I don’t skip a beat when asked “What should I drink with Indian Food?” My answer to the question, has always been “Off-Dry Riesling”. After attending an online class presented by the Golden Wines of Bordeaux – I have an awesome alternative pairing which makes both the spicy Indian food and the yummy wine sing.

Super fun to learn more about these wines from Rockstar sommelier Yannick Benjamin. I’ve often thought that sweet wine from Bordeaux is delicious, but I relegated it to the dessert category. After tasting the wines and talking about them, sharing them over a couple of days with fellow wine lovers, I spent some time tinkering with one of my favorite “Indian Inspired” recipes, packed with the flavors of garam masala, coconut milk, red lentils and squash. I decided the soup needed to be upscaled, and that shrimp would the perfect way to do it. Voila! An easy to make, easy to love soup. Bonus – not only does it taste great, it looks colorful and impressive.

During the presentation. we tasted Chateau La Hargue, Chateau Dauphine-Rondillon Cuvée d’OR and Château La Rame, wines from three of eight French appellations, (regions or areas), famous for their sweet Bordeaux. Since all eight make up only 1% of the volume of Bordeaux wine, it’s not surprising I was not as familiar with them, but happy that I am now.

Like me, you’ve most likely enjoyed the Sauvignon Blanc grape, and sweet Bordeaux uses it as well as less familiar grapes Semillon and Muscadelle. What makes the wine explode with flavor is something that doesn’t sound good, but is absolutely amazing – its Botrytis Cinerea, or Noble Rot. The oceanic climate in this part of Bordeaux encourages the growth of this microscopic fungus, which infests overripe grapes, and makes them incredibly sweet and delicious.

I’m planning on serving up my squash soup with roasted shrimp as the first course of my Thanksgiving spread. You can be sure that there will be a bottle of sweet Bordeaux poured around as well. One of my most requested Thanksgiving dishes is my cornbread dressing. It’s no shy side, instead its aromatic with the flavors of thyme, rosemary and sage with a full helping of freshly ground black pepper – time for another bottle I’m sure!

Hope you enjoy the holidays with good friends and family, good wine and this recipe as well.

Red Lentil and Butternut Squash Soup with Garam Masala Roasted Shrimp

Serves 4 generously

  • 2 Cups Chopped Red Onion
  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, grated
  • 1 Small Butternut Squash, Chopped and Seasoned with 1 Tsp Coriander, 1 Tsp Cumin, Olive Oil, Sea Salt and 1 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes – Roasted in the oven at 400F for 30 minutes.
  • 1 Roasted Red Pepper, Chopped
  • ½ to 1 Cup Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cups Veg Stock
  • 1 Tsp Garam Masala
  • Sea Salt and Freshly Ground Black Pepper to taste
  • ½ Cup Red Lentils
  • 1 TB Lemon Juice
  • *Garam Masala Roasted Shrimp

Sauté the red onion in the oil. When soft and fragrant, add the garlic. Cook and stir until fragrant. Add the squash. pepper, coconut milk, veg stock, masala and season with salt and pepper. Add in the lentils. Simmer for 30 minutes. Puree with an immersion blender until desired smoothness. Add the lemon juice and taste for salt and pepper.

*Garam Masala Roasted Shrimp

  • 1 LB Large Shrimp, Peeled and Deveined (12 – 16 per LB)
  • 1 TB Garam Masala
  • 2 TB Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 1 Tsp Sea Salt
  • 1 Lemon, cut into slices
  • 2 TB Chopped Cilantro

Place all the ingredients in a plastic zip lock bag and massage to coat the shrimp. Set the bag aside while you preheat the oven to 400F. When the oven is ready, spread the shrimp out on a sheet tray and slide into the oven. After 3 minutes, flip the shrimp and set the time for 2 minutes. Check the shrimp, if it is firm to the touch, pink and opaque it is done, if not slide back into the oven, checking after 2 more minutes. When cooked, remove from the oven and slide 4 – 5 shrimp onto a 6” skewer along with a lemon slice. Place on top of the soup bowls and garnish with chopped cilantro.

Loved meeting fellow wine pros and hearing from Yannick Benjamin about the innovative pairing ideas with Sweet Bordeaux, (who also provided the yummy wines). Host John Sporing from A Life Well Drunk moved our conversation along smartly with his questions addressed to not only Yannick, but our wine group, as well.  Thanks to Trish Haywood from Gregory+Vine for orchestrating the event.


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