Slice of Life: Fine Wining

September 30, 2014
Please note: fresh fruit and vegetables need to be inspected for insect infestation. Please consult our guide

Wine Glasses

With so many great meals to serve this holiday season it stands to reason that you’re going to want some really special wine to enhance them. We’ve long ago passed the day when Mogen David was the standard for kosher wine. There are dozens of upscale and/or boutique wines that can hold their own against any of the finest non-kosher wines produced anywhere in the world.

Kosher wines fall into no particular mold, and consumers are often surprised to find these wines are available in all types, colors, flavors, and levels of sweetness. In fact, many of the world’s finest kosher wines are made not in Israel but Australia, Chili, New Zealand and Spain. Oh yeah, and in the United States as well.

In order for wine to be considered kosher every step of the winemaking process from the picking of the grapes to the bottling of the wine is done under strict rabbinic supervision. Otherwise a kosher wine is essentially no different from any other wine. There are actually two kinds of kosher wine. The first includes the restrictions included in the previous few sentences, while the second, AKA “mevushal” utilizes an additional process. This is important process since Jewish law stipulates that in order for a wine to retain its kashrut once opened and poured by a non-Jew, (such as a waiter, for instance) the wine must be “mevushal.” Mevushal wine is simply a wine that has been “flash pasteurized.” A wine that is produced in this manner retains its religious purity, regardless of who opens or pours it. A case study done at UC Davis concluded there was no consistent difference in taste between non- mevushal and mevushal wine.

No matter how much or little wine I open at any given meal there always seems to be some left over. Rather than pour it out I use it for cooking. So, what happens to wine when you cook with it? Like cooking with any other liquid, some parts of it boil off, leaving behind a thicker, more concentrated substance. Water boils at 212°F but alcohol boils at 172°F. When it hits the 172 degree mark it starts to cook off the alcohol. You’re left with the flavor of the wine, and a small amount of sugar (if it was a sweeter wine) and definitely the acidic sharpness. This is why you should cook with a relatively good wine – if you start with a not so good wine, you’ll end up with that not so good wine being the core flavor of your dish!

The most common uses for wine in cooking are to use it in a sauce, or to marinade in it. Red sauces appear to work best with a red-blend wine in them. The following recipes use wine in fun and unusual ways and they are special enough to fit right in to any holiday meal. Some use a lot, others just a few tablespoons full but all are delicious.

Wonton Salmon with Slaw (fish)

4 servings


  • Prep time: 20 minutes.
  • Cook time: about 20 to 30 minutes total.


  • 12 square wonton wrappers
  • Olive oil cooking spray
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 3 Tablespoons chili garlic sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 3 Tablespoons sweet white wine (sparkling is great)
  • 2 Tablespoons rice vinegar (not seasoned)
  • 1 Tablespoon each: soy sauce and sesame oil
  • 4 cups thinly-sliced purple cabbage
  • ¼ cup each shredded carrot
  • ¼ cup julienned red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup sliced green onions
  • Fresh parsley
  • 4 salmon fillets


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut the wonton wrappers into ¼-inch strips and spray them with cooking spray. Toss and spray again; spread the cut pieces in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned, tossing once or twice to cook evenly.
  3. In a bowl combine the honey, chili garlic sauce and ginger. Place 1½ Tablespoons of mixture into a medium bowl and stir in the wine, rice vinegar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add vegetables and toss well to coat; set aside.
  4. Place salmon on an oiled baking sheet and spoon reserved chili garlic mixture over the top of each fillet.
  5. Coarsely crumble wonton strips and pile over salmon, reserving a handful of whole strips for garnishing, if desired.
  6. Bake for 10 to 20 minutes depending on the thickness of the salmon.
  7. Spoon slaw onto 4 plates and top each with a salmon fillet and wonton strips.
  • The wonton strips, chili garlic mixture, dressing and vegetables may all be made in advance.

