Oct 17, 2017

Cooking with spirit

What is your favorite spirit to cook with? I'm partial to wine most of the time (about 50/50 with red or white wines) with the occasional recipe that benefits from a beer.
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Depends on the cuisine. Many Hunan meat dishes call for Shao Xing wine. I'm making Hong Shao Rou for dinner tonight, which depends on it. What's funny is many Western recipe authors tell people they can substitute sherry if they can't find Shao Xing. I do the opposite by substituting Shao Xing for sherry, for example, to deglaze caramelized onions.

It's important to get real Shao Xing, which in some places you may need to go to a liquor store for. There is inferior non-alcoholic Shao Xing. If you can't drink it, don't cook with it (which goes for any cooking liquor, really).

My partner always has a freshly-opened white wine in the fridge which is super convenient for cooking. I'm more partial to beer as a libation and always have the bottom of the fridge stocked. Between that and the cheese drawer that really is full of cheese, I can always make a Welsh rarebit.

It's gose season, so in an experimental spirit, I deglazed caramelized pork belly with it. I figured the sour ale would jive with the Vietnamese sour soup it was eventually going into. Warmed, the saltiness becomes more prominent, so it needs to be balanced with the soy sauce. But it worked well with the taramind, adding another subtle dimension to it.
Anyone uses Bailey's? :)
I quite enjoy cooking with wine, mainly in braises and stews(my favorites). I have been a fan of bourbon in baking applications. Vodka in batters of fried food such as onion rings and chicken wings are awesome.
Coquus
maybe a pepper infused vodka for the wings? ;)
Bourbon - glazes for salmon/steelhead and chicken, BBQ sauces, and to deglaze steak pans when making cream sauces.

Wine - no brainer here, any homemade Italian red sauce.

Beer - braised chicken & fennel, and beer can chicken of course.
idoc72
I used to love grilling and making some beer can chicken!
Marsala wine & sherry
neomneom
ohhhh definitely!
Bitters in clam chowder
jceaser
wait really?!
MikeMD
obviously not a lot
Vodka sauce for pasta dishes is one my favorites. Doesn't come off with a very heavy flavor, but definitely adds something to the flavoring. The mix with chicken stock is great.
Last winter I did a beef stew and used gin. My hope was for the delicious botanical notes of the gin to give the stew nice flavor notes. It did. I'd imagine this would be as successful with lamb and other meats. The botanical types used in gin are not uncommon as stand alone flavors for beef and other meats.
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When do you add it to the stew? I usually start my stews by cooking some diced onions on the bottom of the put, then browning the beef, then moving on from there. Seems like it could work well to add it toward the bottom of the diced onion cooking?
Will
I added the gin when I deglazed after cooking the aromatics and browning the beef. I let the gin deglaze and reduce a bit, scraped the brown bits, then added the other liquid.
I quite like using sake-- it's dry without imparting too much of its own flavor. I like how it deepens the flavor of what it is added to.
Atnguy3n
Any go-to sake you can recommend? I'm really interested in trying this
MikeMD
I would get whatever filtered sake you can find in the grocery store for about $10. "If you wouldn't drink it by itself, it shouldn't go in the food" is my philosophy. I think my current bottle is from Ozeki brand and I've also use Sho Chiku Bai brand.
i frequently cook with red wine, white wine, and mirin.
I like to cook while drinking scotch, though wine is the only thing I've actually ever cooked with before.
livingspeedbump
hahaha one way to make sure they both end up in the belly ;)