Thursday, August 11, 2011

Adventures with Red Wine

The Goal: To create a meal comprised of 3 dishes, all using red wine.

The Outcome: Successfully completed!

How about Skirt Steak with Red Wine Sauce, Radicchio and Red Wine Risotto, and Red Wine and Maple Glazed Carrots? My inspiration came from one of my many cookbooks - Gourmet Today, compliments of the extremely talented Ruth Reichl. She truly is an amazing writer and editor that I look up to. She was Editor in Chief of Gourmet magazine and THE restaurant critic for the New York Times - talk about a jacked-up resume! She knows her stuff.

The sauce on this steak is very rich and warming, at least the little bit I tasted was. I got a little too ambitious and made these three dishes on a weeknight... I was doomed to mess up one of them. Shaun did me the favor of grilling the steak on our indoor grill pan and did so perfectly! He is becoming quite the "Grill Master" I have to admit. I was too preoccupied with my prized risotto to glance over at the sauce bubbling down to nothing in the corner.


I also failed to mention that I forgot to measure how much red wine I had in my fridge when creating these 3 recipes... the steak recipe was last and of course I didn't have enough. Alas, I will try it again some day. Maybe this Winter, when this recipe deserves to be eaten.

Skirt Steak with Red Wine Sauce
1 lb skirt steak
Salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
3/4 cup red wine
4 fresh thyme sprigs
1 bay leaf
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

Pat steak dry and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a 12-inch heavy skillet or grill pan over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking, then cook steaks, turning over once, 5-7 minutes total for medium-rare. Transfer to a plate.

Pour off fat from skillet, then add wine, thyme, bay leaf, sugar and Worcestershire sauce and bring to a boil, scraping up brown bits. Continue to boil until reduced by half, about 3 minutes. Add any meat juices on platter, then remove from heat and discard bay leaf and thyme. Stir in butter and salt and pepper to taste and serve with steaks. Serves 2-3.

Don't let the seemingly weird combination of ingredients in these carrots deter you. They are incredible! Those chefs in the Gourmet kitchen must be geniuses because this recipe just works! They are sweet and tangy all at the same time.

1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup thinly sliced shallots
1/4 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 lb carrots, cut diagonally into 3-inch pieces
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 cup dry red wine
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp chopped fresh dill (optional)

Melt butter in a 6-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, then cook shallots, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add chili powder, salt and pepper and cook, stirring, about 1 minute.

Add carrots, maple syrup, and wine, and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until carrots are tender, about 20 minutes. If it seems like the liquid is evaporating too quickly, you can add a little water to give the carrots something more to soak up.

Add vinegar and boil, uncovered, until liquid is reduced to a glaze, 3-5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in dill. Serves 2 as a side dish.

I want to end this post on a good note, so I will finish it off with the risotto. Risotto is one of my favorite dishes of all time - no matter what the ingredients used are. Remember these?
Butternut Squash Risotto with Mushrooms and Spinach
Risotto with Pancetta and Wild Mushrooms
I have many more up my sleeve so just you wait for more posts to come!

This risotto takes on the flavor and color of the wine used in it so make sure you use a flavorful bottle that you plan on enjoying alongside your meal. The flavors are so intense and pair up nicely with the creaminess of the cheese and butter. As a side note, I normally do not like radicchio because I find it too bitter, but boiling it in water first gets rid of that problem. My only mistake with this particular dish was cutting the recipe in half.

Shame on me!

Radicchio and Red Wine Risotto
2 cups chicken stock
2cups water
1 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
1 bay leaf
1/4 lb radicchio, quartered lengthwise, cored, and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch-wide slices
3/4 cup Arborio rice
3/4 cup dry red wine
1/3 cup finely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tbsp unsalted butter
Freshly ground black pepper

Combine stock and water in a 3-quart heavy saucepan and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat and keep stock at a bare simmer. Melt butter in a 4-quart wide heavy pot over moderate heat. Add onion, bay leaf and 1/4 tsp salt and cook, stirring, until onion is pale golden, about 5-10 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook radicchio in a 4- to 6-quart pot of boiling salted water (with 1 tbsp salt) until just tender about 3 minutes. Drain and transfer to a bowl of ice and cold water to stop the cooking. Drain and squeeze dry.

Add rice to onion and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add wine, bring to a boil, stirring, until wine is absorbed, about 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup simmering stock and cook, stirring constantly and keeping it at a strong simmer, until stock is absorbed. Continue cooking and adding stock about 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is tender and creamy-looking but still al dente, about 18 minutes total (there will be stock left over).

Discard bay leaf, add radicchio, butter and cheese, and cook, stirring, until heated through, about 1-2 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste. If desired, thin risotto with some of remaining stock. Serve immediately. Serves 2-3 as a side dish.

WOW - I really packed this blog post with some solid recipes. Feel free to make them at three separate times, not all at once like me. Next time you have a half of bottle of red wine to use up, you'll know what to make. You can't let it go to waste *tisk tisk*!

Tutti Mangia!


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