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Tuesday, 5 September 2017

A Taste Of Porto

Last month I was challenged by Monarch to create a recipe using Port as a replacement for red wine to celebrate their new flight route to Porto. Seen as I said I was keen to start doing more recipes on here, I thought that this would be a good way to ease me in, as I can be a bit of a novice in the kitchen...

Porto is a coastal city in northwest Portugal, famous for its colourful buildings, stately bridges, and you guessed it, it's Port production. Monarch has just started to fly here (in my opinion, the perfect place for an autumn city break) from Birmingham, London and Manchester with a flight time in the region of around 2-2.5 hours.

So, let's start with, what is Port?

Port is a rich, sweet wine, usually paired with desserts or meats to give it a rich, deep flavour: Your parents might even whip open a bottle around Christmas to pair with the good old cheese board. And for all those people who ask me why I'm already excited about Christmas, there is your answer...

However, only Port that is made in the Douro region of northern Portugal can be called port, by EU law: the Portuguese are obviously very passionate when it comes to their product.

There are different types of the drink, ranging from vintage bottles costing a small fortune, aka you might need to remortgage the house, to the more budget-friendly brands, like the one we found in our local Tesco.

By now you might be wondering what does Port taste like?

I'm guessing Port is one of those drinks that a lot of you won't have tried, or maybe you have once the red wine has run out? Either way, it's fair to say that it isn't the most widely drank tipple, especially from my experience.

Obviously, being the curious soul that I am, I decided to have a bit of a taste before we started cooking, and I can confirm that it is an incredibly sweet and sugary wine - perfect for cooking and used in sauces, but definitely better in small doses or one of those cute mini wine glasses you get.

After researching some of the popular recipes you can make with Port, I found that there was a wide variety of desserts, but not that many savoury dishes, which is what I had in my mind when I was asked to take part in this campaign.

I found one for a sauce that was recommended to be served with steak, and because since buying a house we've been living on a tighter budget (not that we were even snacking on rib eye and sipping on Moet) we've not had the chance to make a fancier than average meal; but I thought if I was going to do something worth putting time and effort into, I may as well go the whole hog.

For this recipe (I apologise in advance that the whole thing uses cups...) you will need 1 cup, 1/2 cup Port, 3 cups of thinly sliced onion, 3 garlic cloves, 1 chile, 1 tablespoon parsley, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 2 cups of beef stock, 3 tablespoons of butter, salt and pepper.

Obviously, people have their steak cooked differently to one another so I won't go into how to do that bit or what to have with it - we went for new potatoes.

The method is quite simple in that you just chuck all of the dry ingredients in a pan with the wine and Port, bring it to a boil and then simmer until there is about half the amount you started with. You then need to add the broth and reduce by half before straining the sauce. When you are left with just the sauce, simmer it once again and add the butter.

The recipe says to add a tablespoon of sauce to your dish, but I went for a bit more and didn't find it overpowering at all.

The finished product

It was interesting to cook with a different ingredient, and although I've made dishes with red wine before, there is an added element of sweetness that you don't get usually, which really made the dish extremly tasty.

If you're looking for a deeper, sweeter flavour in your cooking, I would sugget giving cooking with Port a go - plus, if you're an ameteur cook like me, this post should assure you that you can do it!

Don't forget to check out Monarch for all your city break needs this year.

Have you ever cooked with Port? What did you make? 


This is a sponsored post. All views are my own.

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