Jeff’s Corner 12-14-18

Here’s a great big Howdy Ho Ho HO to all. The frenzy is fully underway, and I’ve got a great recipe for your holiday entertaining from my friend and culinary wizard Ross Burtwell, owner/chef of Cabernet Grill in Fredericksburg, Texas.

Cabernet Grill has been voted one of the “Top Ten in the Nation” by Trip Advisor, and rated one of Wine Enthusiast’s “America’s Best 100 Wine Restaurants”. Ross features locally sourced ingredients along with an all Texas wine list boasting nearly 100 labels from over 30 Texas wineries.

Today’s recipe is for Pecan Smoked Trout & Goat Cheese Rillettes with Pumpernickel Toast. Rillettes (ree-YEHT; rih-LEHTS) are akin to a smooth textured pate. We recently teamed up with Chef Burtwell at a holiday event, and paired this intensely rich starter with our 2016 Rendezvous. It was a lovely match, and pretty much stole the show.

BONUS: You can also enjoy the smoked trout as an option at Cabernet Grill’s fabulous 4 course New Year’s Eve dinner. Check out the menu and make your reservations here -> Cabernet Grill. You’ll be glad you did!

Smoked Trout & Goat Cheese Rillettes (served with pumpernickel crostini & gin pickles)


  • 1 pound smoked trout filets
  • 2 tablespoons shallots, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh Texas tarragon, minced
  • 1/2 lemon, zested
  • 2 teaspoons capers, minced
  • 1/3 cup plain chevre (goat cheese)
  • 1/2 cup creme fraiche
  • 2 tablespoons mayonnaise
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • pinch freshly ground black pepper
  • kosher salt (optional)
  • pumpernickel toast

Directions (serves six to eight as an appetizer):

  • Take the smoked trout and remove any bones and skin from the filets. Lightly break the trout into pieces allowing it to flake naturally into smaller pieces, but leave some texture by not over flaking it. Set aside for a moment.
  • Place shallots, herbs, lemon zest, capers, goat cheese, creme fraiche and mayonnaise in a medium size bowl and mix together until combined well.
  • Fold the reserved trout into the goat cheese mixture. Adjust seasoning accordingly with a little cayenne and black pepper. Depending on how salty the trout is, you may or may not need to sprinkle in a little kosher salt as well.
  • Refrigerate for about an hour to allow the flavors to meld.
  • Serve alongside slices of pumpernickel toast.