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St. Patty's Day Inspiration from Pairing with Mere

St. Patty's Day Inspiration from Pairing with Mere

Spring is the air which means holidays like St. Patrick’s Day, Easter, and Passover are near!

In wine country, the bright yellow mustard is in full bloom and we’ll probably be seeing bud burst soon. It’s an exciting time in wine country! (if you want to learn more about this check out my blog on Spring in Wine Country)

This month the Crush Collection has chosen wines that help bridge you from colder weather to warmer days, even if you live somewhere you may just be dreaming about warmer days (hi Cleveland friends;)).

This month we’ve got two pairing ideas to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day. First up is the Blank Wines White Blend with Irish Cheddar Cheese or any traditional St. Patty’s Day dish like corned beef and hash or Shepherd’s Pie.

You probably weren’t expecting us to pair a white with these dishes, were you? Here’s why we are…

In Season Three of our podcast we had the pleasure and honor of interviewing John Ash, the Father of Wine Country Cuisine. There are two ways to pair foods with wine, complementary or contrasting. In other words, you can pair food and wines with similar or opposing flavors and weight. In the case of a hearty meal like corned beef, a wine that is similar is something like a full-body Cabernet Sauvignon. The contrasting example is to go lighter and that’s what we’re doing by pairing it with the Blank Wines White Blend. This bright wine balances out these hearty, rich dishes.

But if you’re not feeling that combo and you prefer a lighter St. Patty’s Day meal, then we’ve created a more complimentary pairing with my “Slender-er Shepherd’s Pie” and the Crush Collection’s 2011 Front Porch Syrah. This takes the opposite approach, we choose this wine because this lower fat dish packed with lots of flavor craves a complex, yet lighter red to create a harmony of flavors on your palate.

Like many of my recipes, my goal is to provide an overall framework for the dish that you can add your own spin on. Most of my recipes are created by taking what I like from several recipes to create my own version of a dish and I encourage you to do the same.

Slender(er) Shepherd’s Pie



  • 5 large Russet Potatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp butter
  • ¼ Non-fat half and half
  • Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 egg white, slightly beaten
  • 1-2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small to medium sweet yellow onion
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, grated (if you like garlic use more and if not, use less)
  • 1lb lean ground turkey
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 tsp tomato sauce
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp rosemary (if you don’t have fresh, you can use dried just use a little less because dried herbs are usually stronger)
  • 2 tsp thyme (if you don’t have fresh, you can use dried just use a little less)
  • ½ cup frozen corn
  • ½ cup frozen peas

First, make the potatoes.

  1. It’s your choice whether to peel or not to peel the potatoes. I partially peel the potatoes because I like to leave some skin to give added nutrients and texture.
  2. Cut the potatoes into smaller pieces of equal size and place in a medium saucepan and cover with water. Bring to a boil over high heat and then reduce to simmer and continue to cook until a fork can pierce them easily. Drain the potatoes in a colander and return to the pan.
  3. Meanwhile, warm the half and half and butter in a small saucepan over low heat.
  4. Begin mashing the potatoes and then add the half and half and butter mixture, plus salt and pepper to taste. Continue to mash until smooth (or leave a little chunky if that’s how you like your potatoes).
  5. Stir in the egg white until combined.
  6. Set aside.

Preheat Oven to 400F.

  1. Add olive oil to a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. Once warm add onion and carrots to cook for about 4 minutes.
  2. Stir in garlic and let cook for about a minute.
  3. Add ground turkey and cook until browned and cooked through (I break it up while it’s cooking).
  4. Stir in salt and pepper while the turkey is cooking.
  5. Stir in flour and cook for about another minute (this will help to thicken it)
  6. Add tomato sauce, broth, Worcestershire sauce and herbs. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer slowly for about 11 minutes until slightly thick.
  7. Stir in corn and peas.
  8. Transfer mixture to a round or oval oven proof glass baking dish (Use about a 10-11 inch dish. You just want it to fit in the dish with room to add the potatoes on top.)
  9. Top with mash potatoes and spread to edges of pan so that the turkey mixture is covered.
  10. Bake for 25 minutes or until potatoes begin to brown (to prevent spilling in the oven, it is helpful to put the pan on a parchment or foil lined baking sheet)
  11. Let cool for about 15 minutes before serving.
  12. Serve with Irish Brown Bread and Front Porch Syrah!


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