Cooking with Wine: Heart Healthy Recipes for Valentine’s Day
Drinking wine – especially red wine – has long been linked to heart health. The antioxidants in wine protect blood vessels, lower cholesterol and can even help prevent certain cancers. In addition to these health benefits, wine is also considered a natural aphrodisiac.
Is there any better way to celebrate your sweetheart than to cook with wine this Valentine’s Day? Whether you make wine a part of your main course or transform it into a dazzling dessert, the extra effort you put into home cooking is sure to score you some bonus points. Plus, you can feel good knowing you’re also doing something positive for your health.
Braised Chicken with White Wine & Mustard
adapted from SAVEUR
Dijon mustard and white wine are a simple, classic French food pairing. You’ll get the most out of this delicious sauce by serving the chicken on a bed of brown rice – the rice will soak up the flavors without adding very many calories to your meal. This recipe only calls for 1/2 cup of white wine, so feel free to use a nice vintage and enjoy the rest alongside your dinner.
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 lbs chicken thighs and drumsticks
salt and pepper to taste
1 onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
1/2 cup dry white wine, such as Matt Bruno Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup whole grain Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 tablespoon tarragon, for garnish
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a lidded baking dish (such as Le Creuset) or an oven safe lidded pan. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and season with salt and pepper, then place in heated pan. Heat is crucial here – if the pan is not hot enough, the chicken will not brown properly.
Brown chicken, flipping once. You’ll know it’s time to flip the chicken when it’s a nice golden brown color and it loosens easily from the bottom of the pan. Transfer chicken to a large plate and set to the side.
Add chopped onion and garlic to the pan and cook it until golden, stirring occasionally. Add wine, chicken stock, mustard and chopped thyme and then bring the mixture to a boil. Return chicken and all the juices that have collected on the plate back into the pan, cover with a lid and transfer to oven.
Bake until chicken is cooked through or approximately 45 minutes. A thermometer inserted into the chicken thigh should read 165 degrees. When finished, transfer chicken to a serving dish and keep warm.
Put saucepan back on stove and bring the remaining liquid to a boil. Cook liquid until it has reduced by half, or approximately 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Serve chicken over rice and spoon sauce over both. Garnish with tarragon.
Dark Chocolate Cabernet Sauvignon Truffles
adapted from www.ericassweettooth.com
Though homemade chocolate truffles may sound intimidating, they’re deceptively simple to make and guaranteed to impress your Valentine (or just your very hungry coworkers). Like wine, dark chocolate is a great source of antioxidants and can lower a person’s risk for cardiovascular disease. This truffle recipe, which pairs Cabernet Sauvignon with dark chocolate, is both heart-healthy and sinfully delicious.
9 ounces good quality semi-sweet chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
5 tablespoons red wine, such as Matt Bruno Cabernet Sauvignon
cocoa powder, for garnish
Chop the dark chocolate into small pieces and place in a medium sized bowl. In a small saucepan, heat heavy cream over medium heat until bubbles begin to form. Do not overheat – scalded milk is a surefire way to ruin a ganache!
Pour heated cream over the chocolate pieces and stir until all the chocolate has melted and the ganache is silky smooth in texture. Add in red wine, and stir until completely incorporated. Transfer bowl to refrigerator and chill for 2 hours.
Use a small ice cream scoop or melon baller to scoop ganache from the container. Working quickly, roll the scoops into little balls using your hands and place the truffles on a nonstick surface such as a silpat or parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Refrigerate truffles for 20 minutes, or until they have firmed up a bit.
Place cocoa powder in a small bowl. One at a time, roll the truffles in the cocoa powder and then transfer to serving plate. Return plate to refrigerator and chill. For best results, take truffles out of the fridge ten minutes before serving – room temperature chocolate is richer in flavor than cold chocolate, but you also don’t want the truffles to soften up too much.