10-Minute Wine & Beer Pairing: Blackened Chicken with Dirty Rice
What to pair with smoky-spicy chicken breast and dirty rice?
A BIG AND JUICY RED
A hefty red, without the puckering tannins, stands up to the intense spices without dialing up the heat.
ZEROING IN Zin has its critics, but these plus-sized reds are the real deal when served alongside bold, spice-driven foods. With dark fruit flavors and light tannins, these wines show off the recipe's smoky, almost sweet qualities, especially when served slightly chilled.
Cline, Zinfandel, California ($12)
Four Vines, "OVC" Old Vine Cuvée Zinfandel, California ($10)
A SOFT, VELVETY WHITE
An aromatic, midweight white can handle the chicken's spicy rub and hang with the hearty rice.
ZEROING IN A California gewürztraminer packs a combo of tropical fruit flavors and enough heft to make it a terrific alternative to conventional chardonnay. Or try a similar-style German version for a hint of fragrance and spice. Riesling dominates the country, allowing this white to quietly deliver in flavor and value, especially in the Pfalz region.
Alexander Valley Vineyards, Gewürz, California ($10)
P. J. Valckenberg, Gewürztraminer, Germany ($10)
A FRUITY, SMOOTH AMBER ALE
A sturdy brew with citrusy hops and refreshing carbonation helps navigate the recipe's full range of flavors.
ZEROING IN: Caramelized malts add a whisper of sweetness that reins in the spice, while bitter hops allow these copper-colored brews to cut right through the earthy rice.
Bell's, Amber Ale, Michigan ($9/six-pack)
Rogue, American Amber Ale, Oregon ($12.50/six-pack)
OOPS! Sidestep lean, bone-dry whites like Italian pinot grigio or Spanish albariño. The dish's boatload of spices will punish their featherweight frames, leaving you with little more than acidulated water.