Modified from a recipe from

Turkey Patties in Wine and Lemon Sauce (Meat)

6 servings


  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped green onions
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey
  • 2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil (or more if needed)
  • 1-2/3 cups dry white wine
  • 1½ cup chicken broth
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 Tablespoon cornstarch
  • ½ cup pareve sour cream
  • Salt and pepper
  • Cooked brown or wild rice
  • Parsley for garnish


  1. In a large bowl mix together the eggs, onions, turkey and bread crumbs and form into 6 patties. Set aside.
  2. In a saucepan mix 1½ cups of the wine, the chicken broth, bay leaves, lemon juice and zest. Bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. In a bowl combine the cornstarch and the remaining wine. Whisk the mixture into the broth and cook until thickened. Stir in the pareve sour cream and simmer while you cook the patties.
  4. Heat the oil in a skillet. Cook the patties for 3 to 5 minutes then flip. Sear the side for one minute then pour the sauce over the patties.
  5. Simmer for about 5 additional minutes.

Serve with rice.

You can serve individually or on a platter with fresh parsley as a garnish.

Italian Chicken with Mushroom Wine Sauce (meat)

6 servings


  • 6 large chicken breast halves with skin and bones
  • 4 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 lb. mushrooms, thickly sliced
  • 2 cups chopped onions
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 cup dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 (1.42 oz.) package spaghetti sauce seasoning mix


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper.
  2. Heat 2 Tablespoons oil in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat. Add 3 chicken breasts, skin side down; saute until skin is brown, about 3 minutes. Transfer chicken, skin side up, to a 15x10x2-inch glass baking dish. Repeat with remaining chicken.
  3. Heat remaining 2 Tablespoons oil in same skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms, onions and bell pepper. Saute until vegetables are tender and mushrooms begin to brown, about 12 minutes.
  4. Add wine; boil 2 minutes. Add broth and seasoning mix and bring to boil.
  5. Pour sauce over chicken. Cover dish with foil.
  6. Bake chicken 25 minutes. Uncover and bake until chicken is cooked through and sauce thickens, about 15 minutes longer.

Modified from

Baked Onions in Wine and Herbed Crumb Topping (pareve)

4 servings


  • 2 medium onions, peeled, halved crosswise
  • 2/3 cup dry white wine
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons margarine
  • 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Trim ends of onions so they stand upright. Place onions, flat side up, in small baking dish. Season with salt and pepper. Add wine to baking dish. Cover with foil and bake until onions are tender, basting with wine occasionally, about 55 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, melt margarine in medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add breadcrumbs, parsley and thyme and saute until breadcrumbs are light golden brown, about 4 minutes.
  4. Remove onions from pan. Spoon breadcrumbs mixture evenly onto onions. Press breadcrumbs lightly to adhere.
  5. Continue baking onions, uncovered, until breadcrumbs are crisp and golden brown, about 15 minutes.
  • Can be prepared 6 hours ahead: After baking, let onions stand at room temperature. When ready to serve, Rewarm onions at 350°F until topping is crisp, about 15 minutes.
  • Modified from

Steak Salad with Creamy White Wine Dressing (meat)

4 servings



  • ½ can rinsed and drained canned white beans (from a 15-oz. can, save the remaining beans for the salad)
  • ¼ cup white wine
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • Freshly-ground pepper to taste


  • 10 to 12 oz. cooked steak, sliced thin
  • 8 oz. mixed baby greens
  • ½ cup sliced red onion
  • ½ cup chopped celery
  • 1 can hearts of palm, drained and sliced
  • 1 cup toasted croutons


  1. In the bowl of a food processor or blender combine the half can of drained beans, wine, olive oil, salt and garlic. Process until smooth, using more wine if it’s too thick. Season with salt and pepper. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes or overnight.
  2. In a large salad bowl combine the greens, red onion, remaining white beans, celery and hearts of palm. Toss to combine.
  3. Toss with half the dressing.

Place the steak and croutons on top and drizzle the remaining dressing on top.

This recipe can be doubled or tripled.

You can use thick sliced deli roast beef cut into bite-sized pieces instead of steak.

The words of this author reflect his/her own opinions and do not necessarily represent the official position of the Orthodox Union.