Sherry Vinegar+Chicken Stock as Sherry Substitute?

I'm a teetotaler cooking a creamy mushroom soup that calls for sherry OR Madeira.

In the past, I've had fairly good success swapping chicken broth and red wine vinegar for red wine.

Can I pull the same "trick" for the sherry? Or will I be happier with one of the other substitutes, such as diluted apple cider or vanilla extract?

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8 Comments

LaserIT January 11, 2015
I have just written a Top 5 from experience of cooking with sherry and feel that it would sit appropriately here http://www.topfive.tk/2015/01/my-top-5-dry-sherry-substitutes.html
 
jsdunbar November 10, 2012
Thank you both. I am humbled by my knew knowledge.
Now I have a new question, but I'll start a new thread.
 
mcleanrs November 10, 2012
"Doesn't the alcohol evaporate?"
This is a valid question and one that there is actually some debate over. But for me this isn't the point.

There are a range of reasons that people don't drink alcohol, from a recovering alcoholic who wouldn't want to even touch a dish prepared with wine or spirits to somebody who doesn't mind keeping a stash of liquors on hand for cooking.

I fall in the middle of this range -- as I suspect many other (teetotaler) cooks do. I don't mind eating something somebody else prepared with alcohol, but I don't care to purchase or store these ingredients in my house. I live in one of the dozen-or-so states that sell only beer in grocery stores, so I'd have to go out of my way to a liquor store to get sherry or wine. Since I don't drink, I wouldn't know how to pick a good sherry anyway, nor would I know when it had turned and would need to be tossed.

The great thing about cooking is that it's equal parts art and science. I concede that making substitutions is no way to get to *exactly* what the recipe-creator intended, but I find that if I'm careful about sourcing the rest of my ingredients I can get something that's close, if not better.
 
jsdunbar November 10, 2012
Doesn't the alcohol evaporate when it's cooked? Please disabuse me is this notion if I'm wrong
 
drbabs November 10, 2012
Here's a table that answers your question. It would take about 2.5 hours of simmering to remove 95% of alcohol.
http://homecooking.about.com/library/archive/blalcohol12.htm
 
Greenstuff November 10, 2012
I don't see a teetotaler thinking that brandy or sweet vermouth would be a good substitute?! And I'm not going to touch that Dr. Pepper idea. But the sherry vinegar idea seems good to me. I often add a squeeze of lemon to brighten up soups. And I see some great soups with sherry vinegar on the web, for just one example, this one from Smitten Kitchen: http://smittenkitchen.com/blog/2011/01/mushroom-and-farro-soup/
 
mcleanrs November 9, 2012
Alright...soup is forgiving. (Calling for 1/3 cup of Sherry into over 8 cups of broth, water, and mushroom juice). I saw one person suggesting flat Dr. Pepper and I had diet Dr. Pepper on hand...so that is what I used.

Unconventional?
Yeah.
Did it work?
Well the soup tastes great so I guess so!
 
Kenzi W. November 9, 2012
If it were me, I'd stick with one of the other substitutes -- you're really going for a sweet, faintly alcoholic ingredient to give the soup depth, not acid. In addition to cider or vanilla, you could also try a brandy (apple brandy would be best) or a sweet vermouth. Best of luck!
 
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