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Red Wines For All Foods

April 5th, 2012 No comments
Chicken, traditionally served with white wine, can also be enjoyed with red wine.

Traditionally served with white wine, chicken can also be enjoyed with red! (Photo by Steven Walling)

If you’ve read our recent post, If You’re Going to Drink, Choose Red!, you may be wondering how to effectively increase your red wine consumption by substituting it for white.  The good news is that there’s a red wine alternative to just about every “traditional” white-wine dish!

Though it may take you (and some of your guests) a little time to get out of the mindset that certain foods must always be enjoyed with either whites or reds, specifically, the rewards are more red wine consumption at your table and (quite often) more interesting pairings!

Let’s start with fish!  When it comes to the creatures of the sea, white wine has been given dominion.  However, there are excellent reds that will not overpower your fine, flaky fillets.  Try a baked or grilled fish dish with a bottle of Cabernet Franc or a nice Cote du Rhone.  These red wines, because of their low acidity, blend quite well with almost all of your typical fish dishes.

Next comes pasta!  If you’re eating pasta with tomato sauce, experiment with almost any red!  Reds, in general, are fantastic with tomato sauces (especially those with meatballs!)  If your pasta is covered with a tantalizing cheese sauce, consider pairing your plate with a light Burgundy or Merlot.  These two wines are excellent compliments to cheese sauces of all kinds, even ones that incorporate a bit of spice!

Lastly, we come to chicken!  Like the numerous reds that go well with tomato sauce, I urge you to experiment!  For a few starters, consider pairing your bird with a bottle of Pinot Noir, Chianti, Barolo, or (a personal favorite) Beaujolais.  Beaujolais works especially well with recipes involving cornish game hens sprinkled with rosemary, as well as barbecued chicken.  Have fun, be adventurous, and keep track of the reds you find work best with your favorite “white wine” foods.  Enjoy!

Wine Recipe: Coq Au Vin

October 28th, 2010 No comments
Coq au vin

A pot of Coq au vin ready to go in the oven

I promised you plenty of perfect wine recipes for fall, and I plan on keeping that promise.  I love classic, slow-cooked dishes (if you missed our Bouef Bourgignon post, check it out now), so today the Vintage Cellars blog is bringing you another French favorite: Coq au vin.

Coq au vin couldn’t be simpler: a chicken braised slowly with wine and vegetables, until everything is tender, flavorful, and oh-so-comforting.  Coq au vin is sometimes thought of as a fancy restaurant dish, but the reality is that it’s a basic one-pot dinner (well, except for a separate saucepan for the mushrooms in this recipe–but they taste best cooked separately!).  It’s perfect for a weeknight meal with the family or a leisurely Sunday dinner with friends.

The best part of this dish: the wine, of course!  Coq au vin is typically made with Burgundy, but you can use any kind of red wine that you like: cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir, beaujolais, and zinfandel are great choices.  Just remember that the deeper and richer the flavor of the wine, the deeper and richer the resulting sauce will be.

There are many different methods for preparing Coq au vin, some more traditional than others.  This isn’t a particularly traditional recipe, but it’s exceedingly delicious.  And what more could you want in a recipe?  Serve it with crusty bread, a green salad, and the wine you used in the cooking: fall-weather happiness awaits.

Ingredients:

1 whole chicken in pieces

4 strips of bacon, diced

1/2 lb. carrots, chopped into large pieces

1 onion, chopped into large pieces

2 Tbp. garlic, minced

1/2 bottle red wine

1-2 cups chicken stock (low sodium is best)

1 bunch fresh thyme (about 8-12 sprigs)

2 Tbps each of butter and flour (for the roux)

1/2 lb. peeled pearl onions (use frozen, already peeled ones for convenience)

1/2 lb. mushrooms, sliced

Directions

Heat a splash of olive oil in a Dutch oven or large, ovenproof pot.  Brown the bacon pieces until they are crisp and the fat is rendered.  Remove the bacon to a different plate.

