Winter dishes – Israeli wines

January 15, 2015 by Talia Zimmerman
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Once upon a time, in a land far far away, top winemakers shared delicious recipes for the people of the land.  

An elegant wine is suggested for each recipe, adding a touch of magic to the dish. A glass of wine with a delicious supper by a toasty fireplace becomes an enchanting evening.

The head winemaker of the Golan Heights Winery, Victor Schoenfeld gathers his family and friends to prepare a secret “cholent” stew recipe.   As he cooks this dish, he inhales the mystical scent it brings forth. While cooking, his children question Schoenfeld on the origins of the “cholent”.  An old-fashioned Jewish recipe, cholent stew has been for years a cozy and warm dish to serve. To personalize his cholent stew, Schoenfeld fuses with it a classic French Cassoulet (see Schoenfeld secret’s recipe below).  Schoenfeld specifically chose this dish as it pairs well with one of his favorite bottles of wine, the chic Yarden Pinot Noir.  He highly recommends this wine with such a dish for the wine’s aromatic cherry, red currant and ripe pomegranate fruit characters layered with attractive floral and spice notes. On his personal recommendation of wines, Victor says “If you like your wines more complex and full-bodied with notes of smoke, earth and exotic spices, I would attempt the Yarden Syrah”. Victor’s style of wine selecting parallels his daring lifestyle, suggesting an interesting challenge for the real white wine lovers and the people who dare to think “outside the box” by trying his cholent with the rich Yarden Chardonnay, which contrasts the heavy dish.

Micha Vaadia

Micha Vaadia

In close proximity, Micha Vaadia serves as chief winemaker at Galil Mountain Winery.  With prior voyages to the vineyards of California, New Zealand, and Argentina, Vaadia has become one of the top winemakers in the land.  For a pleasant weekend evening, Vaadia puts together his classic lamb roast with rosemary, coriander seeds and za’atar.   The energy consumed from the scrumptious roast surely adds a bundle of warmth. Vaadia feasts on his roast with a bottle of Galil Meron, a deep complex blend of Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Petit Verdot.  The dreamy Galil Meron pleasantly combines characters of wild berry and blueberry, with hints of nutmeg and chocolate.  A rich and bold wine, the Galil Meron is a true fairy tale touch for this supper.

For winemaker Dr. Shivi Drori, discovering the ancient grapes of the land in order to produce a wine identical to the wine consumed during ancient times is his current conquest.  In between this quest and his winemaking vineyard practices, Drori relishes a quiet supper with his big happy family.   His classic baked chicken with silan (date honey), cranberry and mint brings coziness to his home of six children. To elevate the sophistication of his dinner, Drori’s family enjoys a bottle of Gvaot Herodion red wine – a striking blend of Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot. Drori particularly enjoys the long-lasting after taste of its elegant black and red fruit aromas, combined with spices and scents.  A true artist in the wine industry, Drori chooses only the finest wines with his meals, adding “we want wine that’s good because of its quality and its story”.

These exceptional winemakers transform their conventional meals into elegant evenings by simply adding the right wines.  For a cozy night, try one of their magical recipes below:

Victor’s Cholent Stew:

Victor Schoenfeld's cholent

Victor Schoenfeld’s cholent


·        4.4 lbs osso bucco cut into 0.7 inches thick slices (by the butcher)

·        2 smoked one half goose breasts/duck (about 600 g), cut crosswise into 0.4 inches slices

·        2.2 lbs sausage (I use beef/lamb/pistachio sausage, locally produced), cut into 4 inches lengths

·        1.1 lbs large dry white beans, soaked for about 12 hours in water

·        1 whole head of garlic, separated into whole peeled cloves

·        3.3 lbs new red potatoes, washed

·        Eggs (as many as you can fit in, try one per person)

·        4 onions, chopped

·        2 shallots, thinly sliced

·        1 cup pickled pearl onions, whole, drained

·        3.5 ounces pearl barley

·        ¼ cup decent red wine for deglazing

·        Beef stock

·        Salt to taste

·        Pepper to taste

·        Smoked Paprika to taste


1.      Brown the slices of goose in a large, heavy bottomed skillet (you can do this directly in the Dutch oven, but I find it easier this way).  You need no oil, as the goose fat quickly renders itself. Set aside.

