Red Wine (and Dine)!
Made from the darker varieties of grape, red wine is seen as both a classy, and even healthy wine. And to celebrate this versatile beverage and unofficial favourite wine of all time (move over white wine and rosé!), there’s even an annual Red Wine Day that’s observed on the 28th of August!
And before you bust out your stemmed glasses to serve a round of chilled wine, there are actually plenty of things you can do with your bottles of red. From levelling up your drinks and cocktails to enhancing flavours in your cooking, red wine is a multifaceted must-have in any kitchen, at any time.
Originating from Spain and Portugal, this drink’s name is derived from the Spanish (or Latin origin languages) word ‘sangre’ which means blood, reflecting on the dark red colour the beverage gets from red wine being its base.
Sangria is kind of like an alcoholic punch whereby cut fruit is mixed in with red wine, along with a few other added ingredients such as a few shots of another spirit or even a mixer, and is often served in bars and restaurants in individual glasses as an iced-cocktail in the summer.
Make a meat gravy
Whatever the protein, a red wine savoury gravy makes for a perfect complement. Often made with another savoury liquid such as chicken or beef stock, a proper red wine gravy is perfumed with flavour from other vegetables such as onions or even fruit such as red berries, and may also contain oil or butter. Depending on the recipe, some red wine gravies might call for a thickening agent like flour.
Poured over a beef roast, lamb cutlets, accompanying mash potatoes or even a poultry dish such as roast duck, a red wine gravy adds a slightly fruity dimension to a warm savoury meal.
A kitchen experiment for true oenophiles, if you’ve never had it before, red wine sorbet is about to be your new favourite dessert.
While you will likely need some kitchen-science experience, or at least the help of an ice cream maker appliance, the best part about red wine sorbet is it doesn’t require many ingredients. You can absolutely up the fruit factor by blending in some crushed red fruit such as raspberries, and you might even find the juice of ripe, sweet lemons a flavour enhancer. With a generous amount of sugar and a quality fruity red wine such as a Merlot, Zinfandel or Beaujolais, all that’s left is to prep your dessert bowls to scoop your delicious sorbet into.
If there’s an easy hack to figuring out which foods you can incorporate red wine into, you simply need to colour match; red wine gravy for red meat, and red wine for a tomato-based pasta sauce, to name a few.
When making a red pasta sauce, you are bound to start with olive oil and other basic ingredients such as chopped onions and crushed tomatoes. Adding red wine into a tomato-based sauce not only adds flavour, but also lends an interesting effect to the cooking process whereby the wine binds to the oil content (making the oil less likely to ‘float’ in the sauce) and brings the sauce together as a whole.
But interestingly, that’s not the only way you can use red wine when serving pasta: you can actually boil your pasta directly in the wine! Usually done with long pasta such as spaghetti, boiling your pasta in red wine to cook it will infuse the wine into the noodles while also colouring it, resulting in an eye-catching purple spaghetti full of flavour. Another positive aspect about red wine pasta? – It’s already flavourful and doesn’t need much topping. Drizzle some olive oil onto your drained noodles, season with salt & pepper, and dust over some grated Italian cheese like a parmesan or pecorino, and you’re good to go.
BONUS TIP: Freeze your leftover red wine
No matter how good your bottle stopper might be, if you decide not to serve it all at dinner, once opened, leftover red wine will oxidise in the bottle. For any time you have a little wine leftover, simply pour it into an ice cube tray and pop into the freezer.
Now you have red wine cubes ready to go to drop into your batches of sauce, gravy and other savoury kitchen concoctions!
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