As someone who tastes quite a few wines from time to time, I find myself with a plethora of open bottles that I just cannot seem to consume, due to time and just plainly being responsible. Some of these wines, I recall from tasting, were delightful and filled with wine changing experiences, so the thought of emptying the bottle down the drain seems dreadfully wrong. Given this, I have taken to using these open bottle of wines as another seasoning aid while cooking. Depending on the wine I choose to use I will find that my meal will result in a delightfully tender and tasty beef, or with fish a nicely oil reduced and succulent meal. Below I take you through my guide to cooking with wine because no one feels good about tossing perfectly good nectar of the gods down the drain.
I often use a white acidic wine as a marinate for my fish. My logic is that I would normally use lemon to baste my fish, and the acidity I would naturally get from the lemon is, in my case, augmented with an acidic white wine. The bonus of using white wine for this is that you get a few other, while subtle, flavours for free. Flavours such as pear, apple and peach, which the fish absorbs quite pleasantly to give you a delightful hint of savoury gusto in your meal.
Chicken and Pork
If looking to marinate chicken, with the added touch of wine, I will use a high acidic red wine for much of the same reasons mentioned above. However, unlike fish, I also cook chicken with wine. Here, I will use a medium sweet to a semi-sweet wine, but I would assume a full sweet wine would work as well. I use sweeter wines for Chicken, and Pork for that matter, as I want to use the sugar in the wines to my flavour benefit. Barbeque or lemon glazed chicken work extremely well with wine and so too does pulled pork and pork chops.
When cooking beef with wine, all is fair game. I find that beef is resilient and can take your boldest red or most acidic white, and still come out like a champ. However, if you use a slow cooker, I would urge you to pick your wines by their flavour and not just because you’ve got some plonk in the fridge. When slow cooking beef or pork, and using red wine to add flavour, I often turn to Zinfandel, Merlot and Pinot Noir. These reds usually come with well tempered tannins and provide a fruit full taste that if left to commingle with your meat will tenderize your cut of beef with its juices and flavours of red berries, chocolate and plum. The flavours found in these reds also work well with most seasonings, so there isn’t a fight when all of the ingredients hit your palate.
[IMAGE ABOVE] Merlot Jerk Pulled Pork
This took 2 pounds of pork shoulder, 2 cups of Merlot wine, 4 tablespoons of jerk seasoning, 4 tablespoons of real maple syrup, 1/2 cup of water and the regular spicy suspects. I left the pork shoulder in the slow cooker for 10 hours and was greeted to a sweet and spicy concoction that was more than delightful.
I would love to hear how you cook with wine. Drop me a line with your recipes or to receive the full recipe to my Merlot Jerk Pulled Pork.