The Wine Pages: Homebrew winemaking
Once you have a stock of homemade homebrew wine, your thoughts will naturally turn to cooking. If you are the type of person who enjoys making homebrew wine, you are probably the type with enjoys cooking. Bring the two together in culinary wine delight!
Cooking with homemade homebrew wine is pretty much the same as cooking with normal shop bought wine. Except for one important difference. You have lots and lots of homemade homebrew wine. This means you can take a slightly different approach to cooking, driven by the vast quantity of wine you've got available.
Normally, if a recipe calls for a whole bottle of wine, we are apt to cut corners and use less than a bottle, because wine is perceived to be expensive. When you have lots of homemade homebrew wine, this is no longer a concern. You can plan your cooking to take into account the ocean of wine you have access to. Do not cut corners with wine in cooking any longer!
Most cookery recipes which include wine, unless they are written by somebody like Keith Floyd, are normally compromised by the high price of wine, especially in the UK. Most people don't have access to limitless supplies of wine. A recipe might suggest a half bottles, or glass of red wine. Often, a whole bottle, or more, would make a better result. However, if all recipe writers relied upon the fact that we have limitless wine for cooking, then no normal people would follow their recipes!
When looking at a conventional recipe, always think how it can be improved by the addition of extra wine. I usually keep a 1 gallon box filled with red wine in the kitchen specifically made for adding to cookery. It is a custom cooking wine - slightly sweet and sharp, with a good dose of tannin. Not very drinkable, but highly cookable!
I'm now going to jot down a few of my favourite recipe ideas. I don't really like accurate recipes in cooking, or wine making, but here are some general ideas.
This is a really silly recipe. Get some blue cheese, like stilton, or, if you are brave, Roquefort. Mash it in a bowl with some homemade homebrew Sauternes and some flaked almonds and some walnuts. Add a bit of sugar if you are brave. Make parcels with filo or puff pastry containing the cheese wine stodge, and top with some sliced pears previously blanched in red wine. Cook in the oven just long enough to cook the pastry, but try not to leak wine and cheese!
Just by serving a wine based main course and a wine based dessert to six people and bang, you have zonked a gallon of wine before you know it!
You get the idea - homemade homebrew wine isn't just for drinking, it transforms you cooking. Try making a risotto entirely with white wine instead of chicken stock for a rich side dish. I once made a chicken casserole with 2 gallons of white white in a 4 gallon pan! Fondues take on a whole new dimension - try a cheese fondue with sweet parsnip wine - a whole new experience!