Zinfandel is a wonderful red wine for the springtime.
It possesses lots of luscious fruit flavor, with just enough spice to really dazzle the palate and invite another sip.
While we tend to think of barbecued fare as the perfect pairing partner for the variety, it would be a sin to restrict Zin to BBQ.
Especially on a cooler spring evening, the dish that follows makes a great first course and a wonderful companion to Zinfandel. This recipe makes about 10 servings of just over a cup, which means you’ll need to open two or three bottles to accommodate everyone.
BARLEY SOUP WITH SAUSAGE
* 5 slices bacon
* ½ pound sliced mushrooms
* 1 teaspoon minced garlic
* 1 red onion, chopped
* ½ teaspoon dried thyme leaves
* 8 cups beef broth
* 1 cup chopped carrots
* 2 cups sweet potatoes, chopped, peeled and cut into small cubes
* 1 cup medium pearl barley
* 2 links cooked andouille sausage, diced
* 1 link cooked Italian sausage, diced
1. In a large pot, cook bacon until crisp. Crumble and set aside on paper towels.
2. In same pot, now coated with nonstick cooking spray, sauté mushrooms, garlic and onion until tender (about 7 minutes).
3. Add thyme, broth, carrots, sweet potatoes and barley and bring to a boil.
4. Reduce heat, cover and cook until barley and vegetables are tender (about 25 minutes).
5. Add andouille and Italian sausage slices and warm through.
6. When ready to serve, sprinkle with crumbled bacon.