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Alternative to sherry for cooking? - Wine Discussion

About Alternative to sherry for cooking?

Previous Entry Alternative to sherry for cooking? Aug. 20th, 2006 @ 02:07 pm Next Entry
Hello all,

I'm trying to make a simple chicken, broccoli, and cashew dish for a dinner tonight (background: my wife and I just got married recently and we're having our first house guest -her best friend and one of her bridesmaids over this evening) The recipe calls for 1/3 cup dry sherry and I'm trying to figure out an alternative without having to make a run to a liquor store. I've got a few bottles of $2-chuck on hand in various varietals (shiraz, cab sauv, merlot, chardonnay) and was considering substituting one of those. Any comments or suggestions?

1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 C dry sherry
1/3 C soy sauce
1/2 C chicken broth
1 tsp sesame oil
3 Tbsp sunflower or peanut oil
2 large boneless skinless chicken breast in strips
1/3 C unsalted cashew nuts
1/2 C broccoli flowerets
7 oz bamboo shoots drained and sliced
6 scallions sliced diagonally
1. blend cornstarch sherry, soy sauce, and broth and set aside
2. heat oils and stirfry chicken til golden and the cashew nuts are lightly browned
3. add broccoli and bamboo shoots and scallions until broccoli is lightly cooked (3-4 minutes)
4. give the cornstarch mixture a stir then pour it into pan and stir over medium heat until sauce boils. allow the mixture to boil for a minute or so stirring all the time, so that all the ingredients are coated in a lightly thickened sauce.
5. Served while hot!
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Date:August 20th, 2006 06:20 pm (UTC)
You could use one of the other wines (and I might, if you are, use a blend of...cab and, well, sauvignon blanc, but you don't have that...hmm), but it won't be the same. Sherry has a very specific flavour...
I'd lean to the cab, though, out of those choices, unless it's quite a peppery shiraz, in which case go with that...
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Date:August 20th, 2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
I'd skip the alcohol and just use extra chicken broth instead.
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Date:August 20th, 2006 07:59 pm (UTC)
i agree with astraplane. sherry has a very specific flavor.

i'd go to the liquor store. :-)

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Date:August 20th, 2006 08:15 pm (UTC)
... unless you happen to have chinese rice wine on hand. that would work fine. otehrwise, extra chicken broth is a good suggestion. this isn't a dish that requires the wine to work; it'll just add a nice extra depth of flavor.

if you do decide to substitute, no red! dry white would be the best thing. which also means no chardonnay -- a cheap bottle of that is almost certain to be massively oaky and totally awful for cooking with.
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Date:August 20th, 2006 11:36 pm (UTC)
I'd just use the white wine and tell the guests it's a Franco-Asian dish. They'll never know.
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Date:August 21st, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
Thank you everyone for your suggestions!

I ended up going with some extra chicken broth and a little extra soy sauce. It came out fantastic and was a great hit with our guest.

Thanks again for the help everyone.
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Date:August 21st, 2006 01:37 pm (UTC)
It sounds like this is more than just a deglazing bit of alcohol so you'll probably want to make a run out to the store. If not, broth or water will do the trick but you'll miss whatever sherry essence they sought to provide (it's only 1/3c, so there's not much there). You could also use Chinese cooking wine if you have it with a splash of mirin. I don't think it has salt in it like the cooking wine you find in most grocery stores.

I keep a bottle of dry vermouth around for just such occasions, and deglazing. It lasts forever and doesn't impart too strong of a flavor. If you've got an non-malolactic chard (dry and fruity rather than oakey-buttery) or sauv. blanc, that would probably do as well.
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Date:August 22nd, 2006 02:02 pm (UTC)
You seemed to have gotten several answers to your question and it sounds like you successfully adapted your recipe. As I had some sherry at home, I thought I'd try the recipe myself - I've been wanting some chicken with broccoli. I will admit to a few omissions (I'm allergic to onions and HATE bamboo shoots), but it was incredibly good, so thank you for sharing the recipe!

Oh, and since this is a wine community, I paired it with a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc I had on hand. They seemed to work well together!
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