Why do we use alcohol in our dishes?
Humanity began crafting fermented beverages back in the Neolithic era and recognized the benefits of alcohol. People became so engrossed in purposeful production of alcoholic beverages and stopping them was impossible. When a dish is being prepared in the kitchen and there’s an alcoholic beverage nearby, people will inevitably try to combine them. Sooner or later, it happens. Dishes with the addition of white, red, or rosé wine have been known from ancient times to the present day. Dishes with beer are a classic of German cuisine and many other countries. Strong alcohol is added to dishes made from meat, fish, seafood, various types of baked goods, and desserts. But for what purpose?
Professional chefs confidently state that alcoholic beverages enhance the taste and help the aromas of the dish fully unfold. Alcohol becomes a kind of conductor of chemical processes. Its molecules interact with fat and water, transferring aromas and flavors from the liquid medium to the dense one.
In meat dishes (like the famous French Boeuf Bourguignon), red wine is added. And the dish Coq Au Vin made from rooster cannot be prepared without red wine. They are made for each other. Some types of berry sauces are enhanced with whiskey. White wine is added to sauces for fish and seafood, red wine for meat. Do you remember that wine for a dish is selected according to its sauce?
When the whole family is at the dining table, can such dishes be served to children? More often than not, the answer is positive (except for sauces). Alcohol evaporates quickly during cooking, and its beneficial effects remain. White wine can be used in dishes with fish and seafood. This adds acidity. Fish can be marinated with white wine. It produces an excellent taste, and it prevents the development of undesirable microorganisms.
When you want the dish to have the scent of wood, brandy is added. Beer gives a rich bread taste. This is a classic of German cuisine. Dishes with the addition of beer are also often prepared in the Czech Republic, where brewing traditions are very strong. Pork knuckle cooked with craft barley beer according to a German recipe. This method of preparation makes the meat soft, tender, and easy to separate from the bone.Read more