Mr. Clueless buys some wine.

While I’m obviously talented in a lot of things, shopping for liquors is not one of them. In fact, I’d never bought any prior to this Sunday, when I had to get some wine for a recipe I was making. Fortunately, the person in the liquor department at the grocery store knew where to find the product I was looking for and found one that was $3.59 for a 750mL bottle.

Inglenook wine - good for cooking with. I haven’t tried it for drinking…
Unfortunately, it’s not an Aussie wine, rather a California Burgundy called Inglenook – the winemaker’s comments are that it is actually a mix of different flavors and not just red grapes. It has a bit of a bitter scent, but the reason for this purchase was not to drink it, rather to use it in a recipe.

A couple of weeks ago, Snoskred and I had a bit of a discussion about cooking with wine. I didn’t believe in it, thinking that adding the wine would do nothing to the food (I knew that the alcohol would cook out), however, the old line is “don’t knock it until you try it.” I’ve tried it and I am now convinced of its worthiness.

However, all did not go as planned, requiring some adjustments when the end product was already cooled and ready for reheating. The recipe that I made was one that I was given by Snos – Crock Pot Chicken Cacciatore.

I did everything as it was written – including mixing the ingredients other than the chicken and onions in a separate bowl. The only thing I didn’t stick to perfectly was the amount of tomatoes with chiles – the recipe calls for an 8oz can, but I used a 14oz can, and I left the juice in with the tomatoes.

I chucked it all into the slow cooker, set it on high and let it go. After about 4 hours of cooking, it was time to take it all out.

It’s done, but there’s something wrong…

As you can see, it was a bit, well, thin. However, it had a wonderful smell; the aroma of the wine mixed with the tomatoes and vegies practically permeating the whole house. The recipe suggests serving it along with some pasta, and I chose to be basic and made up some spaghetti, which took a long time to cook because I used the wrong pan on our “new” (we’ve had it in our garage for 2 years after we picked it up for nothing) flat-top stove.

On the plate, just gotta add some cheese to it

You might not be able to tell it, but I took the picture without flash, and have managed to take a lot of the extra red caused by the lighting out of the picture. 🙂

It was fantastic to have, but there was that niggling problem of it being just too thin. I mentioned that to Snos, and said that I had an idea – reduce it over the stove for a while to thicken the sauce.

Thicken, my pretty….

On Monday, I did just that. I put it in the pan for a little over an hour and it thickened right up (you’ll see that I put the leftover spaghetti into the cacciatore), and provided a great base for some more pasta.

Now, with cheese! Interestingly, the shredded cheese was cheaper than the chunk cheese.

I also decided to cut up the chicken into strips instead of having it left as whole breasts and that worked well, the chicken winding up a lot moister than it was in the first time.

That was the last photo I took of the chicken cacciatore, however, it served as meal for me for four days – dinner on Sunday, and lunch on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. Each day it was the same, but a little different – on Monday and Wednesday, I had it over spaghetti, and on Tuesday, I did it over macaroni; either way wound up great.

If you’ve got a slow cooker, I definitely recommend that you take this recipe for a go; however, do know that you should probably drain the diced tomatoes and you may need to cook it in a pan for a while to thicken it up a little bit.

10 thoughts on “Mr. Clueless buys some wine.

  1. Oh Mr. Clueless! You’re the limit! You should use a good quality wine with which to cook. If it’s not good enough to drink, it’s not good enough to cook with (although your dish seems to have turned out fine). There are many great California wines (Inglenook not being one of them unfortunately).

    No Aussie wines? I can’t swing a dead cat around here without hitting a damn Yellow Tail bottle. They’re everywhere. And that’s not good. (No offense to our Aussie frineds.) Yellow Tail has flooded the market in the US and it makes it harder sometimes to find a decent bottle of something domestic. (Thank you globalization.) It also makes people think that they’re drinking good wine when they’re not.

    If you want I can send you a list of decent wines that cost under $15 a bottle.

  2. man that’s just wrong posting those pics…reminds me I’m hungry as a bear right now 😉 I’m a wine newb as well and usually just buy whatever the guy at the front recommends…usually I think he just guesses as well haha

  3. As you know, when you mentioned to me that you had done this I had to cook me some cacciatore too.

    I use Banrock Station Cabernet Merlot which you can buy in a cask here in Australia and it is spectacular, it has cinnamon and vanilla aromas in there. What I did with my chicken cacciatore this time was cook the onions, olives and garlic in a little oil first, then add very thinly sliced chicken breast – I then poured in about half a cup of wine, put the lid of the saucepan on and let the chickens poach in the wine. After the chickens were cooked I added in my tomatoes. It was *amazing*. 😉

    I’m not a wine drinker but I would drink that Banrock Station Cabernet Merlot and that is really saying something – I usually cannot stand the taste of wine.

    Now you have to try a white wine with chicken, bacon and mushrooms recipe. 😉

    Cheers!
    Snoskred

  4. When I buy wine I usually just look for a cool label and a good blurb on the back 🙂 very poor way to purchase.

    Saying that Aussie wines always have cool designs so I have sampled many 🙂

  5. Cugat – Yeah, they had tons of Yellow Tail there; in fact, I was looking through the sales sheet for another local store and YT was the featured wine of the month; $10 for a 1.5L bottle. However, I know that there are a lot of other Aussie wines available; from pretty much all of the major winemaking centres of the country, though there are some with the generic “South Eastern Australia” on some of the brands – doesn’t tell ya much! 😉

    I’d be interested in that list of wines; go ahead and send them 🙂

    Matthew – Heh, maybe we should add reading foodie blog posts to the list of things not to do when on an empty stomach? 😉

    Snos – I still gladly take the blame for you making the cacciatore; I’ll gladly hang on to that 😀

    And I’ll have to try making it your way one time, along with the white wine recipe; I also think that Banrock is available up here, however I just searched for it and apparently you might be able to import it. 🙂

    Forest – Hmm…I don’t think it’s that bad of a way to purchase wine – you’d certainly think that if they would be willing to have a good label on the product, it’d be half decent. 😉

    Thanks y’all! 😉

  6. We live near one of the main wine producing regions of New Zealand, Marlborough. (Oh, yeah, we make wine in Nelson, too.) At first it was a bit intimidating, but we kept trying out different stuff until we found what we liked. My brother and sister-in-law talk about bouquet, and apricots, and whatever else they’re supposed to say, but we now know what food goes well with the ones we like, and that’s good enough for us.

    If you cook a lot, though, chances are you have a busy palate, and you’ll quickly know which ones you like…. Otherwise, just enjoy the atmosphere, I say.

  7. Meg, I’m still learning about wines, so my buying is usually set to “what’s on sale” for right now. Though, I know that Cugat’s link that he posted has some great info on wines; thanks to the Pennsylvania liquor control board. I haven’t seen many Kiwi wines, but of course I don’t spend much time in the bottle shop. 😉

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