Which would you use & Why - Beef Stew

I'm trying out today a new variation of a beef stew that calls for
1 cup sherry, dry vermouth, or red wine (8 ounces; 235mL) (That's how its listed in the ingredient list)

The instructions state:
Add wine or sherry, scrape up browned bits with a wooden spoon, and cook until reduced by 3/4, about 3 minutes.

I have all three alcohols (red is a Pinot Noir) but not sure which one to use. I usually use the first option listed in the ingredient list but the instructions list wine instead of sherry. Probably overthinking this but what would you use and why? I do like the nuances sherry & vermouth bring to a stew and I'm inclined to use a good bottle of sherry.

The recipe I'm making is the Food Lab's All-American Beef Stew Recipe. It has two favorite ingredients that are not usually included in most my standard beef stew recipes such a: anchovies and unflavored gelatin.

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14 Comments

sexyLAMBCHOPx March 7, 2018
Hi guys -

Just following up on what I decided to use for the stew. Dry Sherry. I've made 100's of beef stews but I used the above-mentioned recipe and followed it exactly except for the peas. I used edamame. I made it yesterday so I would have something comforting to eat during the snow storm today. I'm sure by tonight it will be better like most stews become while sitting in the fridge with all the ingredients melding together. I love making beef stews and thank you all for your input.
 
Cindy A. March 5, 2018
use if you can still find it sauterne (plain ol cooking wine)
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx March 4, 2018
I've made many with red wine and beer, but enjoy hard liquor as well. What else could I use?
 
702551 March 4, 2018
I would try sake.

It certainly wouldn't be "All-American" but the Japanese have a long history of cooking animal proteins with sake.
 
702551 March 4, 2018
If you are keen on following the "All-American" theme, you should consider bourbon or rye whiskey.
 
Nancy March 4, 2018
Also not All-American, but Sambuca or other anise flavored liqueur would go well with both the beef and the vegetables.
Use about 1/4 to 1/2 cup in the whole recipe.
 
702551 March 4, 2018
If you have all three, go with your gut feeling, at least the first time around. You are an experienced cook and you know your own taste buds better than anyone here. That will give you a baseline reference point.

The fact that the instructions mention wine doesn't really mean anything. Technically all three are wines (both sherry and vermouth are fortified wines, vermouth also has the addition of some herbs) and clearly the recipe author is using the word "wine" as a generic term.

For me, I would opt for the red wine since this is supposed to be "All-American" [sic]. Both sherry and vermouth have distinct flavors that are decidedly more Continental and regional specific than red wine.

In any case, the Serious Eats recipes are well research and tested, the final product is probably great regardless of which bottle you choose.

Good luck!
 
Bevi March 4, 2018
I think it would be interesting to make 3 different versions over a few months' time and decide which version you like the best. I make my beef stew with red wine, but am intrigued by the other possibilities.
 
SKK March 4, 2018
I use red wine and a splash of cognac. Makes the taste richer than sherry to my palate.
 
AntoniaJames March 7, 2018
Yes, SKK, cognac - my secret weapon in so many braises and stovetop sauces, especially during the cooler months . . . . ;o)
 
Smaug March 4, 2018
Odd list of options, considering they'll produce very different dishes. I'd go for the red with a splash of sherry because I think it would taste best, but it's completely subjective.
 
Nancy March 4, 2018
Chops, I looked at the recipe and the other ingredients don't suggest one wine more than the others.
Red wine is traditional and evokes boeuf bourgignon
Dry vermouth has more herbal notes
Sherry is sweeter, suggests Spain, works well with the anchovies.
Pick what you like, or what's new to you for a different stew.
 
sexyLAMBCHOPx March 4, 2018
So far its Sherry. This weather is making me yearn for something with a kick.
 
Nancy March 5, 2018
For future decisions, here's a nice review from same site (Food Lab/Serious Eats) which argues that sweetness and acidity are the two primer characteristics in choosing a wine to cook with. They tested whites & reds, but no fortifieds (so no word here on the sherry or vermouth).
https://www.seriouseats.com/2015/02/how-to-choose-red-white-wine-for-cooking.html
 
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