Cooking with good port
- blkery Aug 13, 2009 08:10 PM
I took a bullet for someone and was thanked with a bottle of Warres Otimaio 10 year. I've never had tawny before, and can see why its appreciated - there's big apricot and lots of layers to this drink, but at the end of the day, it is painfully sweet to me. I don't want it to go to waste - is there some way I can use it that will downplay how sugary it is?
Oh, oh, you can send it to me. I love tawnies.
Other than that, is there any reason you couldn't use to flambe with? It seems like the spiciness might be great with a whole range of simple fruit desserts. Or ice cream maybe? Or to soak ladyfingers for tiramisu? That might be a bit much. ;)
Or if you're thinking savory applications, in a simple pan sauce for pork, something herbal, enriched with butter? I think that might be nice.
I don't think the alcohol content of a port (typically about 20%) is high enough to flambé. I also would not heat it, you're likely to destroy that delightful (albeit sweet) blend of flavors. I like todao's idea of drizzling it over some sort of dessert - vanilla ice cream maybe?
Or just save it for company. I have several liqueurs in my cabinet that I find too sweet myself but are appreciated by some of my dinner guests.
Port will keep for a goodly while. Decades unopened - it used to be an old (upper-class) English tradition to buy a newborn a cask of new port at birth for him to open on his 21st birthday. Less so once opened, but it still should keep for a matter of months (at least), not a day or two like dinner wine. That's part of the benefit of fortification.
Actually this is not always true. The secret to knowing whether your Port will keep for some time or whether it needs to be decanted and put to good use is in the cork.
If your port has a driven cork (i.e. one that requires a cork screw to remove) it is a vintage, unfiltered LBV or the like. These ports do NOT keep, and need to be decanted and drunk right away. They will change as quickly as your average Bordeaux will... If the cork has a cap on it, and is easy to remove and replace by hand then BobB is right, you have a few good weeks, maybe months, with it open... take your time.
Drizzle it over a sponge cake. Yummm...
Or, use it as a portion of the sugar or to replace molasses in a muffin recipe
re: In The Pink
One of my favorite quick recipes that always works and tastes like it is a lot more work than it is:
Chicken in Port wine cream sauce
Cook chicken breasts in a little butter, keep warm
Deglaze pan with 1 cup port
Add 1 cup heavy cream, handfull of rehydrated sundried tomatoes
cook over medium heat with occasional stirring until it forms large shiny bubbles
Pour sauce over chicken, serve with wide pasta.
I do generally use cheap, no-name port for this, it is a waste to use a good tawny, but if you are not otherwise going to use it, might as well toss it in the pan.
Forget all of the cooking with port stuff. Go get some Roquefort (not Stilton, and not Gorgonzola). Take a bite of cheese and a swig of port; it's a match made in heaven ! The cheese is the perfect foil for the sweetness of the port.
I like neither Roquefort nor port on their own, but together! OMG !!!
One of my favorite dishes is Muscovy Duck breast with a dried cheery/Port wine sauce. There are many recipes on then net for this. I like to do a Mexican chili rub on the meat, then the sauce gives it the finishing touch.
A good Port also makes a nice desert course. Pair it with a good blue cheese, or a English farmhouse cheddar. Add some berries, toasted pecans, and a bit of honeycomb. Delicious.