Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Summer entertaining should be simple, easy, and low stress. It’s just too hot to be mixing individual cocktails, so summer calls for a big batch of something delicious and refreshing that guests can help themselves and sip on as the sun drops lower in the sky. Rosé has become synonymous with summer afternoons and earlier in the season I had the pleasure of creating a recipe for a rosé tasting event at Maman, my favorite café in New York. Talk about a dream come true!

I was only recently introduced to Lillet Rosé by my lovely friends Josie & David, and afterward couldn’t believe I had gone so long without having it in my life. It makes a super simple aperitif – just add a sizable cube of ice and a slice of something citrusy.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Or, take it one step further and transform it into a twist on sangria. Traditionally sangria combines wine with a liqueur or brandy, but since Lillet is already a fortified wine in my variation you get to skip that step. Score. Maman’s Provencal influence provided the inspiration to enhance the flavor by adding lavender and stone fruit. It fits the low-stress bill, and has the added benefit of being even better when it’s made in advance.

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria (serves 4)

Ingredients:
1 bottle (750 ml) Lillet Rosé
3/4 teaspoon (3-4 sprigs) dried culinary lavender buds
1 ripe black plum
1 ripe white nectarine
2 ripe apricots
1 medium lemon
1/4 cup (2 oz.) club soda
Ice
Garnish (optional): fresh raspberries, blackberries, strawberries

Instructions:
Pour the Lillet Rosé into a large pitcher or glass container. Lightly crush the dried lavender flowers between your hands to release the essential oils and place in a tea bell or a piece of cheese cloth tied with kitchen twine and suspend in the wine. Allow the lavender to infuse the wine while you prepare the fruit.

Wash and remove the stone from the plum, nectarine, and apricots. Slice into 1/3 inch wedges and drop into the pitcher. Thinly slice half the lemon (reserve the other half) into rounds or half moons and add to the sangria. Stir gently with a wooden spoon. Chill the sangria overnight, or at least 3-4 hours, to allow the fruit, lavender, and Lillet Rosé to steep.

Just before serving, use a sharp knife to remove large strips of peel from the reserved lemon and wipe the yellow skin of peel around the inside of each glass. Place the ice in the glasses, remove the lavender sachet from the sangria, and add the club soda to the pitcher.

Divide the sangria among the glasses making sure that the fruit goes in too – it’s delicious! Garnish with a sprig of lavender (if using) or additional berries as your heart desires. Relax and enjoy.

Original recipe created for Maman and sponsored by Lillet. All opinions are my own.

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Yes! I used a large pitcher, liquid measuring cup small cutting board, utility knife, wooden spoon, cheese cloth, and kitchen twine.
 

Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria
Lavender and Stone Fruit Rosé Sangria

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Roast Chicken

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

One of the reasons I love reading cookbooks and watching cooking shows is for inspiration. I’m continually amazed at the creativity I see and it’s an opportunity to learn something new. I recently saw an episode of Rachel Khoo’s Little Paris Kitchen where she made a roast chicken with dried lavender and was I intrigued by the use of lavender in cooking.

In Provence lavender is a staple of the kitchen spice rack and it seems like the bakers on the Great British Bake-Off are constantly infusing things with it, but I was having trouble wrapping my head around an ingredient I associate with linen closets. So, I decided to give it a shot and take a little culinary adventure to southern France with Rachel’s recipe as my guide.

Lavender has a strong herbal flavor that when combined with lemon zest and thyme reminded me of rosemary - a little astringent, a hint piney, but not at all reminiscent of a sachet, unless that sachet is full of herbs de Provence. Since it is powerful, a little goes a long way and I particularly liked it with the balancing sweetness of the wildflower honey, which also has a delicate floral note.

This recipe is so simple and takes just a few minutes to assemble, but the unique flavor elements make it feel special all the same. Perfect with some pureed potatoes or sautéed asparagus.

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken (serves 4)

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons dried culinary lavender buds
2 lemons, zest and juice
3 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup wildflower honey
4 pieces of bone-in, skin-on chicken, either breast or leg
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

Instructions:
Place the lavender in a large ziptop bag and lightly crush using a rolling pin. In a liquid measuring cup, whisk together the olive oil, honey, thyme leaves, lemon zest and juice. Pour into the zip top bag with the lavender then add the chicken pieces. Seal the bag pressing out the air and turn a few times to coat all sides of the chicken. Marinate in the refrigerator for 30 minutes (or up to 4 hours).

Preheat oven to 400°F. Put chicken and marinade into roasting pan with the skin side down and sprinkle with kosher salt. Roast chicken for 45 minutes, turning pieces over halfway.

Cook until the chicken reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees F or when thickest part is pierced with a skewer and the juices run clear (not red or pink). Serve the chicken with cooking juices spooned over the top.

Rewritten and slightly adapted from Rachel Khoo’s Poulet au Citron et Lavande via PopSugar.

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith

Small Kitchen Friendly?
Absolutely. All I needed for this recipe was a gallon sized zip top bag, a small cuutin board, chef’s knife, microplane zester, liquid measuring cup, measuring spoons and a medium baking dish (2 qt.)

The Verdict:
I really didn’t know what to expect since I’ve never made a Rachel Khoo recipe before – that requires trust! – but I have to give credit where credit is due, this is really, really good. The lavender is subtle and in combination with the lemon and thyme it brings a beautifully summery flavor to the chicken, like the toasted warmth of a golden hay field in August and so simple to put together at a moment’s notice.  Just the thing now that freezing temperatures have taken hold in New York and we need a taste of summer to see us through.

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken   | Image:   Laura Messersmith

Provençal Lavender and Lemon Chicken | Image: Laura Messersmith