Actually, it turns out that wining is an important aspect of Purim. Not the kind you do when you complain that your Hamentaschen fell apart or a Monn seed got caught in your teeth, but the kind of wining that involves uncorking, unbridled imbibing. It is almost mandated that celebrators of the Purim feast indulge in too much wine. It harkens back to the notion that King Ahasuerus was more than a little tipsy when he sent away his wife Vashti and began searching for a new member for his harem. That's how Esther got the gig and well the rest is history.
So, in honor of Purim, I will leave the ubiquitous Hamentaschen recipe to someone else. Because I am the resident carnivore, I will ply you with three recipes that pair meat and wine. The rules of cooking with wine are fairly simple and they all begin with the same mantra; Never cook with a wine you wouldn't drink. That means that the bottle of cooking wine you bought in the supermarket, which is nothing more than a salty, additive laden bottle of liquid, should immediately be tossed. Any wine that shares real estate with mustard and ketchup is definitely not good enough to drink (and probably not kosher). The alcohol content is too low to impart any flavor and the saltiness will ruin your dish. I'm not saying you need to invest in a Rothschild bottle, but ask your wine merchant for a moderately priced ($10–$15 range) bottle good enough to drink.
The old rule of white with white meat and red with red meat is passé. There are subtle reds that enhance a good chicken dish, strong reds that stand up to the gaminess of turkey and crisp whites that work beautifully with veal. You also need to be mindful of how long a dish will cook, so that the wine you select doesn’t either cook out or overpower based on the cooking time And, you must consider the flavors in the dish. Hot peppers, or Middle Eastern spices, wreak havoc on some wines that would pair nicely with citrusy ingredients. Let your wine merchant know your flavor profile and style of preparation, not just your protein, and they can help guide you toward the correct wine.
Lucky for you the kosher wine market is booming. Varietals that had never been available before are readily available now. From oaky Chardonnay to a fruity Pinot Noir, your choices are virtually unlimited. I find that a little online research goes a long way. Peruse the Internet and you’ll find a broad selection of solid kosher wines. For the recipes below, might I suggest a Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc for the white wine, a Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot or Shiraz for the red wine, and a dry sherry or Madeira for the fortified wine. Be sure to pour whatever remains in your glass and toast Queen Esther. So, without any hesitation, I invite you to grab a corkscrew and walk not so straight a line through our meat and wine cooking adventure. L’chaim.
Ask The Kosher Carnivore monthly column and $50 Gift Certificate Giveaway are sponsored by Jack's Gourmet Kosher – Authentic Handcrafted Deli Meats and Sausages.
The January winner of a $50 Gift Certificate for Jack's Gourmet Kosher products is Elana Davis.