2.      Brown the osso bucco in the goose fat. Set aside.

3.      Brown the sausage in the same pan, set aside.

4.      Add the onions and shallots and sauté in the remaining fat, until lightly browned.  Add a bit of olive oil if necessary. Set aside.

5.      Deglaze the pan with the red wine, then transfer liquid to Dutch oven.

6.      Make a thin layer at the bottom of the Dutch oven with a third of the beans and onion and barley, with a sprinkling of the spices.

7.      Add a layer of half of the osso buco, sausage, eggs and potatoes.

8.      Add another layer of the beans, etc.

9.      Add another layer of the meat, etc.

10.   Finish with the remaining beans, etc.  Depending on the size of the osso bucco slices, eggs and potatoes, it could be a challenge to fit everything in.  Have an additional casserole on hand for the overflow, if any.

11.   Fill with liquid until there’s about 2.5 cm (1 in) of liquid covering the ingredients.  If you have enough beef stock, use that.  If the beef stock is concentrated, use to taste and then use water to come to desired level.  If you do not have stock, use water.

12.   Bring to a boil and remove scum.

13.   Cover with lid.  If the lid does not fit tightly, there is a danger of the cholent drying out and burning overnight.  You can add a doubled strip of aluminum foil between the dutch oven and lid to help seal.

14.   Put overnight on 230 degrees Fahrenheit.

15.   Serve the guests, and hear “oohs” and “ahhs”.

Micha’s Lamb Roast:


1 whole leg of lamb
8 clothes of garlic
Juice of one big lemon
Zest of one lemon
5 tbl spoons of Galilee olive oil
3 tbl spoons of mustard
1 tbl spoon of whole grain mustard
2 tbl spoons of chopped Galilee fresh sage
2 tbl spoons of chopped Galilee fresh za’atar (or fresh oregano)
2 tbl spoons of chopped fresh rosemary
2 tbl spoons of chopped fresh parsley
1 tbl spoon of crushed dried paprika
1 tea-spoon of honey
1 tea-spoon of crushed coriander seeds
Atlantic sea salt and fresh ground pepper

Cut each garlic clothe to four long pieces ,make small pockets all around the meat with a sharp small knife and insert the garlic deep in to the meat.
Mix the rest of the ingredients except the zest to a paste and massage the paste around the meat till it covers all the meat.
Sprinkle salt and pepper and leave to rest at least four hours.
Roast in a pre-heated oven at 428 f for 25 minutes, take down the heat to 300 f and roast for an hour, take the leg out of the oven sprinkle the lemon zest.
Let the leg rest for 15 minutes at room temperature and then slice very thin slices.


Shivi Drori's baked chicken

Shivi Drori’s baked chicken

Shivi’s Baked Chicken:

Medium whole clean chicken

Silan (Date honey)
20 Mint leaves
¼ cup olive oil
1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce

1 cup cooked rice
¼ Cup dried cranberries
1 tablespoon of Soy Sauce
1 Spoon of Date Honey
20 Mint leaves
2 tablespoons almond slices
¼ cup hazelnuts (or pecans)

Mix the ingredients in a bowl (other than then coarse salt).
Place the chicken in a deep dish suitable for his size so it will be placed in it without unnecessary margin.
Spread the chicken well and place it on the tray that will be placed chest down.  Pour the rest of the job template and sprinkle with salt to taste top.
Mix the well filling ingredients in a bowl and cover the chicken in a compressed.  Preheat the oven to 390 degrees Fahrenheit; roast the chicken covered for about an hour.
After a nice browning of the top, remove the chicken from the sauce tray and cutting out a suitable sauce bowl.
Separate the chicken filling and place in a serving bowl.
Slice the chicken parts at the table and serve with the sauce.

Yarden available in:

Melbourne: Trilia Foods 9701 1666

Sydney from Goulburn Wines and Spirits 9264 8459

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