Review: Lucky Penny Red

Lucky Penny‘s delicious red ($17.95), from New South Wales, is a blend of shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, and merlot. It’s a full-bodied blend; the bitter chocolate of the cabernet sauvignon nicely cuts through the sweetness of the shiraz, and the merlot provides a smooth, vanilla finish.

Lucky Penny Red pairs nicely with desert, but it truly shines when paired with red meat cooked medium rare: serve a New Zealand lamb shank or Alberta rib steak with new potatoes and asparagus, and your palate will thank you.

If you prefer to cook with Lucky Penny Red, try this recipe from the Harbord Room’s own Cory Vitiello (of whom I’m a big fan).

Roasted Natural Chicken Breast w/ Pumpkin Seed Mole & Queso Fresco


  • 4 pieces locally sourced chicken breast, skin on, seasoned
  • 1 ½ cups pumpkin seeds, toasted
  • 3 pieces dried ancho chili, soaked and seeded
  • ½ piece of vidalia onion, sliced
  • 4 pieces garlic clove, sliced
  • 1 medium plum tomato, quartered
  • ½ teaspoon clove, ground
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon, ground
  • ½ cup full-bodied red wine
  • 1 tablespoon sherry vinegar
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 2 cups chicken stock or broth
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup fresh Mexican cheese or high-quality feta cheese
  • Kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1.5 oz dark chocolate




  • In a medium sized, heavy bottomed stainless pot, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium heat. When hot add onions and garlic and continue gently cooking until lightly caramelized. Season with a couple pinches of kosher salt.
  • Add the ancho chili, tomato and bay leaves. Continue cooking gently until the tomato begins to break down and the ingredients appear incorporated.
  • Add clove, cinnamon and 1 cup of the toasted pumpkin seeds. Incorporate.
  • Deglaze the pan with the red wine and sherry vinegar, gently scraping up any caramelized bits that may have formed on the bottom of the pan.
  • Add chicken stock and turn down heat to a low gentle boil. Continue cooking until the liquid has reduced by at least a quarter.
  • Check seasoning of the broth and adjust with kosher salt and fresh cracked black pepper. Remove bay leaves.
  • With a hand-held blender, on low speed, puree the ingredients until a coarse but consistent puree texture is achieved. If the mole appears stogy or thick adjust with some chicken stock. Keep warm and set aside.


  • In a large, heavy bottomed, stainless frying pan, heat 2 tablespoons vegetable oil over medium-high heat. When hot add chicken breast, flesh side down and cook for 3 minutes or until flesh begins to caramelize slightly. Carefully turn chicken over to its skin side, careful that the oil doesn’t spatter, and cook for another minute. Transfer pan to a pre-heated 400-degree oven and cook for about 20-25 minutes or an internal temperature of 165 is achieved.
  • With a sharp knife slice each chicken breast into thirds.
  • On 4 large dinner plates divide the warm mole sauce evenly on the bottom of each plate. Arrange the chicken and garnish with the reserved toasted pumpkin seeds and the crumbled queso fresco.
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