. Squeeze lemon over, then drizzle with olive oil and vinegar. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Top with cheese and serve. Serves 4.
Why it works: “I like the paring of a bold Cabernet with roast meat and the intense flavor of trevisana and arugula, along with the sharp flavor of Parmesan cheese,” says Schenardi.
Jack’s Braised Red Cabbage
Why it works: “The earthy flavors and bold presence of most Cabernets stand up to the texture and intensity of the braised red cabbage,” says Taylor.
Recipe courtesy Caleb Taylor, chef, Jack Dusty, The Ritz-Carlton, Sarasota, Florida
2 heads red cabbage, sliced
8 ounces red wine vinegar
2 ounces sugar
Pinch of salt, plus additional to taste
Pinch of pepper, plus additional to taste
1 Idaho potato, peeled
2 liters Cabernet Sauvignon
2 liters ruby Port
Toss cabbage in vinegar, sugar, salt and pepper. Cover and place in refrigerator, and let marinate overnight. Place cabbage in cooking pot, and cover with Port and Cabernet. Cook cabbage over medium-high until almost dry.
Boil pot of salted water. Cook potato for 10–12 minutes, or until tender. Remove from pot. Cool to room temperature. Shred potato and add to cabbage mixture. Adjust seasoning with salt and pepper, if desired. Serves 4–6.
Asian BBQ Lamb Ribs
Why it works: “For this unique twist on traditional lamb that uses a spicy-sweet sauce on the ribs, a not-too-oaky Cabernet Sauvignon perfectly balances the flavor profile and brings out the subtle spice of the dish,” says Matias Vergara, sommelier at Meat Market in Miami Beach.
Recipe courtesy Sean Brasel, executive chef, Meat Market, multiple locations, Miami
¾ cup kosher salt
¼ cup smoked paprika
¼ cup crushed red pepper flakes
½ cup Herbs De Provence
½ cup El Toro Chili Powder
½ cup granulated garlic
¼ cup ground chili mix (ancho, chipotle)
6 pounds lamb ribs
For the lamb rib sauce:
16 ounces hoisin sauce
½ cup rice wine vinegar
¼ cup mirin
⅓ cup sweet chili sauce
1 ounce sriracha
Chopped peanuts, for garnish
Combine salt, paprika, pepper flakes, herbs, chili powder, garlic and chili in a small bowl. Mix until well combined. Coat lamb ribs with seasoning. Place in pan, and refrigerate 4–6 hours. Preheat oven to 275°F. Remove ribs from refrigerator. Add a little water to the pan, and cover with foil. Cook for 3–4 hours, depending on thickness of ribs. Remove ribs from pan and place on sheet tray. Once ribs are cool (but not cold), section into individual chops.
Place hoisin, vinegar, mirin, chili sauce and sriracha into a blender, and mix well. To finish: Toss ribs in sauce and plate. Garnished with chopped peanuts, if desired. Serves 6.
Beef Tenderloin with Blackberry Dressing
Why it works: “The classic flavors of blackberry, cassis and oak in Cabernet make this wine inviting and easy to enjoy, since the dish itself is a combination of similar flavors,” says sommelier Marija Mijic.
Recipe courtesy Erwin Mallet, executive chef, Villa Azur, Miami
8 green asparagus stalks
8 baby carrots
4 fingerling potatoes
1 10 ounce box blackberries
8 ounces butter, divided
2 shallots, diced, plus 6 more, cut in half
4 beef tenderloins, 8 ounces each
1 tablespoon sugar
2 ounces vegetable stock
4 sprigs thyme, for garnish
4 sprigs rosemary, for garnish
Clean asparagus, carrots and potatoes. Peel carrots and potatoes. In pot over medium heat, cook blackberries with butter and the diced shallots. Simmer for 5 minutes, until soft. Remove pot from heat. Once cool, place mixture into blender and purée. Once blended, strain through a sieve and set aside.
Bring medium-sized pot of salted water to boil. Cook asparagus, carrots and potatoes for 4–5 minutes. Transfer to bowl of cold water filled with ice to halt cooking. Drain the vegetables and reserve.
In pot over medium-high heat, sear remaining shallot halves with 2 ounces of butter and sugar. When caramelized, add vegetable stock and set aside.
Heat remaining butter in pan, and sear beef tenderloin. For medium-rare, cook 4 minutes per side. Remove from pan. Add vegetables to same pan, searing for approximately 1 minute.
Dress each plate with blackberry coulis and vegetables, placing beef on top. Garnish with thyme and rosemary. Serves 4.
Grilled Steak with Salsa Verde
Why it works: “A classic style of Cabernet Sauvignon showcases deep, dark cherry fruit with chewy tannins, followed by coffee and chocolate on the finish,” says Regan Jasper, brand sommelier for True Food Kitchen. “It acts as a frame, melding with the earthy, gamey tones of the beef, while the salsa verde freshens up the pairing.”
Recipe courtesy Arik Markus, brand chef, True Food Kitchen, multiple locations
¼ cup chopped flat leaf parsley
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
2 tablespoons chopped fennel fronds
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 teaspoons capers, rinsed and chopped
½ teaspoon anchovy paste
2 cloves garlic, minced
Pinch of chili flakes
½ teaspoon good quality sea salt, plus extra
¾ cup extra virgin olive oil, plus 2 tablespoons
1½ pounds grass-fed beef flap meat, trimmed and cut into four portions
Fresh black pepper
Combine parsley, cilantro, fennel, vinegar, capers, anchovy paste, garlic, chili flakes, salt and ¾ cup of oil in a mixing bowl. Stir well to combine. Salsa can be made one day ahead. Refrigerate in a covered container.
Season steak with salt and pepper. Gently toss with remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil, coating evenly. Sear on hot grill for 3 minutes. Turn over and cook 1–2 minutes. Using instant-read thermometer, cook to internal temperature of 110°F, about medium-rare. Transfer to serving platter. Drizzle with salsa verde. Serves 4.
Really Good Brisket
Why it works: “Thanks to its iron-like minerality and firm tannins, Cabernet is a natural partner for beef,” says Sam Ehrlich, Blue Ribbon’s wine director. “Even with a rich, slow-cooked piece of brisket the tannins still cut through the fat.”
Recipe courtesy Eric and Bruce Bromberg, chefs, Blue Ribbon Bakery Kitchen, New York City
3½ pounds brisket
Pinch of kosher salt
Pinch of black pepper
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 pounds small yellow onions, peeled and halved through the root
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup veal or chicken stock
1½ tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon freshly ground black pepper
1 celery stalk, diced
1 tomato, diced
4 garlic cloves
Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle brisket with salt and pepper. Let stand 15 minutes. Melt butter in Dutch oven over medium heat. Arrange onions in Dutch oven, cut-side down. Cook over medium heat about 7 minutes, until well browned on bottom. Pour wine and broth over onions, covering them by 1 inch. Add thyme and pepper. Bring liquid to simmer. Place brisket, fatty-side up, atop onions. Sprinkle celery, tomato and garlic over brisket. Cover and cook in the oven about 3½ hours, turning once, until very tender. Transfer brisket to serving platter. Boil braising liquid over high heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes. Purée liquid and vegetables in food processor. Strain through a fine mesh sieve. Serve sauce alongside the brisket. Serves 6–8.