Pam Walden
March 15, 2021 | Pam Walden

Lentil and Sausage Soup recipe from Balanza Vineyard

Chaly and I love lentils.  We have enjoyed this recipe with the simplest and most accessible Oregon Pinots and also some of the most coveted Oregon Pinots.  While we are Dundee Hills people, the earthiness of lentils lends itself really well to some of the wines from our Yamhill Carlton or Ribbon Ridge natives.   During quarantine, we could not find lentils at the store for 2-3 weeks and I got so nervous that I found a Washington state grower that sold online via amazon and bought a bulk amount of Lentils.  We just finished them off a week ago. 

Balanza Family Lentil Soup
2 cups Lentils
5 cups chicken stock (we like better than bouillon low salt with water)
Linguica Sausage (11 oz package)
1 green pepper
2 medium carrots
1 medium yellow onion
2 stalks of celery
2 roma tomatoes
2 large cloves of garlic
2 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika (we use Bolivian Ahi but when we don’t have it smoked paprika is nice)
1 tsp cayenne pepper
3/4 tsp tunmeric
1/2 tsp ground coriander
2 bay leaves
pinch of nutmeg
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Dice all vegetables (including the tomatoes)
Slice the sausage links 
In a large stock pot, sauté the green pepper, carrots, onion, celery, garlic in a little bit of olive oil until the onions are soft but not brown.
Add diced tomatoes, broth, spices, and lentils.
Bring everything to a nice simmer
Add the sliced sausage and simmer for 45 minutes to 1 hour
Salt and pepper to taste
Stir in some chopped parsley (1/4 cup)
Garnish with parsley 
Serve with crusty bread
Note: if you prefer lentils as a side dish rather than a soup, don’t add as much  broth. 

Pam Walden
November 17, 2020 | Pam Walden

Easy slowcooker recipe from Harvest 2020: Chicken with Lemon & Ginger

Food is important during harvest. When you're working 12+ hours a day, seven days a week for several weeks, good food is something that helps you keep going physically and it's something to look forward to during the work day. However, sometimes it's hard to know exactly when you'll be able to break to eat, so I prepared our crew meals in my crockpot. This recipe was one of my favorite harvest meals (and the crew seemed to like it too). The preparation is quick and it's super healthy. Recipe courtesy of the Paleo Slow Cooker.

1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp ground turmeric (I use 1 tbsp chopped fresh turmeric if it's available)
3lbs skinless chicken parts (I use boneless chicken thighs)
3 tbsp ghee
1 onion, thinly sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 cup grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 strands saffron
zest & juice of 1 lemon
1/2 cup chicken stock
2 tomatoes, coaresly chopped

salt & pepper just before serving


Mix cinnamon, cumin & turmeric in a bowl and toss the chicken to coat. In a heavy bottom-ed pan over medium heat, melt 1 tablespoon of ghee and saute the onion and garlic until onion is transulcent, about 5 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker. Melt the remaining ghee in the padd and add the chicken. Brown on both sides in batches for about 5 minutes a batch. Transfer the chicken and remaining ghee to the slow cooker. Combine the rest of the ingredients in a bowl (I just throw them in to the slow cooker), then transfer to the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours (or until the crew is ready to eat it :) Salt and pepper to taste, then serve. (I add the salt and pepper with the other ingredients as I know I'll forget to do it when it's time to eat and I'm trying to manage incoming grapes. I think about a half tsp of freshly ground black pepper and a tsp of good salt is about right for my taste.)

Pam Walden
March 20, 2020 | Pam Walden

Easy beef stew with a little help from Julia Child....

I love Julia’s boeuf bourgignon recipe but these days, as a single parent with two teenagers in the house, it just isn’t realistic for me to follow it to the letter. This recipe keeps the essence of it but is a lot quicker to put together.  This pairs wonderfully with the newly released 2018 Willful Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot.

2 large onions, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
1 small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
6 rashers of bacon cut in to half inch pieces (trim as much of the fat off as you can)
6 celery stalks, cut in to thin slices
3 carrots, peeled and cut in to thin slices
2.5lbs chunks of beef stew meat
3 tablespoons of plain flour
half a small can of tomato paste
about one bottle of red wine (If you have some wine that’s been lying around the kitchen that you probably should have drunk about a week ago or more, then it will be perfect for this. You can use that wine for the stew and open up something nice without feeling guilty about it.)
2 cups of beef stock
4 dried bay leaves
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
Chopped fresh parsley for garnish
A dutch oven or casserole pot that you can use on the stove top and then put in the oven.


Saute the onion in the olive oil over a low heat until it softens and starts to turn a golden color. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for another minute or two stirring occasionally. Add the bacon and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the celery and carrots and cook for another 3-4 minutes stirring occasionally. Turn the heat up to medium and add the beef and cook for 6-8 minutes. Stir it as occasionally to stop it from sticking to the pan and cook until the meat is browned on all sides. Sprinkly the flour over the meat, stir thoroughly and cook for 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat and add the tomato paste, bay leaves, red wine and beef stock and transfer the pot to the oven. Cook at 350F for three to three and a half hours. This is a great Sunday dish as you can throw it together and then go on a hike or something and when you come back you have a lovely dinner ready.

Sprinkle with fresh chopped parsley to garnish and serve with mashed potatoes.

Pair with 2018 Willful Seven Hills Vineyard Cabernet-Merlot.

Pam Walden
March 17, 2020 | Pam Walden

Comfort food and Pinot Noir for self isolation

My boys are off of school for the next "who-knows-how-long" and we're self-isolating for the next week. Today we cooked Chicken and Dumplings. We made an extra large batch and canned some of it for our friends and relatives who are older and have compromised immune systems. It's super easy to make and goes great with the 2018 Jezebel pinot noir, which is really affordable, just $18/bottle or $14.40 if you join the wine club. Any new wine club members get free shipping for their first shipment too! Here's the recipe. It will feed 6-8 people. 

For the stew:
2 large onions, peeled and cut in to half inch chunks
6 celery stalks, cut in to half inch chunks
6 carrots, peeled and cut in to half inch chunks (I split them down the middle and then cut them along the length in hald inch pieces)
2.5lbs boneless, skinless chicken thighs (ideally, or any kind of chicken if the store is sold out of thighs), cut in to 1-2 inch pieces
2 tablespoons of thyme leaves
1 small sprig of rosemary, finely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
2 quarts of chicken stock
2 tablespoons of olive oil
salt and pepper
A dutch oven or other large stew pot
For the dumplings:
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
Saute the onion in the olive oil over a low heat until it softens and starts to turn a golden color. Add the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for another minute or two. Add the celery and cook for another couple of minutes. Turn the heat up to medium and add the chicken and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring occasionally to seal the chicken pieces on all sides. Add the carrots and the chicken stock and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the vegetables have softened. While the stew is cooking you can prepare the dumpling mixture.
Sift the flour, salt, pepper and baking powder into a large bowl. Beat the eggs in another bowl and add the milk, oil and parsley. Combine the liquid and dry ingredients. 
When the stew is cooked, keeping the heat on medium, drop the dumpling mixture in to the hot stew broth with a teaspoon. Simmer without a cover for 15 minutes. Seasons to taste with salt and pepper and serve hot with some chopped fresh parsley sprinkled on the top.