Roodeberg fits like a glove with autumn comfort food

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One of my favourite seasons has got to be Autumn. I love the colors all around us, and nothing is more satisfying than comfort food. One of my all time favorite wines from South Africa is Roodeberg. One pot comfort food enriched with wine is what autumn is all about. Herewith a selection of recipes from The Food Fox Ilse van der Merwe that are a perfect match with Roodeberg’s variety of Red and Rosé blends. Enjoy with a glass or two of Roodeberg, the heart and soul of an unhurried autumn day.

With Roodeberg’s range of accomplished blends from the ever popular Classic Red and Rosé to the more textured Roodeberg Reserve and Roodeberg 1949, there’s a perfect wine companion for every dish.

No-fuss, one pot meals enriched with a splash of Roodeberg are easy to prepare and energy efficient. Well-known food writer Ilse van der Merwe shares a few simple autumn recipe suggestions that allow you time to relax over a leisurely glass of your favourite Roodeberg rather than spending hours in the kitchen.

For the Roodeberg Classic Red Blend, Ilse suggests her crowd pleasing baked meatballs in a tomato and red wine sauce. Incredibly tender and flavourful, this classic Italian-style meal is a winner with freshly cooked pasta. Adding ½ cup of Roodeberg to the sauce enhances its heartiness and umami flavours.

Meatballs in red wine tomato sauce with Roodeberg Classic Red 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

For the meatballs: 

1 ½ cups soft breadcrumbs 

½ cup milk 

500 g lean beef mince 

½ onion, finely chopped or coarsely grated 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/grated 

1 XL egg, lightly whisked 

Handful parsley, finely chopped 

½ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated 

Salt and pepper 

For the sauce: 

30 ml olive oil 

1 clove garlic, finely grated 

760 g tomato passata 

30 ml tomato paste 

½ cup red wine 

1 teaspoon sugar 

Salt and pepper 

For serving: 

Freshly cooked pasta (spaghetti/linguini/tagliatelle) 

More parmesan cheese, finely grated 

A few fresh basil leaves 


Prepare the meatballs: Place the breadcrumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl and stir to moisten all over. Add the mince, onion, garlic, egg, parsley and parmesan, season generously with salt and pepper. Mix with a spoon/spatula until just incorporated, then gently shape into large balls using a serving spoon and clean hands (+/- 10 large or 14 medium). Arrange the meatballs in a casserole dish and set aside while you make the sauce. In the meantime, preheat the oven to 200° C. 

Prepare the sauce: In a medium saucepan, heat the oil and fry the garlic over medium heat for a minute, then add the passata, wine, sugar and season with salt and pepper. Stir, then bring to a simmer. Cook over low heat for 5 minutes, then pour all over the prepared meatballs and bake at 200° C for 40-45 minutes. Remove from the oven and serve hot with freshly cooked pasta, topped with grated parmesan and fresh basil. 

Ilse’s easy, everyday chicken & prawn paella is the perfect choice for Roodeberg Classic Rosé. Prepared in any large deep pan, this simple all in one recipe makes a beautiful centrepiece for your table to wow family and friends.

Easy chicken & prawn paella with Roodeberg Classic Rosé 

Ingredients (serves 5-6) 

30 ml olive oil 

1 onion, finely chopped 

1 medium red pepper, diced 

100 g chorizo, sliced 

10 ml (2 teaspoons) smoked paprika (or regular paprika) 

2 cups paella rice (bomba/arborio) 

1 liter (4 cups) warm chicken stock 

400 g boneless chicken, sliced into bite size chunks 

250 g prawn tails (peeled or unpeeled) 

1 cup frozen peas 

A handful Italian parsley, chopped 

Lemon wedges, to serve 


In a large deep pan (at least 30cm) over medium heat, add the oil and fry the onion, red pepper and chorizo together until the onion is soft and translucent. Add the paprika and fry for another minute. Pour the rice evenly over the surface of the pan, then add 3 cups of the stock and bring to a simmer. Add and spread the chicken chunks and cook for about 10 minutes or until most (but not all) of the liquid has been absorbed (don’t stir). Add a little more stock, then arrange the prawn tails and peas over the surface. Turn the heat down to low, cover the pan with a lid or with foil, and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the prawns are done, the rice is al dente, and most of the liquid has been absorbed. You can have some darkened toasty rice at the bottom – it is a highly prized part of a successful paella.  

