A couple of weeks ago my gorgeous friend Deneil asked me to help out with hosting a wine tasting night at her house for a group of like-minded vino enthusiasts.
Encompassing a South American theme, she not only wanted to provide an opportunity to taste an array of unusual wines but also serve accompanying canapés from this exotic continent, providing a full cultural experience.
Although asking a teetotaller to get on board for a wine tasting event seems a bit incongruous, I jumped at the chance to get involved in the foodie side of things and do some research on cuisines I really know very little about.
I may have stretched the theme slightly by including Mexico in my culinary contribution, but along with Deneil and Clare (the third amigo in our catering trio), we ultimately came up with eight South American canapé courses, including desert.
The two dishes I prepared were mini soft tacos with frijoles refritos (refried black beans) and lime jalapeño slaw, and empanadas filled with pulled beef shin and pine nuts.
I used the recipe I’ve featured previously on this site from ‘My Abuela’s Table’ by Daniella Germain (click here for the link) but I had a markedly improved result this time, thanks to cooking the beef shin much longer and slower (total cooking time was about six hours).
I also finely shredded the beef at the end of the cooking process instead of breaking it down with a spoon and leaving small chunky pieces, which – in very my humble opinion – landed us empanadas of superior quality.
Served up with a bowl of hot sriracha sauce and sour cream, they went down a treat with our 16 guests.
Take a look at the other delicious food and wines on offer from the night…
course no. 1 | spicy blue fin tuna ceviche
course no. 2 | peri peri chicken
course no. 3 | beef shin empanadas
course no. 4 | chilean potato puffs
course no. 4 | grilled chorizo
course no. 5 | mini frijoles refritos tacos with lime & jalapeño slaw
course no. 8 | salted caramel & dulce de leche pots