Cooking with Wine
Cooking with wine has a very long and interesting history. The great Julia Child once said “Wine is one of the agreeable and essential ingredients of life. As you get older you shouldn’t waste time drinking bad wine.”
Most of us can’t name many dishes
famous for including wine as an ingredient. There’s boeuf bourguignon, classically made with at least a cup of wine, as well as coq au vin which translates to an old rooster (cock) in wine. And that’s where most people stop and ponder, “What else is made with wine?”
Well, there are a lot of great dishes made with wine. Some come and go in popularity, however, the good ones stick around from generation to generation.
A classic fondue is made with cheese, wine or kirsch and seasoning. A favourite I once loved to make is moules marinières. Moule in French is mussels, but marinières is related to mariners, specifically the stripy top a mariner or sailor once wore. Moules marinières are mussels made by sailors. And while the wine of ages past may not be as great as the ones today, they loved the dish. Of course, the recipe calls for copious amounts of white wine.
Cooking with Reds
You can take a beef stew and turn it
into something fabulous by soaking the meat and vegetables overnight in a rich, red wine.
Consider blending pork drippings with a lush Merlot and strawberries for a mouth-watering pork tenderloin sauce. How about eggs benedict with a reduced red wine sauce? Or even a barbecue sauce made with a feisty red.
To make a simple red wine pan sauce, simply use the brown bits left over in the pan after searing your meat. Add some shallots, a bit of broth and a good quality red wine and you are onto something delicious. Add to that a dollop of butter to thicken, and you’ve got the perfect
balance of fat and acid. It’s a great sauce to add to peppercorn steak or any other rich, red meat.
Want to make a simple dinner more colourful? Simply boil your pasta in red wine. You’ll be amazed by the complex flavours it brings out in your dish.
Let’s not forget dessert! Everyone knows that chocolate and red wine go together incredibly well. Adding a nice Cabernet Sauvignon to a dark chocolate cake gives it an extra layer of deliciousness.
Want to get even more adventurous? Try a pie made with pears and red wine. This one is guaranteed to surprise even the most discerning dinner guest.
Cooking with Whites
Get out the polenta and get ready for a delicious seafood dish. While your polenta cooks, whisk together some garlic, white wine, stock and butter. Toss in some shrimp once it thickens (about two minutes) and serve over top of polenta.
Not into cooking but love to eat? Try a one-pot pasta dish. In your pot, add some mushrooms, leeks and a little salt. Stir until leeks are tender and then add in some water, vegetable stock, wine, the pasta. Just before the pasta is done (slightly before el dente) add in some cream until it coats the pasta. Add your favourite herbs and lemon zest and voila! You’ve just made one-pot pasta with white wine. Easy cleanup and even easier to eat!
With corn season upon us, how about a nice poached salmon with corn, and of course, wine. Instead of poaching the salmon in water, use white wine. Serve the salmon on a bed of cooked shredded zucchini, onions and corn kernels. To top it off, add some butter to a half cup of wine, simmer to slightly reduce and pour over the salmon and vegetable mixture. Heaven on a plate!
This brings us to desserts made with white wine. How about some poached pears in white wine? ‘Tis the season for fresh fruit, so take advantage of it.
For those a little more adventurous, try making a wine cake. (Google it, it’s real and very tasty) You can even start with a cake mix. Get a yellow cake mix and a Bundt pan. Add in some instant vanilla pudding, some water, vegetable oil, eggs and your favourite white wine. This crispy, buttery creation is one you’ll want to serve again and again.
The joke about cooking with wine is that many recipes call for leftover wine. What is that you ask? So do I. However, if you do have a little left over, freeze it in ice cube trays and thaw them when you need the wine.
You can use your favourite wine, red or white, and even rosé to create your dishes, and in doing so, you’ve made a dish that pairs perfectly with your favourite wine! Find a recipe you like and create a wine dish you and your guests will rave about.
Bon appetit everyone!