Turkey and Cannellini beans with Terlato Pinot Grigio

turkey_cannellini1The other night I came home to the usual question of  “What are you fixing for dinner?” As I had not gone to the grocery store in quite some time, and had been pulling things out of the freezer and the pantry to see what I could make for almost a week, it was a question that I was having a very difficult time answering. Not wanting to get back in my car and driving back to the crowded supermarket, I began to scavenge in earnest.

A package of frozen turkey, a can of cannellini beans, and some formerly fresh spinach were about all I had left. This dish is the result of that scavenger hunt, that and I was inspired to go grocery shopping the next day. It also went fantastically with the wine we served that night, a 2008 Terlato Russian River Valley Pinot Grigio.

Double the amounts of the herbs if you are lucky enough to have fresh. I did not, so I used dried.

1 pound ground turkey
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz)
12-14 ounces once-upon-a-time fresh spinach, chiffonaded (is that a word?)
5-6 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon dried rosemary (chopped and mashed fine)
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
pinch of red pepper flakes
1 (15.5 ounce) can cannellini beans or other white beans
1 cup of white wine.
4 cups of chicken stock
Salt and fresh ground pepper

This one probably does not need much instruction, but here goes anyway:

Get a nice large, heavy-bottomed pan good and hot over medium heat. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil. If the pan is hot enough, the oil should shimmer almost immediately, if not wait until it does. Add the turkey and let it brown, Well, as brown as ground turkey gets. You can get more color by not stirring it very often, but be careful not to let it burn. Once the meat is cooked all of the way, remove and set aside. Add another tablespoon or two of olive oil and stir in the onions and a small pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to med-low and cook until translucent. Try not to get any color on the onions. Add the herbs, red pepper flakes and the garlic. Stir constantly until the garlic is very fragrant, but is not taking on any color. Deglaze the pan with the white wine. Scrape up any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the chicken stock, tomatoes and the cooked turkey, stir. Let the liquid reduce by about a third and then add the can of beans, liquid and all. Cook for about 5 more minutes, then add spinach and season with salt and pepper to taste.

turkey_cannellini2Serve in a bowl, drizzle a little good olive oil over the top and grate some fresh Parmesan over the top. A glass of wine and a slice of crusty bread will make this thrown together slop taste like something you’ve slaved over for hours. This should serve about 4 people.

As mentioned above, we had this with the 2008 Terlato Family Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Grigio. To me, one of the best things about Pinot Grigio is also one of the worst things about it…it is fairly nondescript. When I go out to eat and the restaurant doesn’t have much of a wine list, I start scanning for a Pinot Grigio. An awful lot of the time there is not all that much difference between some cheaper versions and the better ones.

Sure, there are differences. There are regional differences, and there are terrible ones and great ones, but a lot of the ones that fall between those extremes don’t have a lot of variations. They taste decent, go exceptionally well with food, and frankly, are kind of boring.

Boring is not a word that will come to mind when tasting the 2008 Terlato Pinot Grigio. Ok, the color is a little boring, but that is certainly not a big deal with a white wine. The light straw color does not hint at the fun you will find in your glass. It has aromas of lemon peel, orange blossoms, and light fresh melon. The flavors are bright and fresh with notes of grapefruit, lemon, mandarin oranges with hints of ripe melon and a little bit of spice.

This varietal is not known for its complexity, but this wine is complex. The flavors are rich, but it has a very balanced mouth feel due to the crisp acidity. Like most Pinot Grigios, this is a very food-friendly wine, but unlike a lot of Pinot Grigios, this is a wine that I would be happy to drink without food. At around $20 a bottle, this is also a pretty good bargain.

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