Thursday, January 21, 2010

Uses for Cheap Wine #3 - Cooking

I must preface this by clarifying that cheap wine doesn’t necessarily mean bad wine, and it is my firm belief that one should never put any wine in their food that they would not drink. To quote the comedian WC Fields “I cook with wine, sometimes I even add it to the food!”

Here are some tips on cooking with wine at a discount:
When you want to create a perfect pairing of wine with a dish that you are cooking that has wine in the recipe, use the same wine you are drinking in the dish. Now, I’m not saying that you should deglaze* your pan with your Kistler Chardonnay! At $100.00+ per bottle, that would make for one expensive pan jus! Instead, get a Chardonnay that is $8-10 a bottle, something that is similarly oaky, but make sure that it is something you would happily drink on a more casual evening.
To make a fabulous herb butter, add white wine to your recipe for herb butter. The wine will provide balancing acidity - use a $6-8 crisp white such as torrontes, or sauvignon blanc.
Use an $8-12 shiraz or cabernet to marinate tougher meats such as beef cheeks, ox tails, veal shanks or brisket. The acid helps to break down the meat and add wonderful flavor. As always, the wine should at least be drinkable.

This should get you off to a good start cooking with wine! Bon appetit!

*Deglaze - after cooking a meat, poultry or fish on a frying pan, add wine to the hot pan. The wine will collect all the pan residue. Reduce this over a low flame, then add cream or butter to make a great sauce!

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