A Season for Sharing & Pairing

What to serve this holiday season 

Healthy holiday recipes and delicious wines to complement their flavors

The holidays are a time for gathering with friends and family, which also means bountiful holiday spreads with dishes too delicious to resist. To make sure your guests leave with happy—and healthy—hearts, nutritionist Keri Glassman has created a special three-course menu that not only tastes good, but is good for you. Plus, Penfolds offers pairings to complement the menu’s seasonal flavors. 

1st Course: Butternut squash-pear soup (yields 2 servings)


  • 2 ½ ounces butternut squash, halved and seeded
  • 1/4 small sweet onion, chopped
  • 1/3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
  • salt and fresh-ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/2 cup vegetable stock
  • 1/8 cup pureed pear


  • 1/4 small bunch fresh basil, leaves only
  • 1/2 teaspoon pine nuts
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 clove garlic, minced
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  • Lightly oil a baking sheet and place butternut squash flesh side up on the sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
  • Cover with foil and bake for 25 minutes or until squash is tender. Set aside and cool.
  • When squash is cool, scoop out flesh; set aside.
  • Heat a large stock pot and add 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Sauté onions about 12 minutes or until soft and slightly browned.
  • Add garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, salt and pepper. Cook for 3 more minutes.
  • Add vegetable stock, pear puree and butternut squash. Cook until the butternut squash is soft through.
  • Spoon mixture into a blender and blend until smooth.

Pair with: Beringer “Private Reserve” Chardonnay, Napa Valley
The richness of this wine comes from its oak aging, which, along with its fruit flavors, works well with the butternut squash-pear combination.

2nd Course: Cornish hen with kale (yields 2 servings) 

Cornish hen

  • 1/3 cup uncooked wild rice 
  • 2 tablespoons finely chopped onion
  • 3 tablespoons butter, divided
  • ¾ cup chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh mushrooms
  • 2 Cornish game hens
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/4 cup dried currants


  • In a saucepan, cook and stir the rice and onions in 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat for 5 minutes or until rice is lightly browned.
  • Stir in the chicken broth, lemon juice, white wine and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil.
  • Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 16 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender. Stir in mushrooms and currants.
  • Sprinkle outside and cavity of hens with thyme, pepper and remaining salt.
  • Stuff hens with rice mixture, and place on a rack in a shallow roasting pan coated with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Melt remaining butter; brush half over hens.
  • Cover and bake at 400 degrees F for 25 to 35 minutes longer or until juices run clear and a meat thermometer reads 180 degrees F for hens and 165 degrees F for stuffing.


  • 1 bunch kale
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • ½ lemon
  • 1 tablespoon parmesan cheese
  • salt and pepper to taste 


  • Trim kale and discard thick ribs and stems. Chop the leaves and steam kale until wilted.   
  • Transfer kale to saucepan, add garlic and cook for 1 minute.
  • Remove kale from heat and squeeze lemon over kale. Sprinkle parmesan cheese and add salt and pepper to taste.

Pair with: Etude “Estate” Pinot Noir, Carneros-Sonoma Valley
Poultry and mushrooms pair perfectly with pinot noir. The dried currants in the recipe bring out the strawberry and cherry flavors of this wine, while the weight of the wine combines with the acidity to complement the side of kale.

3rd Course: Boiled grapefruit (yields 2 servings)

  • 1 grapefruit
  • 2 teaspoons clear honey 
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of crushed pecans


  • Halve grapefruit and remove pith with a knife. Loosen the sections.
  • Pour ½ honey into the center of grapefruit. Drizzle the top with other 1/2 honey.
  • Sprinkle with cinnamon and pecans.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 15 minutes.

Pair with: Beringer “Nightingale” Botytised Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley
The intense apricot and citrus aromas of this wine match well with the grapefruit and honey, while the wine’s oak-matured flavors pair nicely with the cinnamon and pecans. 

What’s your favorite food and wine pairing for the holiday season? Share tips with other JW Marriott travelers.

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You have to be careful in removing pith with a knife so that the integrity of the grapefruit will be maintained. A steel knife is perfect in removing pith from a grapefruit.

No pictures? It sounds delicious but it would have been awesome if we can see it=)