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Cooking With Wine And Spirits

May 28, 2008
For many people the very thought of cooking with wine is off-putting, another trouble, too difficult, the creation of new flavours to which the family are not accustomed. The latter alone is true, but the new flavours are most interesting and enjoyable. They are not difficult to create. Very little wine is needed and often the last few drops in a bottle can be used most successfully.

As with so many other ingredients, the first principle is not to use too much. During cooking the alcohol will be vaporised by the heat and so no one need fear intoxication. Wine may be used in the preparation of almost any dish, often only as much as a tablespoonful or so is required. Red, white or rose, sweet or dry, all may be used. The home wine-maker has a special advantage of a great variety of wines from which to choose.

The following list of recipes is not intended to be comprehensive, rather to point the way and suggest ideas that can be followed up with the wines available.

Stewed fruit

Whenever you cook apples, apricots, blackberries, blackcurrants, greengages, pears, prunes or rhubarb, put wine instead of water into the pan. The flavour is more enhanced and the juice is delicious.

Fresh fruit salad

A glassful of wine poured over pineapple, melon or grapefruit, raspberries, strawberries or any mixed fruits, then sprinkled with sugar and left for an hour in a cool place, emphasises and brings out the flavour.

Marinating

Coarse meats and fish soaked in wine over-night are tenderised, and the flavour is greatly improved. Meat for goulash, or casserole, or pie; fish for baking or kedgeree; poultry for casserole; all benefit from soaking in wine.

Try kipper fillets marinated in red wine for 24 hours. Drain and skin the fillets, cut them into finger sized pieces and serve on crisp buttered toast with a dry white wine.

Shrimps or prawn for 'cocktail' hors d'oeuvres are much improved if soaked in wine for an hour or two beforehand.

Cherry pie, plum pie and similar dishes improve considerably if the fruit is marinated overnight in wine.

Roasts, casseroles and stews

All of these dishes can be additionally enjoyed if a glass of wine is poured over them five minutes before serving.

Sauces

Almost every sauce, sweet or savoury, becomes more sophisticated with the addition of a tablespoonful of an appropriate wine - sweet or dry as the case may be. Red wines tend to make sweet white sauces somewhat muddy in appearance, and white wines are therefore recommended. It's the obvious which sometimes gets overlooked!

In place of wine, mead may be used and in many instances beer also. Try sausages poached in beer. Cider and vinegar also help to improve flavours, especially with pork and fish, however cooked. Liqueurs should not be forgotten when ice-creams are made or served. Even a small quantity is deliciously discernible.

Home-made wines, meads, liqueurs, beers, ciders and vinegars are every bit as good in the kitchen as their commercial counterparts.
About the Author
G Meradith is an expert in many things. Chiefly Power Tools, Workwear and Blackpool
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