| The Prager Family
Butternut Chowder with
Apples and Pears
|The Prager Family|
Prager Winery and Port Works in St. Helena has been serving up Ports and dessert wines since Jim and Imogene Prager’s first harvest in 1980. Now in the hands of the family’s second generation (Peter, Jeff, Mary, John, Katie and brother-in-law Richard Lenney), it offers five types of port as well as two dessert wines and a few table wines (Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and, sometimes, Chardonnay). Prager’s ports are known for their distinctive and not-too-sweet character.
Beyond the wines, Prager offers chocolates, a Port chocolate drizzle (to top your favorite desserts or fruits) and Port vinegars. The winery also has a couple bed and breakfast suites—perhaps the perfect way to end a day of wine tasting in the Napa Valley.
Prager paired its Aria White Port, which is made with Chardonnay grapes and named after a Prager granddaughter, with butternut squash chowder. The richly textured chowder features apples, pears and ginger elements that serve to compliment the port’s nutty, carmelized character
|Butternut Chowder with Apples and Pears
|2 pears, peeled, cored and diced
2 Fuji apples, peeled, cored and diced
Juice of 3 lemons
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 cup peeled and diced Mayan sweet onions
1 stalk celery, diced
1 small carrot, peeled and diced
2 tablespoons minced garlic
2 teaspoons peeled minced fresh ginger
|1/2 cup white wine
1 large butternut squash, peeled, seeded and diced (about 4 cups)
1 large russet potato, peeled and diced
5 cups vegetable stock (purchased is fine)
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
1/2 cup heavy cream
Salt and white pepper to taste
Crème fraîche or whisked sour cream
Aria White Port
As you chop the pears and apples, place them in a bowl with the juice of two lemons and enough water to cover them; set aside.
In a large saucepan, heat the oil on medium-high until hot. Add the onion, celery and carrot. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 4 minutes or until the onion is translucent. Add the garlic and ginger and cook for 30 seconds longer, stirring constantly. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid in the pan is almost evaporated, about 3 minutes.
Drain about 2/3 of the diced pears and apples, reserving the other third in the lemon water for later use. Add the drained pears and apples to the pan along with the diced squash, potato and stock. Bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 30 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Transfer about half of the soup (in batches if necessary) to a blender and puree until very smooth, about 30 seconds on high. Return to the saucepan with the unpureed vegetable mixture. Add the orange juice, 1 to 2 tablespoons of lemon juice, cream and the reserved pears and apples to the pan and gently warm through (do not boil). Season generously with salt and white pepper. The chowder can be made one or two days ahead and rewarmed before serving. Adjust seasoning. To serve, garnish with a drizzle of whisked crème fraîche or sour cream.
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