The Dos and Don’ts of cooking with Alcohol

After a hard week, a favorite leisure time activity that a lot of people see as a great form of relaxation is firing up the grill in their backyard with an ice cold beer or a glass of wine in hand. Whether you partake in drinking alcohol or not, all of us do however, like a bit of spirit tossed into some of our favourite meals. It’s not surprising at all that alcohol is a very commonly used ingredient in a lot of kitchens. It has various uses which make it a versatile ingredient.

In order to get started, one must have a basic understanding of pairing food and alcohol as part of the finished meal. The rule to cooking with alcohol is based on keeping it simple. Cooking with alcohol is also very similar to food pairings with alcohol. Which goes to say darker spirits work with darker meats, sauces and dishes that are heavy on proteins. On the other hand, light coloured spirits belong with lighter and white meats, sauces and low-protein food.

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Another imperative rule of cooking with alcohol is also a safety tip of sorts – avoid the flambé technique if you’re not an expert. Flambé is a style of cooking where a generous amount of any spirit is poured on food and is set ablaze as alcohol has highly flammable properties. This is a big no-no to avoid any kind of home accidents.

Here are some of our favourite recipes, made using different kinds of spirits that you can easily experiment with at home.

Penne A ‘la Vodka

This dish is hearty and quite filling — not to mention the fact that it makes for great leftovers.

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 30 min

Total: 40 min

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Ingredients

  • 500 gms dried penne pasta
  • 500 gms Italian sausage
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 1 onion, finely diced
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 500 gms button mushrooms, sliced
  • 30 gms chopped tomatoes
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. vodka
  • 4 cups loosely packed spinach leaves
  • Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, grated to taste

Instructions

  1. Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, brown sausage in a cast-iron skillet over medium heat until cooked through; remove and drain on paper towels.
  3. Melt butter in the same skillet; add onions and salt, and sauté until tender, about 6-8 minutes.
  4. Add garlic, red pepper, and mushrooms; cook until mushrooms are tender, about 5 minutes.
  5. Add tomatoes, cream, vodka, and return the sausage to the pot. Allow the mixture to come to a slow simmer, reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes uncovered.
  6. Prior to serving, fold in the pasta, followed by the spinach, and toss until spinach is wilted and incorporated. Serve with grated cheese.

Beer Can Chicken

Often tried, but rarely perfected, this is one of those techniques which marks the real marriage of cooking and alcohol. The beer lends extra flavour and moisture to the chicken throughout the cooking process. To get the best results, use a gas grill over indirect heat. You can go old school and just invert the chicken up on the can.

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 60 – 75 minutes

Total: 1 hour 10 min – 25 min

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Ingredients

  • 2-3 kgs young chicken, washed and rinsed clean
  • ¼ cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. Creole seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 1 can beer, open and with a couple sips taken
  • Beer can chicken stainless stand
  • Butcher’s twine

Instructions

  1. Prepare a charcoal smoker or gas grill for indirect heating/smoking over medium heat, about 130-150 degree celsius.
  2. Meanwhile, coat chicken in oil, and evenly rub the Creole seasoning into the chicken, including the cavity. Stuff cavity with garlic and lemon, and place the chicken on top of the beer on the stand. Secure by tying the legs together with butcher’s twine.
  3. Smoke the chicken, rotating on occasion, until the internal temperature reaches 75 degrees celsius.
  4. Tent with foil and allow the bird to rest for 20 minutes prior to cutting and serving.

Blueberry and Peach Bourbon Granola Crisp

This is a simplified version of a classic cobbler, full of fresh peaches and blueberries. You can use this same fruit mixture for traditional cobblers or pies, the crispy granola crunch on top is what it’s all about though (apart from the Bourbon of course) – and is also much easier to prepare.

Prep: 15 min

Cook: 40 min

Total: 55 min

Serves: 6

crisp

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Ingredients

Fruit Mixture

  • 3 ripe peaches — pitted, peeled, and sliced
  • 1 cup fresh blueberries, washed
  • ½ lemon, juiced
  • 2 tbsp. Bourbon
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 3 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg

Topping

  • 1 cup granola
  • 2 tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 pinch kosher salt
  • 4 tbsp. cold butter, cubed

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 190 degree celcius.
  2. Toss the fruit mixture together into a greased cooking pan until evenly combined.
  3. Next, add the topping ingredients in a mixing bowl, cutting the butter into the dry ingredients until you get a coarse crumble.
  4. Spread the topping over the top of the fruit mixture and bake for 30-40 minutes or until browned and crispy.
  5. Cool slightly before serving. Serve with vanilla ice cream if desired.

Any kind of alcohol can be used for cooking as long as you have a recipe in place. Browse through our vast collection of different spirits that can be used as an ingredient in any of your meals: http://bit.ly/1y5bcyo

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How Wine boosts your metabolism

Yes, you read that right, Wine does indeed increase your metabolism! It is a relief to know this especially after years of listening to all the negative connotations associated with alcohol. But how authentic is this information? Let’s find out.

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The intriguing part about Wine is that the Wine calories are digested differently from the food that we eat. The alcohol (ethanol) doesn’t break down like food does simply  because it is a toxic substance. As our bodies send excess ethanol into a complex metabolic process that involves the liver, acetic acid is released eventually in the form of secretions (urinating or sweating) and hence, all of it doesn’t get converted into energy, leaving us with better metabolism. When we drink Wine, the liver and fat cells use the extracts of four chemicals that are present naturally in dark-red Muscadine grapes (key component of red Wine). The most potent of these chemicals, ellagic acid stunts the growth of existing fat cells and prevents new ones from forming. Apart from this, a dose of the supplement resveratrol which is also a natural component found in red Wine is know to improve metabolism too. However, excess of anything is harmful for our body. For this reason, it is suggested that to maintain our metabolism, we must limit ourselves to a maximum of 2 glasses per day (for women) and 3 glasses per day (for men). It is highly recommended that we do not consume any more calories in the form of alcohol i.e. Wine in order to actually let it work as a metabolism booster.

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Luckily for you, at Bengaluru Duty Free, we have a range of Wines to choose from. Indulge in a daily dose of a glass or two of the Cabernet Sauvignon with its bouquet of intense flavours rich in firm tannins with a touch of oak spiciness. Or Merlot’s velvety texture with the softness of rose petal-like flavours or another full-bodied pick of ours the Shiraz.Nederburg-ManorHouse-Cab_big2014516131135940

Have a look at our wide range of the best Wines from all around the world and pick what appeals to you. Find your favourite Wine under one roof, only at the Bengaluru Duty Free. Here’s our website: http://bit.ly/17A3P6X.

Cheers!