Not only for serving with food, brandy is a useful ingredient to have in the kitchen. It goes well with just about any flavor profile and can substitute for cooking wine in many recipes.
But it’s not just about throwing any old brandy into a stew and expecting it to come out delicious. From glaze to braise, there are many uses to cook with brandy.
What to cook with brandy? Brandy cooks well in seafood, chicken, turkey, liver, pork, sauces, mashed potatoes, noodles, and vegetables. The blend of fruity flavor and oaky notes makes it an excellent companion for sweet and savory dishes.
Not only does it work in hot toddy, but brandy creates a delicious cream or caramel, and mushroom sauce that is perfect to garnish pasta, steaks, and vegetable casserole.
Compared to whiskey, vodka, or gin, brandy is better to use in cooking, however only small amount is advised due to it being much stronger than wine.
Furthermore, each type of brandy has various distillation process and flavors that may include apple or grape notes that can impact the recipe.
As a result, it’s important to know what flavors go together, how to use the liquor, and what kind of alcohol will be best for the recipe. This article covers the lowdown on cooking with brandy, so read on to learn more.
Can I use brandy instead of cooking wine?
Yes, you can use brandy instead of cooking wine. In fact, brandy is an excellent substitute for cooking wine.
While cooking wine contains added salt, brandy doesn’t, making it the better choice for adding flavor to food without increasing its saltiness.
However, it’s essential to know that cooking with brandy in place of cooking wine will also increase the alcohol content. Opt for broth or apple juice instead when making a recipe for kids or non-drinkers who want to avoid any alcohol at all.
What can I use brandy for in cooking?
Cooking with brandy can add a new dimension of flavor to a dish. When using brandy in cooking, 80 proof or higher is best because it can be stored long after opening.
- Use brandy to deglaze a pan: When sautéing meat in a pan, the brown bits and drippings are full of flavor. Deglazing is pouring liquid into the pan to dissolve this flavorful residue so it can be used in the sauce or as a topping. Pans are typically deglazed with wine, but brandy is a suitable replacement depending on the dish.
- Flavor cream sauces: Since brandy has such a bold flavor profile, it stands out when added to milder cream sauces.
- Make roast chicken and turkey moister: Brandy helps keep roast poultry moist during cooking by breaking down and tenderizing proteins, making the meat juicy instead of tough and dried-out.
- Flambé desserts: Flambé is the practice of setting fire to a dish for the purpose of table side presentation. It’s usually done with alcohol like brandy or cognac for its high alcohol level (which will burn well). It adds minimal impact of taste and ultimately serves the purpose of making people feel fancy at dinner parties.
What flavor cooks well with brandy?
Other than bringing a robust and distinct flavor to a meal, brandy is an excellent choice to cook with because the high alcohol keeps meat moist and tender. From buttery and sweet food to fruity dessert, there are many ways to incorporate the distilled spirit into cooking.
Because brandy is often used to flambé a dessert, a process by which heat caramelizes the sugars in food such as fruit, it is best paired with rich or sweet foods. Flambéed dishes include bananas foster and cherries jubilee.
Here are chef’s favorite flavor combinations to cook with brandy:
- brandy + capers + chicken + olive oil + lemon juice
- brandy + beef + brown sugar + whipping cream + butter
- brandy + tomato paste + heavy cream + pasta + olive oil
- brandy + pecans + maple syrup + whipped cream + pie dough
- brandy + orange juice + maraschino cherry juice + lemon lime soda
Cook with Brandy: Conclusion
Brandy can be a good substitute for cooking wines since it offers more intense flavor to the dish. Moreover, it’s easy to incorporate into savory dishes as well and works as an alcohol substitute in cooking if needed.
Brandy is ideally suited to flavoring meat and sauces to impart a rich depth and smoky flavor, especially when going for that winter-holiday vibe.
A small amount of brandy complements well with seafood, chicken, turkey, and pork. Furthermore, it enhances vegetables such as in mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and glazed carrots.
This will help to achieve a wonderful creamy vanilla, caramel, or mushroom based sauce to top over the meat or moisten sweets.
Remember to strain off any sediment when deglazing with brandy. Otherwise, the result may be a thin, watered-down sauce or glaze rather than the deep, complex flavor it deserves.
Additionally, keep in mind that alcohol evaporates quickly. Be sure to use this ingredient within an hour of adding it to preparation so as not to dilute its flavor too much.
Feel free to experiment and see what works. Next time, don’t instinctively go for cooking wine, and grab a bottle of brandy instead.