The Return of Rioja Ryan

December 4, 2017

In 2013 I ended up spending quite a bit of time in Barcelona.

A beautiful, vibrant, historical city in Spain filled with creative design and almost unexplainable architecture thanks to Antonio Gaudi.

From Park Güell to the massive Sagrada Familia which has been under construction for the last 135 years, a trip to Barcelona will leave images burnt into your mind forever.

But that’s just the sites… There’s also the wine!

And during my time there, I earned the nickname: Rioja Ryan.

Rioja is a varietal of wine made in the province of La Rioja just North of Barcelona and I was a BIG fan of their wine!

So recently when my friends from Bodegas Montecillo in La Rioja connected with me to let me know they were working with Canadian Chefs to create the perfect dishes to pair with their wines, I was only too quick to ask them to send me the recipes to share!

Calgary’s Bridgette Bar’s Executive Chef, Chef JP Pedhirney created a Acadian Potato and Pork Dimplings dish to be paired with this Montecillo Reserva.

The Reserva is the perfect wine as the spicy tones accentuate the flavours from the pork and Canadian bacon blended inside the dumplings while the plum red berry notes balance the acidity from the the tomato based sauce.

Hands-on time for this recipe is pretty hefty… So if you’re in a hurry with less time to spare, check out your local Asian grocery store for some handmade pork dumplings and just focus on the sauce.

The red chili and paprika is why this flavourful spicy sauce pairs so nicely with the Reserva.

But for those masters of the kitchen, roll up those sleeves and tweet me a photo of your 20 dumplings when your done!

Here is the recipe of Chef Pedhirney’s amazing dish!

Rioja-Style Acadian Potato and Pork Dumplings

Recipe makes 20 dumplings.


  • 1 cup smoked Canadian bacon, finely diced
  • 1 lb ground pork shoulder
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tbsp cold water
  • 2 lbs medium yellow-fleshed potatoes, peeled and cut into thirds
  • 12 cups cold water
  • 3 tbsp kosher salt
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
  1. Combine Canadian bacon, ground pork shoulder, salt, paprika, black pepper and water in a stainless-steel bowl. Set aside in the fridge until the dough is ready.
  2. To prepare the potato dough, place potatoes in a 4L pot of water. Add salt and boil potatoes until tender.
  3. Once potatoes are fully cooked, strain the water and allow potatoes to cool for 5 minutes. Put potatoes through a potato ricer.
  4. While potatoes are still warm, add egg yolks and 1 ¼ cup flour. Fully incorporate ingredients to form a dough, being careful not to overwork it.
  5. Take 2 tbsp of dough and roll in hands to form a ball. Press the ball into flat disc, about ½ cm thick.
  6. Take 1 tbsp of meat mixture and place in the centre of the dough disc.
  7. Fold the dough up and over the meat mixture, making sure the dough completely covers all of the meat. Gently roll into balls.
  8. Place dumplings onto a light layer of the remaining ¼ cup of flour on a baking sheet. Cover with a tea towel and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them. They can be made one day in advance.
  9. When ready to use, bring a large pot of water to a boil, add pre-rolled dumplings and cook for seven minutes.


  • 1 cup smoked Canadian bacon, cut into one inch cubes
  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 1 cup finely diced Spanish onion
  • 4 cloves of garlic, thinly sliced
  • ½ cup Montecillo Reserva
  • 3 cups crushed tomatoes
  • 1 tsp red chili finely diced
  • 1 ½ tbsp smoked paprika
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt
  1. In a large heavy bottom sauce pot, sweat the Canadian bacon in grapeseed oil until crispy and all the fat is rendered.
  2. Add diced onion and garlic and cook on low heat until tender.
  3. Add red wine and simmer for one minute.
  4. Add crushed tomatoes, red chili, smoked paprika, bay leaf and salt. Simmer on low for 20 minutes.


Remove dumplings from boiling water and add to simmering tomato sauce. Serve with a drizzle of Spanish olive oil and crispy shallots, if desired.

Now grab a glass of Montecillo Reserva and enjoy!

Mr. Fab Rioja Ryan

Looking forward to reading your comments!