Cooking With Wine This Holiday Season

by on August 1st, 2010
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Cooking with wine this holiday season doesn’t have to be complicated. In fact, you should feel free to have fun experimenting with wine as an ingredient in some of your favorite holiday foods. Substitute wine for vinegar in salad dressings or marinades, add a splash to steaming or poaching liquids or use it when cooking sauces and gravies. Wine not only adds flavor to a dish, it also imparts a delicate aroma.

The key to success when cooking with wine is to never cook with a wine you wouldn’t drink. Wines labeled “cooking wine” or “cooking sherry” are forbidden! They are typically thin wines to which salt, food coloring and other ingredients have been added. Instead, use the same wine you plan on serving, or a moderately priced version of it. Just remember if it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with.

Don’t know which wine to serve with your holiday meal? Try a lush Pinot Grigio or a fruity, merlot-based Rosé if you’re serving turkey with the traditional, herby side dishes. A full-bodied sparkling Rosé will compliment game birds or roasted lamb and Gewurztraminer is an excellent choice for sweet and salty holiday hams.

If you’re still unsure about cooking with wine this holiday season, try the following recipe for wine gravy. It’s no more complicated than traditional gravy and the addition of wine adds a layer of flavor that will elevate the humble gravy to new heights.

Rosé Wine Gravy

1 cup Rosé wine

½ cup flour

2 cups chicken broth

4 cups water

Salt and pepper to taste

After removing the turkey from the roasting pan, place the pan across two burners on your stove top. If you’ve cooked your bird in a disposable pan, transfer the drippings into a large saucepan, be sure to include the browned bits in the bottom of the roaster, they’re full of flavor. Heat the liquid on medium heat for 5 to 10 minutes or until the juices thicken slightly. Whisk occasionally to prevent burning.

Add the wine and cook approximately 5 more minutes, whisking constantly. When the mixture becomes slightly syrupy, gradually whisk in the flour. Continue whisking to break up any lumps and keep the mixture smooth. Cook the flour for 1 minute. Slowly pour in one cup of broth. Continue whisking and cook approximately 3 minutes or until the roux takes on a deep golden-brown color.

Gradually whisk in the remaining liquids. Simmer for 10 to 15 minutes, whisking occasionally. Pour the gravy through a fine sieve. Add salt and black pepper to taste.

To use this recipe with beef, pork or seafood simply substitute the wine and broth with choices that are more appropriate for your meal.

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