With an overwhelming number of new wines hitting the market all the time, it’s inevitable you’ll come across a bottle here and there that isn’t worth finishing. If it’s corked or otherwise spoiled, by all means, dispose of it. But if the wine simply isn’t the best for drinking, please don’t pour it down the drain! These are great wines to cook with.

Food & Wine Magazine’s Chicken in Red Wine with Asian Spices is a vast improvement on most Chinese restaurant fare. It utilizes an age-old Chinese technique called “red cooking,” in which meat is simmered in a rich, red, soy sauce and rice wine broth brimming with brown sugar, scallions, grated ginger and garlic, a whole red chilli and five spice powder. Red wine replaces the rice wine in this recipe for an added flavor punch.

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Here the wine was a bland and lifeless California Pinot Noir.

The ultimate dish was far from hum-drum. Something magical happens in red cooking. First, the meat [chicken thighs] absorbs every flavor of the simmering broth before being removed to a plate. Second, the sauce boils down to sweet, tangy and sticky deliciousness. Next, the chicken is stirred back in, every nook and cranny coated in the deep red sauce. Finally, the dish is served up on top of warm basmati rice, sprinkled with sesame seeds and cilantro. You really won’t believe how good it is.

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