Most days, I spend hours in the kitchen either cooking or cleaning. With four children, a husband, a dog, and various people popping in and out, there is always food to prepare and pots to wash.
This week, my children were away on a camping trip and my husband and I were in the house on our own. On our last night without the children, he locked me out of the kitchen and told me to have a nice bath and relax.
When I got out of the bath and redressed, I couldn’t believe what he had done. He had prepared a steak, chips, mushrooms, tomatoes, and pepper sauce with a side salad. The table was set up with glasses of red wine and roses that he had bought for me. He had also lit candles all the way around the dining room. He even did the washing up and cleaned all the kitchen.
My husband had decided I deserved a night off from the cooking and wanted to treat me like a princess. I felt well and truly spoiled. I am a very lucky woman to have a man like him who wants to give me a break and take care of me the way he does.
Red wine sauce is one of the simplest sauces you can make. It is a great accompaniment to steaks, red meats, and game. There are many variations to this basic sauce. So, once you have mastered this simple version, you can start experimenting with different variations. Here is how to make a red wine sauce.
Ingredients for Red Wine Sauce
- 2 cups of red wine
- 1 cup of beef stock
- 1 finely chopped red onion
- 3 crushed cloves of garlic
- 30g butter
- Salt and pepper
- Olive oil for cooking
To Make Red Wine Sauce
- Chop the onions and crush the garlic.
- Melt the butter over a medium heat with a little olive oil. The oil is for heat while the butter is for colour and flavour.
- Add the chopped onions and crushed garlic and fry over a medium heat until softened.
- Add the red wine to the pan and stir.
- Turn up the heat to bring the mixture to the boil as this will cook the alcohol out of the sauce.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for three to four minutes.
- Add in the beef stock and bring to the boil again before reducing to a medium-low heat.
- Simmer for 12 minutes or until the sauce has thickened.
- Season sauce with salt and black pepper.
- Smooth sauce- If you prefer, you can sieve out the garlic and onions after cooking for a smooth sauce.
- Quicker thickening- The sugars in the wine are what thickens this sauce during the cooking process. If you want the sauce to thicken faster, you can add one teaspoon of cornflour to the sauce. However, this can give the sauce a slightly different appearance.
Mexican food has increased in popularity in recent years and is now amongst the more regular international foods that we eat. However, people are sometimes uncertain as to which wines to pair with this type of cuisine, particularly due to the spicy flavours that many Mexican dishes feature. In fact, many people wrongly believe that wine is not a beverage that goes well with Mexican food and favour lagers instead. This isn’t the case as there are many wines that work well with Mexican cuisine and compliment the spicy flavours on offer. Here is how to pair wines with Mexican food.
A natural choice of wine to pair with a Mexican dish would be a Mexican wine. This makes sense as the producers have a good understanding of the flavours in Mexican food and can combine the two well. Typical wines currently produced in Mexico include Merlot, Zinfandel, Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. The best measure of which of these works best with which dish is to try them out and find ones that you think complement your favourite Mexican dish well.
Choosing Spanish and Italian Wines
It is not necessary to stick with Mexican wines to compliment a Mexican dish as many wines from different nationalities can also compliment this food well. Spanish and Italian wines can make a particularly good pairing. Try white wines from these countries to complement seafood dishes or dishes that are strongly flavoured with onions or garlic. A recommendation can be made here for Chardonnay, Soave or Pinot Grigio as these have crisp and light flavours.
Pairing Wines with Chilli Flavours
Chilli-infused dishes are popular in Mexican cuisine. A good pairing for these meals is a Zinfandel as this compliments the acidity of the tomato and chili flavours of such dishes. This wine also works well with cheese-laden dishes such as enchiladas. Soave is another wine that complements tomato flavors well.
Complementing Spice with Wines
Other spicy Mexican dishes may pair well with an Australian Shiraz as this has spicy and peppery undertones that match the spices offered in the food. Alternatively, try Cabernet Sauvignon as the fruity flavours in this wine detract from the heavier, spicy flavors of some dishes. Again, which wine you choose is down to personal taste, but it is recommended that the spicier the food, then the sweeter the flavors of the wine should be to counteract the spice and acidity of the food.