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“If you do not have a good wine to use, it is far better to omit it, for a poor one can spoil a simple dish and utterly debase a noble one.”
~ Julia Child
Cooking with wine dates back as far as written history tells us- Greek and Roman artifacts and books show their palates loved wine, and used it often in recipes. Along the way others might have possibly used a splash here or there, but it was mainly to disguise spoiled meats due to lack of refrigeration, especially during the Middle-ages and so on.
Today using wine in the professional kitchen reigns, so if you enjoy quality dining, and yourself cook at home, then why are you not using a quality splash of vino in your dishes? Discovering local New Jersey Blueberries, and the fact that the area also had a high volume of Asian Indian restaurants an idea was sparked- Blueberry Chutney.
Using Syrah/Shiraz as a great match for the blueberries to wild game meats and chocolate. Each time the price range was $20 to $30 dollars. Cooking with wine should never begin with ‘cooking wines and sherries’ due to their over salty’ness, and sometimes they cost more than regular wine per ounce.
Unless you just do not drink wine otherwise, and remember the alcohol cooks (or evaporates*) from the dish after ? minutes, so that equation is not an issue- purchasing a less expensive bottle is better than none. However most recipes only call for a splash (2 oz) and with the outside factor of white verses red, just open the bottle you have chosen for dinner, portion out the desired amount and then close up the bottle temporarily with VinAssure, a source for pumping the air out, and preserving it for the nights meal, or other occasions.
Cooking with wine enhances the flavor, and can heighten the experience of a fine meal with friends if paired well. There is such a simple method for making these decisions, so stayed tuned for a good primer with a discussion on wine/cooking interactions, choosing a cooking wine, marinating, deglazing and finishing, plus a handful of recipes!
Blueberry Chutney Components for a Syrah/Shiraz match- This recipe has a sweet to spicy, or earthy flavor that brings out flavors of wild game and chocolate desserts. It works both as a sauce, or marinade for meats. Too heavy for chicken/poultry, but works great with marinating duck for up to three hours, and then grilled, stove top searing, or oven baked in cast iron skillet topped off with brick and other HEAVY cast iron pots.
Two Hands, Bella’s Garden, Barossa Valley Shiraz
Deep and impenetrable, red to black.
Lifted aromas of deep red fruits, plums, cinnamon, licorice and earthy spice. Underneath subtle notes of chocolate, tar and moss complete the bouquet.
The wine is robust and rich with a balance that exemplifies the hallmarks of the finest Barossa vineyards. Red fruits and plums dominate a tight palate with earthy char and chocolate that then finishes long with fine tannins and bright acidity. Will drink well now and will improve with medium term cellaring.
*When wine is heated, the alcoholic content as well as sulfites disappear, leaving only the essence imparting a subtle flavor. Remember, if you do not like the taste of the wine you opened, then you might not want to use it in your dish- wine does however enhance the flavors of a dish, so simply ask friends or a retailer for ideas!
Chef Elizabeth Stelling Food ~ Wine ~ Fun!