There is no doubt that great food and great wine are delicious on their own. But when you come up with the right food and wine pairing, each enhances the other and tastes even better. The easy gourmet recipes on Easy Food and Wine are designed to be wine-friendly, utilizing fresh and flavorful ingredients, and each has been paired with your pick of two wines that we've tried and tested (tough work, I know) for that dish. Just as importantly, our recipes have been designed to be easy to prepare, and for each dish we recommend at least one wine that is both easy to find and easy on the wallet. 

Ricks Killer Smoked Tri-Tip

1 beef tri-tip, about 2 lbs, slightly trimmed

The Rub:

4 tablespoons salt
3 tablespoons garlic powder
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon brown sugar
½ teaspoon cumin

Rub the tri-tip on all sides with spice rub. Place the meat in a sealable plastic bag, seal the bag and refrigerate for 8 to 12 hours. Start your smoker with lump charcoal and use the traditional red. Place the meat in the smoker fat side up for the entire smoke and be sure to use a drip pan if you are using the indirect method of smoking on a gas or charcoal grill to eliminate flare-ups and grease fires. Acquire a temperature of 225 to 250 degrees and smoke the tri tip for around 2 to 3 hours or until it reaches the desired doneness. Allow to rest 15 minutes, slice thinly on the bias.



Seared and Braised Feta-Stuffed Chicken Thighs with White Wine and Green Olives 

This gutsy and rustic dish features powerful acidity from the feta, wine, and olives, but the tanginess is tamed slightly by the broth and the natural richness inherent to chicken thighs—one of my favorite bits of the chicken. It’s the perfect dish to serve when meat is not on the menu but you plan to serve a good red wine with the main course.

Serves 6

12 boneless, skinless chicken thighs, preferably from a pasture-raised chicken

Place half the boneless thighs on a work surface with the smaller end toward you and spread them out flat; season generously with pepper. Place a rectangle of feta in the center and roll up to the top. Tie either end with a short piece of thin kitchen twine to hold in the cheese. Repeat with the remaining thighs and feta. Season generously with salt and just a little bit of pepper.

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Place a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat and add the olive oil. When the oil is very hot, add six of the chicken rolls and sear until golden brown on all sides, turning with tongs. Transfer to a platter, let the pan heat up again and sear the remaining rolls in the same way; transfer to the platter. Pour off all but about 1 tablespoon of the fat from the pan and return it to medium heat. Add the shallots, rosemary and thyme. Sauté for about 5 minutes, until the shallots are tender, then add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add the wine and bring to a brisk simmer; reduce the liquid by about half, 6 to 8 minutes, tipping the pan and skimming the fat occasionally. Return the chicken to the pan and add the broth, lemon slice, ¼ teaspoon salt, and plenty of pepper. Bring to a simmer, cover tightly with aluminum foil and the lid, if there is one, and transfer to the oven. Cook for 20 minutes, then turn the chicken pieces over, add the olives, re-cover, and continue cooking for about 10 minutes more, or until the chicken is very tender.

Transfer the chicken to a warm, clean platter and cover loosely with foil. On the stove top, place the skillet over high heat and reduce the sauce a little bit to concentrate the juices, stirring, for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the remains of the herb branches and the lemon slice, return the chicken to the pan for a moment to warm through, and serve, spooning plenty of the chunky sauce over the top and sprinkling with the parsley.