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The Secret to Savoring Winter

Oh, you groundhog! Yes, PA’s famed Punxsutawny Phil says six more weeks of winter. While many of you are groaning through another grey day, I’ve decided to grab some wine–red of course–and get back into the kitchen. You see there is so much more to wine than just drinking it. That’s why last night I poured my heart into a pot of Coq au Vin.

Cooking with wine can be just as sensual as sipping it. Yet, the aromas that filled my home from this simple one-pot French fare are those I only associate with winter. You don’t get to spoil yourself with beef stew in summertime, and it’s unusual you’d be slurping butternut squash soup in spring. Both of the aforementioned winter wonders are made only richer and more comforting with addition of wine. Wine is fabulous for deglazing a pan and keeping all the deliciousness of the fond (a chef’s word for the yummy brown parts that stick to the bottom) intact. Also when speaking soup, adding a ¼ cup of wine after you sweat your onions or mirepoix adds depth to the flavor and a richness you just can’t find in other liquids. While you’re used to sipping it, next time the chill is getting to you try stirring it too.

Maybe you’re gearing up for Super Bowl weekend, but it’s easy to ready yourself for something simply divine like coq au vin (a.k.a. chicken and wine). Now grocery stores, like the glorious Wegman’s, make it uber easy to pick up your wine without a second trip to a specialty store. Great bargain buys end the aisles like exclamation points, offering you a chance to add a new ingredient to your typical repertoire. Maybe not on game night but one night soon, indulge in seasonal cooking. Comfort foods like Coq au Vin don’t require a culinary whiz; in fact, most one-pot wonders are suitable for even the kitchen rookie. For under $10 you can find yummy, belly warming red wines to sip and stir into your next dish. So instead of whining over the cold, enjoy the chance to warm up in the kitchen.

My Wine Find-
Vina Zaco, Tempranillo, 2006, Rioja, $9.99- A bottle for the coq au vin and a bottle to drink alongside are equally enjoyed. While Coq au Vin usually calls for Burgundy, this robust, fruity red did the trick and saved me some money. It’s true, you should only cook with what you would drink, just try to save some for the cooking!

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