The bold flavor of Mexican chorizo, a fresh pork sausage packed with chilies, makes this black bean soup stand out from other variations. The chorizo is rolled into little meatballs to float among the beans. You'll want a wine that stands up to the boldness, like these two Spanish bottlings and one French.
Black Bean Soup With Chorizo Meatballs: Form 1 pound Mexican chorizo into small meatballs (1 teaspoon sausage each). Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a saucepan. Add 1 white onion, chopped, and 1 clove garlic, finely chopped. Cook until onion softens, 5 minutes. Stir in 2 poblano peppers, seeded, chopped; season with salt. Cook until softened, 5 minutes. Stir in 4 cups chicken broth; 1 can (14 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed; and meatballs; heat to a simmer. Serve, garnished with fresh cilantro and avocado. Makes: 4 servings. Recipe by Joe Gray.
Pairings by sommelier Nate Redner of Oyster Bah, as told to Michael Austin:
2007 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Vina Cubillo, Rioja, Spain:This blend is 70 percent tempranillo, 20 percent garnacha, 5 percent graciano (used for perfumed aromatics and color) and 5 percent mazuelo (aka, carignan). The wine’s notes of blood orange, orange zest and dill will match nicely with the chorizo’s bold flavor, and its bright acidity will make the dish seem lighter than it is.
2010 Herve Souhaut Sainte Epine, Rhone Valley, France: Chorizo has enough spice, heat and fattiness to stand out in just about any dish, and it’s a good idea to complement that spice rather than contrast it. This syrah’s vibrant notes of black olive, violet and anise, backed by a peppery core, will complement the dish well. Besides the wine’s aroma and flavor components, it also has a softness that will be a good match.
2014 Coto de Gomariz The Flower and the Bee, Ribeiro, Spain: Made of the not-so-familiar treixadura grape variety, this wine likely will be oddly familiar to many people. The white grape often takes on aspects of chenin blanc and riesling, and this version of it features notes of white flowers, honeycomb, Meyer lemon, Bosc pear and slate – ripe fruit character with complete dryness. Also, its bright acidity will help cut through the fat in the dish.