Olema 2014 Sonoma County Chardonnay ($15), our Wine of the Week, is juicy and generous. It is full and round in the mouth, with suggestions of butter and caramel that lighten to reveal a flourish of lemon on the wine’s finish.
Aromas of apple blossoms, Golden Delicious apples and ripe pineapple rise from the glass to greet you and that flourish of lemon keeps you coming back for another sip. It is a classic California chardonnay.
Enjoy this wine with corn, especially corn bread, corn soufflé, corn chowder and savory corn cakes; with roasted chicken; grilled salmon; pork loin and tenderloin; grilled zucchini seasoned with ground cumin and carrots. Carrot fritters with a sweet mustard sauce is a fabulous match, as is carrot risotto.
Today’s recipe is a versatile side dish, with fragrant saffron to engage the wine. Serve alongside grilled or roasted chicken; top it with merguez (lamb sausage), some sort of kebabs or grilled fish; or fold roasted chicken directly into the rice.
Saffron Rice With Favas, Chickpeas and Raisins
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 yellow onion, cut into very small dice
— Kosher salt
2 cups white basmati rice
4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
½ cup raisins
— Hot water
2-3 saffron threads or 2 pinches of ground saffron
½ cup shelled, blanched and peeled favas
1 cup, approximately, cooked chickpeas
— Black pepper in a mill
3 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
1 cup whole milk yogurt, stirred
Put the olive oil into a deep saucepan (an All-Clad saucier is ideal) set over medium-low heat, add the onion and cook until the onion begins to caramelize, about 20 to 25 minutes. Do not let it burn or brown.
Season with salt, add the rice, stir, and pour in the stock. Increase the heat to high and when the liquid boils, reduce the heat so that the water simmers gently, cover the pan, and cook for 15 minutes. Without lifting the lid, remove the rice from the heat and let rest 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, put the raisins in a bowl, cover with hot water, and set aside.
Put the saffron into a small mortar and use the pestle to crush it into a fine dust. Add about a tablespoon of hot water and set aside.
When the rice has rested, uncover it and use two forks to fluff it. Drain the water off the raisins and add them to the pot with the rice, along with the favas and chickpeas. Toss well and pour the saffron over everything. Toss thoroughly, until the rice is an even golden color.
Correct for salt, season with several turns of black pepper, and toss one more time. Turn out onto a serving bowl or plate, scatter the parsley over the top, and enjoy right away, with the yogurt alongside.
Michele Anna Jordan has written 24 books to date, including “Polenta.” Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.