I guess when you repeatedly insist the box is just as good as the bottle it becomes your shtick. Between visits from parents and weekend getaways this month, I’ve come into three almost-full boxes of wine. That’s about 10 bottles. I know, what a terrible dilemma.
Cooking with wine is one of the simplest ways to add depth of flavor to dishes. From dessert to pan sauce, it’s been a staple in my favorite recipes since before I could even legally drink it. Since I now own enough wine to imbibe everyone in my apartment complex, it’s been a spirited week of experimenting—some losses some wins.
Win: Wild Mushroom-and-Red Wine Risotto
Time consuming? Yes. Worth it? A million times yes. I’ve made a couple variations on this recipe, one nixing the mushrooms altogether, and it is still a phenomenal dish. Tip: don’t confuse “time consuming” with “difficult.” A lot of people shy away from risotto because it seems tedious, but as long as your skill set includes chopping and wielding a spoon you should be fine. Crank up some music, pour yourself a glass of wine and get to work. There are plenty of people who swear stirring constantly isn’t even necessary, but I haven’t tested that theory yet.
Win: Red Wine Reduction
Keep this recipe in your arsenal. It’s simple enough to make on busy weeknights and customizable enough to work with many different dishes. If you want to use it as a pan sauce for meat, simply pour your stock in after the meat cooks, scrape up all those flavorful leftovers, and proceed with the rest of the recipe.
Win: Spiced Red Wine-Cranberry Sauce
Thanksgiving came a little early when I found fresh cranberries at our local Fresh Market. I make boozy cranberry sauce every year with onion and rosemary, but wanted to try a more classic recipe this time around. My turkey sandwiches will never be the same.
Loss: Knocked a full glass of red wine on the kitchen floor while I was stirring my risotto. Will be more mindful of flying elbows next time.
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