There are so many different ways to use wine, and the more you experiment the better you will become at knowing how different wines will enhance different recipes. Think of it the same way as you do seasoning; if you add too much, it will over power the recipe. There are over 14 pounds of grapes in each bottle of wine. This should give you an idea of how much flavor is packed into each bottle.
Next time you’re making a marinade, use half the oil that the recipe calls for and replace it with room temperature red wine. The acid in the wine will help make any meat tender. And, if you open a bottle of wine and you don’t drink it all or use it all in a recipe, don’t throw it out. Pour it in some ice trays and freeze it. Ten cubes will make about one cup, and then you will always have some wine ready for any recipe.
Don’t be surprised to find a screw top or a plastic stopper on an expensive bottle of wine. This is not because there is a cork shortage; that is a misconception. When they harvest the cork from the cork oak trees, the tree is not harmed; only the bark is harvested and it grows back in 10 years. The reason a lot of winegrowers are going with the screw top and the plastic stoppers is due to corking. Sometimes when cork is harvested, it is contaminated with a mold that will ruin the taste of your wine, making it taste musty. Corking is very rare, but they just don’t want to take the chance of anyone getting a bad bottle of wine. If you do decide to buy a bottle with a cork in it, you should feel good about being environmentally friendly and not adding to the landfills.
If you’re serving wine with dinner, what should the serving temperatures be? We have all heard the rule whites need to be chilled and red served at room temperature, so if you live in Phoenix and your room temperature is around 80 degrees, that’s perfect for red wine? Wrong! This rule was made before central heating, and room temperature really refers to the temperature of wine cellars, which are around 55 degrees to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If you drink red wine too warm, the wine releases all the aromatics too quickly, and you will not be able to discern between the many aromas. Your senses will be on overload, and the experience will not be as pleasurable as it should be. The same goes with serving white wine too cold. This will not allow any of the aromas to be released and that will affect the taste. Wine is very carefully crafted, and the last thing you want to do is to compromise the wine right before you drink it.
I hope you enjoy this week’s recipe:
Chicken and wine
1 whole chicken cut into 8 pieces
8 oz. whole mushrooms quartered
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1 tablespoon fresh chives sliced
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley chopped
½ medium yellow onion diced
2 ½ tablespoons olive oil
1 cup red wine
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ cup sour cream
1 clove fresh garlic chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Before you cut the chicken, slice and dice all the herbs, onion and mushrooms and set them aside. Now you can cut the chicken and after, clean the cutting board, knife and anything else that the chicken came into contact with. In a large skillet over medium heat, pour olive oil in. Once the oil is heated, add the chicken. Move each piece around so that they will not stick to the pan. Turn after 10 minutes and cook for another 10 minutes. Take the chicken out of the pan, add the mushrooms and onions, and place the chicken back in the pan on top of the mushroom and onions. Add wine and cook for another 15 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, chives, parsley, chili powder and salt and pepper. Check the chicken to make sure it is done all the way through. If the chicken is thoroughly cooked, add sour cream and cook on low for five more minutes. Serve and enjoy!
You can find this and other archived recipes, along with several photo tutorials on my facebook page, Chef Brendan. You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Happy Cooking!