Meanwhile, pat the chicken dry and season it liberally with salt and pepper.  Brown the chicken in batches.  Make sure to get the chicken really brown and crisp, about 3-5 minutes on each side, or the color will wash off in the braise.  Remove the chicken as it’s done and set aside with the bacon.

Add the carrots and onions to the pot.  Season with salt and pepper.  Cook for 10 minutes, until the onions are soft and slightly browned.  Add the garlic at the last minute or so of cooking.

Turn the stove up to high and add the wine.  Deglaze the pan, boiling the wine and swirling and scraping the bottom until all the delicious brown bits are loosened from the bottom and incorporated into the sauce.  Add the thyme, chicken stock, chicken and bacon.  Cover the pot and put in a 250-degree oven for 45 minutes, or until the chicken is just done.

Remove the pot from the oven and put back on the stove.  Add the onions.  Mix together the flour and butter (making a roux) and whisk into the sauce.  Simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes or so.  In the meantime, saute the mushrooms in butter until tender and browned, then add them to the pot.  Season to taste.  Enjoy!!



Coq Au Vin on Foodista

Wine Recipe: Boeuf Bourguignon

September 25th, 2010 1 comment

Boeuf Bourguignon with pastaAs the cold weather approaches, my tastes start changing.  After months of craving chilled Rosé or Pinot Grigio, I start to want deeper, richer wines.  I’ll start with rich, buttery Chardonnays, turn to Pinot Noirs, and eventually end up wanting only the biggest, boldest reds, like Cabernet Sauvignons.

My cooking starts to reflect this change, too.  I begin to shun salads, and leave the grill alone for weeks.  I cook soups, roasts, and rich, thick stews.  My favorite way to combine my cravings?  Cooking with wine, of course!  Today, let’s talk about a classic: Bouef Bourguignon (you can call it Beef Bourguignon or Beef Burgundy too; I won’t judge).

This is my grandmother’s recipe for Boeuf Bourguignon.  It uses a good dry red wine, like Burgundy or Chianti, and it’ll satisfy those cravings for a dish rich with the flavors of wine.  Enjoy!

Grandma’s Boeuf Bourguignon

Ingredients:

1 3-pound filet of beef, trimmed and cut into large pieces

1/4 lb bacon, diced

4 garlic cloves, minced

2 cups wine

1 1/2 cups beef stock

1 T. tomato paste

A few sprigs of thyme

1 bay leaf

1/2 pound pearl onions, peeled (you can buy already-peeled frozen ones to save yourself the work)

8 carrots, cut into large slices

2 T. butter, room temp, and 2 T. flour (to make a roux)

1/2 pound white mushrooms, sliced

minced parsley for garnish

Directions

Heat a pan over medium-high heat.  Salt and pepper the meat.  In a few tablespoons of olive oil, brown the meat on both sides until it is nice and brown on the outside but very rare inside, 2-3 minutes per side.  Remove the meat and set aside.

Turn down the heat under the pan to medium-low.  Saute the bacon until browned and crisp.  Drain all but 2-3 tablespoons of fat from the pan.  Add the garlic and cook for no more than a minute.

Deglaze the pan: pour in the wine, and with the heat turned up high, scrape and swirl the pan until you’ve loosened all the delicious brown bits from the bottom of the pan.  Add the stock, thyme, bay leaf and tomato paste, and salt and pepper to taste.  Bring to a boil, turn down to a high simmer, and let it cook for 10-15 minutes.

Strain the sauce and return it to the pan.  Add the onions and carrots and let simmer until cooked (20-30 minutes).

In a small bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons of flour and 2 tablespoons of butter until it forms a paste.  Whisk into the sauce.  Simmer for a few minutes until it thickens.

Saute the mushrooms in butter over medium-high heat in a separate pan until tender and browned.  Add them, along with the beef, and the bacon, to the pan with the sauce and vegetables.  Reheat for 5-10 minutes.  Check for seasoning.  Serve in shallow bowls with pappardelle, mashed potatoes, or a baguette.  Garnish with parsley.

Boeuf Bourguignon on Foodista