Updated: Oct 5, 2019
With autumn on the way, I've been thinking a lot about how you can cook and create dishes using traditional cider.
Cider is starting to make a huge appearance in Canada, it appeals to both wine and beer markets. The similarities of fruit fermentation and letting the fruit express flavours; it's exactly like a wine but has its own characteristics; however has the alcohol content of a beer (5-8%). Cider is a gluten free option; being a celiac-friendly, fruit based, alcoholic beverage, why not try cooking with it, right?
I'm very excited to share these finds with you, try them out myself and make my own recipes with traditional cider, like this pumpkin, apple cider soup.
1: Braising with Hard Cider
Braising is a great cooking method to replace water or white wine with hard cider. Braising in a dish helps break down the tissue that binds the muscle of the meat. Chatelaine Magazine said Braising Is One Of The Best Ways To Cook Meat; and I agree, it packs such great flavour with very little effort. Try braising and adding cider to the liquids after pan-searing the meat. Make sure to leave the lid on, or all the liquid and a lot of the flavours will evaporate.
2: Baking with Hard Cider
Baking is such a fantastic way to use hard cider. Cider is an amazing drink that is (sometimes) sweet, acidic, and chock-full of apple awesomeness. The acidity, and strong apple flavour is excellent for baking. In this recipe, Marcie substitutes beer with cider in her classic "game day" recipe. (I'd eat this any day - any day is bread day) Her beer bread has a unique tangy flavour, and adding cider just adds more flavour. To cut the tangy flavour Marcie then goes above and beyond, with an amazing maple butter. (Curious how it would turn out if you substitute the maple syrup with some dry cider and honey). Whether you have a dry or sweet cider, the depth of flavour and spice with traditional cider can compliment so many dishes, especially when baking.
3: Try a Hard Cider Gravy or Reduction
A hard cider gravy or reduction (who knew, right?) www.bonappetit.com created an amazing gravy using traditional cider using only 7 ingredients (9 with different options). This gravy would be an amazing addition to any meal, and so easy to make!
A reduction is also an amazing way to incorporate traditional hard cider. In our recipe "Liquid Gold" we reduce our cider with vinegar to the desired concentration for a delicious sauce for any dish.
4: Make a Hard Cider Vinaigrette
A hard cider vinaigrette is kind of a given. With the apple cider vinegar movement, why not switch the vinegar with a dry cider. But don't stop there; add other ingredients and make your own salad vinaigrette. Or take it a step further and create a new salad to go with it. Krista from Joyful Healthy Eats created an amazing shaved Brussels sprouts harvest salad. She started with two ingredients, and built the dish from there. Her vinaigrette, made cider the star of the show but she added Dijon mustard, garlic, maple syrup, basil, olive oil, salt and pepper. Her salad looks amazing, and the creamy element of the goats cheese would pair excellently with traditional cider.
Creating your own vinaigrette is very simple, but can be so satisfying. You can choose what you want to add, plus monitor the amounts of each ingredient and make it how you want it.
5: Replace your White Wine with Hard Cider
Substituting a white wine in any dish is very easy. However, substituting a white wine with cider is easy and super delicious. You maintain that flavour; the dry, sweetness of the cider adds even more to the dish. This recipe from Midwest Living is an excellent example. In this recipe, it calls for white wine and cider vinegar, why not replace both with traditional cider. This recipe also has chopped apples in it, adding cider would accentuate the flavour even more.
Replacing some white wines with higher sugar content with a hard cider or even a cyser in a dessert is also a great option to get that strong sweet apple flavour.