Season with salt and pepper and remove from the heat. Serve hot topped with fresh parsley and a few lemon wedges.  

Roodeberg Classic Rosé is also Ilse’s wine of choice for preparing creamy mushroom & spinach risotto that is best enjoyed with the bold and beautifully textured Roodeberg Reserve. Another comforting one pot meal, this quick and easy vegetarian recipe calls for a dash of cream and melds seamlessly with the soft, silky tannins of the wine.

Creamy mushroom & spinach risotto – prepared with Roodeberg Classic Rosé and enjoyed with Roodeberg Reserve 

Ingredients (serves 4) 

30 ml butter 

15 ml olive oil 

250 g brown mushrooms, chopped 

Salt and pepper, to taste 

1 medium onion, finely chopped 

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/grated 

3 sprigs thyme, leaves only (stalks discarded) 

1 ½ cups risotto rice 

½ cup Roodeberg Classic Rosé (or dry white wine) 

750 ml vegetable stock 

3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped 

½ cup fresh cream 

½ – 1 cup parmesan cheese 


In a wide heavy-based pot (about 26cm), heat the butter and oil, then fry the mushrooms until golden brown and season with salt and pepper. Remove from the pan and set aside, then turn down the heat to medium-low and add the onions, frying until soft and translucent but not brown. Add the garlic and thyme and fry for another 30 seconds, then add the rice. Stir, toasting the rice for about 3-4 minutes until lightly brown, then add the wine and stir to loosen any sticky bits on the bottom. Reduce until the liquid has almost been absorbed completely, then add ¾ of the fried mushrooms back to the pot as well as the stock, ladle by ladle, stirring in-between and only adding more once the previous liquid has almost been absorbed. Continue until the rice is al dente (tender with a slight bite in the centre – it will take about 10-12 minutes), then add the spinach, cream and half the parmesan and stir. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Cover and let it stand for a few minutes before ladling into bowls, serving hot with some of the remaining mushrooms on top and more parmesan cheese. 

You can’t beat a rich and tangy jus to drizzle over roasts and grilled steak. For her delicious French-style red wine reduction, Ilse recommends the commemorative Roodeberg 1949 for its full bodied texture and flavours of cinnamon, sweet spice and ripe, juicy dark fruit. It is also the perfect wine to enjoy with a roast or juicy steak.

Classic red wine reduction ‘jus’ with Roodeberg 1949 

Ingredients (makes about ¾ cup) 

3 tablespoons butter 

½ cup onion, finely chopped (white/red or shallot) 

1 sprig thyme 

1 bay leaf 

180 ml Roodeberg 1949 (dry red wine) 

500 ml beef stock 


Add 2 tablespoons of the butter to a small saucepan over medium heat, then fry the onion for a few minutes until lightly brown. Add the thyme, bay leaf and wine, then bring to a simmer and reduce to half. Add the stock and turn up the heat, cooking and reducing until you are left with about 1 cup in total. Strain through a sieve, then return to the pot and bring to a slow simmer. Season with salt and pepper and reduce further until you have about ¾ cup. Remove from the heat and add the remaining tablespoon of butter, stirring until it has melted and you are left with a glossy jus. Serve at once with your favourite cut of meat, or leave to cool and reheat when ready to serve, stirring well.  

Autumn is a good time to discover Roodeberg’s intriguing blends and enjoy them with your favourite home cooked meals.

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